Hello, Little Stones

The other day I went to the hospital to get checked for a UTI. I described my symptoms with the help of D and off we went to the different areas I needed to go.

The Chinese hospital experience is pretty similar to a Korean one. In China first you need to register at the hospital and pay for a patient ID Card (5 rmb) on the first floor, but we went to the Fourth floor and made one there where we saw the doctor. Read More

Back to the Village! I’m Free~

I have been officially discharged from the hospital. The unofficial explanation was snake  bite and so that’s what we are going to say it was. The ordeal took 8 days at the hospital to clear up, however, I am finally at home. The good news is I can put weight on my foot and travel the distance around my apartment, yet it still needs to be iced and receive rest. Like my ice pack from home?

I noticed its not totally healed as I tried to put a sock on and it left a sock ring on my ankle after 15 minutes of wearing it, haha.

It is good to be home. Though the hospital wasn’t bad it was boring and my back hurt everyday because I couldn’t sleep comfortably. I will miss the kindness of the staff and all the grannies I shared rooms with, they were very kind and gave me lots of food.

But the part that surprised me when I checked out was the price. I thought I would be spending a good chunk of change as I had spent some money at the other two emergency rooms. Well, I now know that when you choose to go to a hospital if you have government insurance go to the cheap hospital. I was like, “Fuck yeah!!!” inside when I saw the price, I maintained my composure in public.

The final price tag was 182,910 won.  To everyone back home roughly $163.

That includes 7 days in the hospital, emergency room entrance, blood work, lots of shots, ivs, medicine 3x a day, and meals 3x a day. I would like to thank the government insurance as well. Let me tell you if I have to ever go to a hospital again, it will be a cheap one.

The doctor said I was free to go if I liked as my red and white blood cell count were back to normal. I forgot to get a copy of my blood work, but I will when I go back next week.  I have a check up appointment in a week to see how I am doing.

The only thing that I find wasteful and yet at the same time understand its convenience to others is how they prescribe medicine. Each package is labeled as to when you take it, morning, noon, night, (before breakfast, after breakfast, etc.) So you can’t really fuck up your dosage.

Glad to be home!

Reflections from a hospital bed

Thought #1
Is hospital beds suck. I have never been a patient before and the fact my back, ass, hips and leg hurt for days because of a terrible bed doesnt sit well with me. Comfier beds would be a great improvement.

Thought #2
Hospitalized grannies are very talkative and entertaining. I have been staying with four of them, one doesn’t speak but nods her head yes or no and smiles. One of the grannies talks a lot to the other granny ‘the room leader'[she has been in the room the longest]. And the other granny is soft spoken and doesn’t talk much.
One of the teacher’s at my school wheeled me to the lobby for a change of scenery where a bunch of grannies were sitting and I felt like the highlight of their day, they started yammering at me. Lots of compliments, questions, and wanting to introduce me to a golf teacher. Thanks granny, I will pass.

Thought #3

The atmosphere of the hospital room is different. Back home privacy is important even at the hospital and you rarely see patients family members interacting with anyone but their family member.  My room was filled with family members who slept the night next to the grannies or  took shifts caring for them. They bring food and almost all food that is brought is shared with the other patients and their family members: like a community. They talk through the day and we all watch tv together as there is only one in the room.

Thought #4

In the USA, nurses shoulder a lot of the responsibility for caring for patients even down to the nitty gritty of helping change sheets, dressing, and bathing them. The nurses here are nice and in instances, I think they help when they are needed, but the primary care comes from visiting family. The families in my room: helped them to the bathroom, changed sheets, bathed them, helped them to eat, etc. But the rules are different as they are allowed to stay the night and come and go anytime. One lady in the room washed my hair for me, which was nice and unexpected.

Thought #5
Friends in strange places. One of my nurses is a year or two younger than me and tried to speak english to me. Today is the last day before her shift ends, so because she won’t see me when I leave, she brought a gift. It was sweet and unexpected to recieve some snacks, vitamin C, and a letter in English/Korean asking to be friends and to eat dinner together once my leg is better. I never thought I’d make a new friend in the hospital.

