Here is a saga for you all about living in a foreign country if ever there was one. It involved my recent release (this morning) from four days in Korean hospital. Oh. My. Word. Let me set the scene....
I woke up Wednesday with a bad headache, which was strange, because I very rarely get headaches, but, with the exception of feeling very tired, I was fine. As the day progressed however, I felt worse and worse, and by the end of the school day, my students were reaping the benefits of my suffering because they were getting free time solely to ensure that I didn’t barf on them while trying to continue teaching. By the next morning I felt horrible. I had bad chills, a terrible headache, and spent the morning and early afternoon throwing up (it should be noted here that the receptacle of choice so I didn’t have to drag my feeble, worthless body to the bathroom, was the empty “Mixed Nets” container which you may or may not remember from previous posts). Anyway, one of the Korean director-teacher people took me to the hospital which sounds really extreme to us, but as far as I can gather, it seems that if you’re sick here, you go to the hospital and see a doctor instead of going “to the doctor” as we would at home. There are also hospitals all over the place, as I would soon learn far too well.
The cliffs notes of the following four days are as follows: The doctors couldn’t figure out why my fever was so high or why it wouldn’t go down with the meds they were giving me, so they admitted me. The twelve or so hours following that mostly involve me writing in my bed and throwing up a lot. Initially, the doctor thought I had some sort of Japanese mosquito virus disease which Koreans apparently get vaccinated for at the beginning of the season. Turns out that was not the case. Then they though I had meningitis, so I had to move to a different hospital with the meningitis expert doctor....until we arrived at that hospital and the meningitis expert doctor was at a different hospital, leading us to a third hospital on the quest for the elusive meningitis expert doctor. This is where the high point of the four days really plays out. Picture me feeling like I’d like to die, barfing all over the place, being led through all the tests I’d already done at the first hospital, not understanding what people are saying to me, and crying. The real pinnacle of the experience involved me attempting to give a urine sample with IV needles in both arms, crying, while my poor, meek, sweet Korean co-teacher holds up my IV drip bag thingy in the bathroom of the ER. No, Ladies and Gentleman, it was not a pretty sight...oh, and I didn’t even have meningitis.
I was then admitted to the second hospital for the next three nights. Turns out the problem had something to do with my intestines being coiled when they shouldn’t have so I couldn’t digest food. I figure that due to the language barrier I ascertained maybe thirty percent of what the doctors actually knew about the issue. For all I know, there was a live hamster in my intestine, but the word for hamster was inconveniently left of Pocket Medical English, and I therefore was left ignorant of this fact. Who knows really.
Anyway, by Saturday night I was beginning to feel fine, and by Sunday I felt completely recovered, but I still wasn’t allowed to go home because the doctors had to make sure the hamster was out...or sorry, they had to ensure that there were only the proper number of coils in my intestines. I’ll save the titillating details of feeling completely healthy and being held against one’s will in a Korean hospital for Part II.