As you can see, I haven’t written a new post in a while. This is because I haven’t seen much beyond the four walls of my apartment in the past two weeks. It all started with a little cough about two weeks ago. Last Tuesday I had my first visit to the doctor’s office. I had a fever of about 102 and the coughing got worse. I went into a small medical clinic right near my apartment and the doctor spoke English very well. The office was clean and I was able to get right in without a wait. He told me I had bronchitis and he gave me some pills. The visit and the medication came to only $3.00! Last year I paid $50.00 just to walk into a medical clinic back home so I was pretty happy. I figured I was in the clear so I went to school the next day and I took my break time to lay down in the nurse’s office. Everyday afterschool I went home and slept.
The weekend rolled around and I still wasn’t feeling back to normal. The left side of my chest was in extreme pain, which I diagnosed myself as soreness or bruised ribs from coughing so much. On Monday I finally gave in and asked my co-teacher to please bring me to the doctor’s so I could get some X-rays done. We went to another small medical clinic that she highly recommended and the X-rays showed that I had pneumonia in my left lung. So the pain I was actually feeling was in my lung. Initially I was told that I was going to be hospitalized for at least a week. At that point I panicked. I had never been hospitalized before and was not about to be placed in one 8,000 miles away from my home where I would be completely isolated for a week.
After trying out a few hospitals, we ended up at The Ehwa Women’s University Hospital ER in Mokdong. As advice to anyone who gets sick and has to go to a major hospital in Korea, please do not go alone. Have someone you can trust who can speak Korean come with you. I am so thankful that my co-teacher and school nurse were with me and they faithfully stayed by my side for the entire afternoon/evening that I was in the ER. One thing about Korean doctors is that they are extremely thorough. In order to find out where the pneumonia was coming from I had to take two blood tests, an EKG test, a urine test, a mucus test, and more X-rays. I was also hooked up to an IV the whole time on top of that. After the whole ordeal I was injected with some antibiotics and given some pills for the next two days. The head doctor said that because I was young I would be able to recover without being hospitalized. (sigh of relief). I went back to the hospital on Wednesday and I was given more pills. I have been out of work for the past week and I will be stuck in my apartment until Monday when I will go back to the hospital once more for a final check-up. Every year I always end up with some sort of respiratory infection. Usually it ends up being bronchitis but twice in college I had pneumonia. I don’t know how to prevent it and it happens whenever the weather changes from fall to winter. I guess no matter where I am in the world it will find me, but the good news is I am on the road to recovery.