Thought #6
Bread!!!!!! All foreigners like bread. This is a funny one as I do eat rice, and the teachers at school know I just don’t eat a lot of it. Worried I might not like the food, I have received a lot of bread from one teacher.

And I have also received a cheese cake from the science teacher.

Thought #7

Sometimes we don’t know what is wrong but need to take it day by day. The old ladies in the hospital, the elderly back home, and most of the teachers say, ‘it was a snake.’ A few others have suggested a centipede. I never knew those suckers bit people.  So though the doctors can’t tell me 100% yet what is wrong, my leg is getting better slowly and they are taking good care of me. I have another blood test tomorrow and we shall see what the results are and hopefully I can go home.

Thought #8
Be open to new advice. The science teacher and her friend think I should see a traditonal medicine doctor as well. They basically draw out the bad blood and it should help the area. She told me to ask the principal and I think I will. Getting better faster is always better and the last  traditonal doctor I went to was a Tibetan monk in India, it was the fastest most efficient doctor’s appointment I have ever been to…

So these are some of my thoughts from this hospital stay.  The culprit is a mystery but whats being done now is working and there is always an alternative to try if you are open minded. I will keep everyone updated on my progress.

A bug? A snake?! The mysterious sting ends at the hospital

Wednesday night at about 9 pm I went for a walk. As I was heading down the concrete path by the school something stung the side of my left foot. Immeadiately, I used my cell phone to check my foot and noticed a little blood, I looked for the culprit and found nothing. As soon as I put my left foot down again, I realized I could no longer stand on it….so I walked awkardly back home.

When I got inside I washed it and put ice on it to subside the swelling on half of my foot. After messaging a friend, I contacted my co-teacher who luckily had her boyfriends car. We drove to the emergency room at a small hospital in Donghae. The doctor’s didnt know what was wrong as the allergist wasn’t in. So they gave me a saline drip for 3hours and 2 shots of antihistamines one in the ass, how delightful. They said come back in the morning, especially if it gets worse.

I went home and did not sleep at all that night. Navigating the house by hopping on one foot or by crutches was not easy. Then there was the swelling which only went to my ankle but was now under my knee by the time I met my co-teacher to go back to the doctor’s. We went back to the hospital and they put a new brace on my leg and said I should go to the other hospital in Gangneung after getting a pain shot.

When we arrived in Gangneung, I was sent to the emergency room as the specialist was not in until monday. The doctor’s baffled by what was wrong with me took a blood test and x rays of me. I was laying on the cot in the hallway for a long time. My co-teacher said they had no idea what it was so they gave me pain medication and antihistamine shot. I was hooked up to a meal replacement iv. My co-teacher had to leave as someone had to teach english camp. { I was disappointed as today we were going to learn about the usa and make piñatas.} So another teacher would arrive around 3 to look after me.

The doctors were thankful  that I spoke some Korean and they came and took pictures of my foot. Poking and examining it, they told me there was nothing they could see and because I am young, I would be okay. However, I should not be on my foot at all. I need absolute rest for the next 3~4 days. Which means I should stay at a hospital because I live alone, I wouldn’t really rest. However, I couldn’t stay at their hospital because there was no room.

Finally, the department head arrived and took me back to the school. My principal told me that she asked all the elderly neighbors and they said, ” It could only be a snake.” Most of the teachers at my school share this same opinion that it was a snake though  don’t have any poison in my blood stream. So was it a snake? The verdict is still out, but I believe the elderly are right in this case.

I was escorted to a smaller hospital by a few teachers last night. I had to do another blood test and more x-rays. I was hooked up to another iv and given a leg brace as well. No one seems to know why my foot is the way it is. All I know is that it hurts to move and the bones hurt to touch.

My coteacher and her boyfriend brought me dinner and left afterwards, I was put in a room with a bunch of elderly women. I have realized it is a task to do anything with an iv and bum leg.

The ladies in the room have rotated a bit and their caregivers have been very kind to me. Getting me water, offering me corn, and one lady even washed my hair. We chit-chatted in Korean a bit.

The current diagnosis is unknown and I am here until monday when they do another round of blood tests. I’m hoping to be discharged then and on my way back home to teach my kids.

Walking on two feet would also be nice.


The leg comparison of swelling.

My regular hospital meals.


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