Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Sorry for the lack of updates. Since Saturday afternoon I have been completely incapacitated with some unknown illness. I actually had to take off 2 days of work (a fact of which I am not proud since I've only been here 3 weeks), but I am happy to announce that I am back today (Wednesday) at about half-steam. I still feel rather poor, but since I only have one class on Wednesdays, I figured I could brave it rather than use up another sick day.

The whole debacle started after mountain climbing with my students on Youngnam Mountain on Saturday. I woke up with a bit of a headache and a slight fever, but nothing was deterring me from hiking with the kids. I had been excited for days about going up that mountain with those kids. And I must admit, it was a blast. I was amazed watching 1st-6th graders climb up the side of a mountain at some inclines that made me scared, with footing as narrow as 10-14 inches sometimes and no handrails. The kids loved it. What I loved was that this kind of a trip would never fly in America. Too much liability, too many kids would complain because it's too hard, too many parents up in arms because it's just too dangerous. But every one of those students made it up and down that mountain without a bit of complaint. No one got hurt because everyone watched out for everyone else. It was really fun.

And then--on the way down--I started to think that maybe ignoring my early warning signs for illness was a bad idea. I played it cool so the students didn't worry, but I started to get dizzy about halfway down. When we got to the bottom, I felt ready to pass out. Of course, I had been hiding all of these symptoms, so Sara thought that when I asked if we could go home, it was merely a suggestion. She wanted to get something to eat, and I didn't want to stop her. So we got some fried chicken (KFC actually) and headed for home. When we got home, I hit the bed like Jim Thome hits a low fastball.

Skip forward to about 10:30--my fever is spiking at around 103, and I can't stop coughing. We got to the hospital by our apartment. No ER. A nice Korean man finds us a cab and sends us to the right place. We get there, struggle to communicate. I feel stupid because if I go to a Korean hospital I should know how to tell them what's wrong. I'm in the ER. I have a chest x-ray. Some doctors listen to my chest. There's a nice doctor there who speaks good English. I am relieved, except they don't know what the problem is. "It's not pneumonia," he says. "Whew, that's good," I think. I never even thought of pneumonia. Another 10 minutes and I'm behind a curtain being asked to drop my pants by a Korean nurse with a needle. She gives me a shot for the muscle aches and pains. They send us back to the front desk, I get 3 days worth of medication, and pay 19,800 won. (That's about $16US) I get in a cab and go back home.

They told me to come back in a few days if they symptoms don't go away. Well, it's been 4 days and they're still here. Sara is sick now too, so we'll be going back tonight. Except this time I'm not at all nervous about the conditions.

At any rate, I don't think Sara and I will be going mountain climbing again too soon.


  1. Glad you are feeling better. We hope Sara feels better soon. Maybe we can connect this weekend.


  2. Wow :( I'm glad you are feeling better. That has to be scary, being sick in a strange place and not knowing much of the lingo...

    Once again, I am amazed.