Wednesday, July 7, 2010
WARNING: GRAPHIC MATERIAL
Let's talk about shit, shall we? Yes, I do mean shit. The real stuff.
In Korea most older bathrooms are squatters. For a woman to "go", one must lift one's skirt, lower one's panties, squat, aim, let flow.... or plop. The Koreans must have amazingly strong legs and great aim. I have neither. And when I'm sick, I'm lucky to get my panties out of the way.
Last week I couldn't keep anything down. Alternately vomiting and diarrhea-ing, my friendly goshiwon bathroom (and kitchen, shower, street vent) became my very own sicky-stop. It was never ending! I did all the things you are supposed to do, eat a BRAT diet (bread, rice, applesauce, tea), lots of fluids, rest. Having had food poisoning a number of times, I presumed that's all it was. One day, possibly two, clear out the old system, and I'll be good as new.
Day three, fever, sweating, chills, and right on the cusp of hallucinations because of dehydration, I decided it was time. I walked into my teacher's art studio, she took one look at me and went into high gear. She didn't even wait for me to speak to tell me she was taking me to the doctor. I must have looked seriously bad. Her tiny little feet click click click around while I moved at a snail's pace trying to just put on some clothes, drink some water, get my insurance card. Oh... and stop to be sick twice before even getting in the car.
By the then, the news of my sickness had spread to all my Korean friends like wildfire. Did I send out a text? Was the timing such that they all happened to contact me at that point? It was actually a combination. I told 2 people, and yet 5 different people were texting me - Can I bring you something? Do you want me to meet you at the hospital? Are you ok? The outpouring of concern was touching. I couldn't talk and concentrate on not getting sick at the car, so AhYoung fielded the calls.
At the hospital, the lovely Dr. Kim (shocking a Dr. KIM)spoke good English and told me about the lab work they would do while some nurse was able to stick a big enough needle into my hand as to break through my nauseous haze. OWWW! Poor Dr. Kim. I laughed and giggled as he checked my tummy. When I put my hands on top of his for the exam, a very intimate act here, the lovely Dr. Kim pulled away. I explained it was the only way to stop the tickling. Ahhh. And then the suggestion of an x-ray. No, I tell him. I'm mildly averse to x-rays, and then re-think(ish)through the fog. What is it for? To check for a blockage. No, I respond. We'll wait till after the lab work and see if it's necessary. He was all *blink blink*. People rarely question doctors here.
The IV fluids did wonders for me. No longer dehydrated, I could think as clearly as I generally do. I didn't have to pay the nausea price for that either! A bacterial infection they tell me. They don't know what, only that I have a fever, and they will treat the symptoms, letting the bacteria die out naturally after about a week. I will feel better in a few days.
I can barely walk, I'm still sweating profusely, and my tummy is dancing somersaults. But I'll feel better in a few days. *sigh*
The prescription - several attempts at explaining my multiple medication allergies resulted in finally learning that the medicine was not any of the hive-producing, itchy tablets. But they are placed in little sealed packets. In this bag, take one little packet 30 minutes before eating. This packet, 30 minutes after eating lunch, in the last packet 30 minutes after breakfast and dinner. All of them 3 times a day to stop the mass exodus from my body after only one bite. I guess they didn't realize I eat 5 small meals a day instead of three big ones. Ahh well.
For the next three days I still had some bouts of sickness, tapering to mere stomach gurgling (like there was a DRAGON in there!) and before I knew it I was good as ... well someone without diarrhea.
I still don't squat, but at least I'm not using everything in sight as my own personal regurgitorium.
Did I mention - ER visit, medication, lab work, IV, the whole shebang. Total bill about $150. Insurance paid half.
*photo off the internet - you don't think I'd actually *go* there, do you? With my knees?