Being Sick in Seoul

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.

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5 responses

  1. Hi Jenny

    sorry to hear you were feeling so terrible. I wondered why we had not heard from you, just figured you were really busy, and into the swing of things in school. Punemonia takes a while to shake off. It really makes you tired.
    and you will have to slow down and take care of yourself for atleast 10 days get plenty of rest when you get home and lots of hot soup…that is the best remedy. It seemed like for the last few episodes of your letters, a lot of things you were doing was in the pouring rain. (looking at your photos).
    take care of yourself. Soon your mom will be with you and you will really feel good sharing all of this together. She really loves you so much.

  2. Feel better Jen! Hope you’re coughing up all that junk in your lungs! Lots of fluids will help thin it out so it comes up easier. Love, Nurse Carol

  3. I was wondering why we had not heard from you…..being sick is bad enough, but being sick so far away from home (and your comfort zone) must be awful. Glad to hear you are on the mend…..take your vitamins! Be good to yourself and make sure you rest.
    Diane

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