On Sunday, we took a trip to the Emergency Room.
After coughing for the past two weeks, I ended up with a pain in my chest that made it hurt to even breathe. I had gone to a doctor earlier in the week, and he said I probably had asthma (“little wheezy,” he said in technical medical terms), and he gave me an inhaler and a pack of 15 assorted pills to take every day for the next three days.
While the inhaler did make me the coolest English teacher on the block, it didn’t alleviate the coughing, and by the weekend, I developed a pain in my chest that kept getting worse. By Sunday, I couldn’t get out of bed on my own. Chris carried me to a taxi, and we went to the hospital.
Walking in the hospital, it seemed like a hip enough place to hang out. Like every public space in Korea, there were food vendors offering fried squid and boiled fish cakes. In the waiting room most of the patients seemed to be either ajummas (old ladies) who fell down on a hike, or kids running around who looked just like normal kids except with more gaping head wounds.
The hospital employee who was the most fluent in English happened to be a security guard. Like a good ajosshi (old man), he held my hand through the whole thing, acting as nurse, (asking me to point where it hurt), and guiding me from the waiting room, to radiology, and into the ER. For some reason, the security guards at the hospital are dressed like commercial airplane pilots. The radiology technician was dressed in a shiny silver suit, complete with a shiny silver tie. He looked like the Tin Man on his way to prom.
In the ER, there are no curtains separating patients. The doctor pulled up my chest X-Ray on a big computer monitor in front of the whole ER. The doctor said I had a fractured rib from the coughing, although he seemed more concerned about my posture (“little slouchy”). Then he instructed his nurse to give me a shot for the pain. She told me this shot was “for the hip,” so I was confused when she made me drop my pants in the middle of the ER. I learned that hip is a polite way to say ass. Luckily, living in Korea for 6 months has prepared me for spontaneous public nudity/humiliation.
The doctor prescribed me only 12 pills to take daily and some cough syrup that tastes like melted-down Nerds. I am feeling better but have no idea what I’m taking—the pills come in a clear plastic unmarked bag. Our next post will probably be about the side effects of these drugs.