I’ve been pretty lucky thus far in Korea as far as my health goes…only one trip to a hospital for bad cold with the assistance of a co-teacher. All my other colds, injuries, and allergies have been self-diagnosed and treated with some things from the states and some things at the available pharmacies (yak-guk 약국). Unfortunately, my self treatment did not go so well about a week after I came back from Malaysia.
Initially I thought I had food poisoning which I’ve had before. So, I did what I knew to do—let it run its course, eat small portions to figure out what my body can handle, and drink a lot of water. I wasn’t worried about it until the 3rd night/4th day; I decided I couldn’t take it any more. That night was the worst and I think I managed maybe 3 hours of sleep.
There are many times I’m thankful to have Korean friends and this was one of them. One of my friends drove me to the hospital first thing that morning (Saturday) and then was the translator between me and the doctor. The doctor told me I had ‘colonitis’ (diagnosed with questions about where I’ve been and pushing on my stomach=OMG pain) and that I must spend the night in the hospital. I have NEVER been hospitalized for a night, and was far from thrilled with the idea—but I wanted to get better.
If I wasn’t sleeping, I was pissed off at my IV drip in my arms…so I slept a lot. Lol. When they told me I had to stay a second night, I let my head co-teacher know. She came later than evening with her husband and some delicious soymilk; I’m sure they visited me out of both genuine concern AND to see if I really was sick. I was pleasantly surprised when my some of my friends stopped by for about 15 minutes later that night. But anyway, I was released Monday afternoon with 5 days of pills (yay no more IUV!) and told that I couldn’t eat any big meals or I’d be back.
Side Notes: When I entered the hospital, I had lost 2 kg (about 5 lbs); when I left I had gained almost 4kg (almost 8 lbs). My face was SWOLLEN; I had a LOT of water in my system —I was getting up to pee every couple of hours. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything Saturday but got to eat the hospital food Sunday and Monday. I paid to have my own room (prices went from free to share with 6 people, 30/night for two people, and 50/night for a single) and I felt it was well worth the price.