Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I survived my living abroad test

I was definitely tested this morning in more ways than one.
1) I was tested to see if I am truly able to survive in a foreign country
2)I was physically tested by doctors

I woke up this morning at 3:00 am with a racing heart and lots of chest pain. Sometimes when I take a nap,I will have a nightmare that will cause my heart to race. So I tried to relax, but when the pain and racing heart had not subsided in 40 minutes, I called my Dad. I decided that I needed to go to the hospital, so I went downstairs and asked Kristina if she would go to the hospital with me. While there, I vomitted, so I knew that I needed some medical help. We got in a cab and went to a hospital very near to where we live. We walked in and it was so quiet. The desk clerk was asleep, and so were most of the nurses and doctors. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a doctor to come and he stumbled into the emergency room looking very sleepy and disheveled. The hospital was not clean. The sheets and pillows on the beds were stained and had hairs on them. I was the only patient. The doctor spoke only a little English and was very apathetic. I tried to explain that my chest was hurting. He looked puzzled and kept asking me "who hit you?" I decided that we had to get out of there so I called my boss.

In the meantime, I went to use the bathroom, which was also dirty and both soap dispensers were broken with no soap. I knew that we defintiely had to get out of there!

My boss and her husband took us to a nicer hospital, although still not up to American standards. At least here, the doctors and nurses spoke great English and were more efficient. They put me on an IV right away and took X-rays. I was kept in a large room with about 10 other people. There were many beds and most of the people slept.

I stayed there alone while the tests were being completed and they observed me. By the time that we got to the second hospital, the racing heart had stopped, but I still had pain. I thought that perhaps I was having a panic attack because I have been quite stressed and anxious about Aaron leaving, Christmas being a disaster, getting ready to leave Korea and my luggage being way overweight! But I have been stressed a lot in the past and I never had a panic attack before.

The diagnosis was finally that I have atypical pneumonia and a gastro viral infection. All the other patients listened real intently when I was diagnosed. I guess that they were curious as to what this Western woman was sick with. One good thing is that all the treatment cost me only $85. Back home just walking through the Emergency Room door costs you $1000!

I have been put on antibiotics. I am currently resting. My apartment is a disaster and I am trying not to stress too much about it. I only have 2.5 days left in Korea and I really didn't want to spend them being sick. At least I have good friends here who really care for me. Suki is coming over tonight with soup and she will help me mail things home from the post office tomorrow. Mr and Mrs Cho were so kind to me this morning. Kristina was so wonderful with taking me to the hospital this morning and taking care of me. Paul has offered to bring me food and keep me company. I am such a blessed person to have all this support in my life.

I am just going to continue to rest this afternoon and take another look at my suitcases. I need to run some other errands before I leave Korea as well. too much to do to be sick and in bed. But being sick makes me want to get home and rest. Get away from the air pollution. But I am not looking forward to a 20 hour plane ride and I am especially not looking forward to saying goodbye to everyone. This is such a rough week. Tomorrow I say goodbye to Baxter when I gave him to Diana. I'll miss the little bird. I've grown quite attached.

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