Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sick as a dawg!

So this last month or so I'm pretty sure I had bronchitis or mono, or some horrible hybrid of the two. Being sick in another country, well, is not the easiest thing in the world. Being in an unfamiliar place, not knowing where things are and not being able to speak or read the language in order to figure out where to go and what to do to get better, on top of having no energy to get out of bed = no fun.

My first attempt at getting medicine was going to the hospital. Luckily I had a friend who has been here for two years, and he told me what I need to say to the taxi driver to get to the hospital, he met me at the hospital and found out where I needed to go and who I needed to talk to. But it was all in vain, because at this point, I hadn't received my insurance card yet. He then proceeded to take me to the pharmacy, where I told the pharmacist what I needed.

Did the medicine work? Nope, not one bit. I continued to sleep 14 hour nights only to wake up and go to work and then come back home and sleep again. On the weekends, all I would do is sleep. And maybe, after two days of sleep, I would have enough energy to walk to the store to get food. But there was no way in hell I had enough energy to stand up long enough to cook food. I was lucky if I was able to take a shower!

One day a week or two ago, I was eating lunch with my co-worker, Mrs. Hwang. She was concerned.

She asked me, "When you get home in the evenings, are you really lonely Blythe? Do you get depressed?"
I laughed and responded,"No, why do you ask?"
She replied,"Well a couple of teachers and I have noticed that you have lost weight, and we thought it was because you are lonely and depressed."

I insured her that if I have lost weight here, it's because Korean food is a lot healthier than food in America. Later on I thought about it a bit more, and realized if I had lost weight, it was probably because I was sick and hadn't be eating. And probably because Korean food is good half of the time, and the other half... we'll just say it's 'interesting'.

Another co-teacher of mine, Mrs. Jeon (sounds like John), noticed that I was coughing a lot. Hackin' up all sorts of nonsense. She went to the pharmacy and got me medicine. For that kind gesture, and amongst others, I now call her my 'Guardian Angel'. She's the only person here that I can feel free to ask her about anything, and I know she'll understand and help. It's good to have her, I'm really lucky.

I felt better for like two days and then was sick again, this time with headaches and body aches, along with the coughing and extreme exhaustion. The same exact day I got my insurance card, Mrs. Jeon took me to a clinic.

At the clinic, we waited at most 2 minutes to see the doctor. He asked me questions in English and knew all the medical terms. Then he proceeded to stick a long, thin, skinny, metal rod-like camera up my nose. This was a very strange experience. There were flat screen tv's all around the room so EVERYONE could see up my nose. Mrs. Jeon had a pretty good laugh (Heck, I did too :). I couldn't keep my eyes open because it felt soooo weird. One jerk and man o man, that thing would be up in my brain.

Then he takes a similar camera, and sticks it down my throat. And again, everyone in the room could see what the doctor was looking at. On the end of the rod-like camera were pinchers (they looked similar to the pinchers pincher bugs have). He pinched my tongue a couple of times, don't know why he pinched my tongue, but it hurt. He stuck the camera far back into my throat and made me gag, then proceeded to spray some stuff in my throat. Not water. Don't know what it was.

He gave me a prescription for three different medicines. He told me to take them three times a day with food. When I was checking out, the visit cost a whole wopping 3 dollars. The pharmacy was in the same building, and when I got my medicine, they package each dosage (the three pills) together in a little wax paper pocket. This is brilliant! When you are sick, opening bottles and keeping track of what you have taken is hard enough, let alone in Korean. The only downside I see to it though is if you have small children around. Definitely not child proof. More like idiot proof. And the cost of the medicine? $4. That's right, $4 for 3 prescriptions.

The hardest part about taking the medicine was taking it with food. I had no food in my place because I had no energy to go grocery shopping. So I would sleep 15 hours, to be awake for 4 hours, and then go back to sleep for another 12. In that 4 hour window, I would get food, eat, and take my medicine.

This time, the medicine worked! Hooray! I've gone out of the house every day since :) And let me tell you , it was a long time coming. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I can explore Korea again! And go dancing! And meet up with friends! And best of all, I can take showers and eat food! :)


  1. I'm so glad you are feeling better! I bet it was really a tough experience being sick in a foreign country, like you said. I can only imagine. Hope you stay well! <3

  2. Aww man! I'm sorry to hear you were so sick. But I'm glad you're feeling better again. :)

    Also, that's awesome you had those kind teachers to help take care of you. Talk about true guardian angels!