Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To the hospital we go...

A few days ago, I had sinus congestion and went to the staff nurse for a decongestant of some sort. She gladly gave me medicine and sent me on my way. The next day I woke up with absolutely no sinus pressure, just a bit of a runny nose. And so I made certain to have some tissue or a wet wipe with me at all times and that would be that. I figured I would get over this measly little cold in no time! Turns out, the next evening my ear began to throb. At first I didn't connect it to my cold, but later in the night... as I had much time to think while wide awake from the dull unending pain... I realized it must be some sort of infection. The next day I tried to wait it out to see if it would just pop and be done with but by the time dinner came and went, Tylenol was not relieving the throbbing pain and I was growing tired of the echoed voices. I got down from my high horse and walked to the nurses office to see what her diagnosis would provide. She asked me several questions via the interpreter and decided I needed to see a specialist. So she asked if I could make it 'til morning and we would leave for the hospital around 9 am. I agreed and went upstairs to listen to my two year old divert his energy out through his vocal talents while the soothing sound of my heartbeat pulsated loudly 'round in my head. I resorted to three children's benedryl in hopes of sleep that night. No luck. I woke around 2 to wet a hand towel with scalding hot water. After it cooled a bit I laid it on my pillow and then my left ear on that. I refreshed the towel every 30 minutes or so and then finally fell asleep around 5:30. I awoke to the faint sound of a two year old chiming "good mornin" before realizing that my left hear was totally plugged up. I couldn't hear a thing out of it, but at least the pain had subsided. I dragged myself out of bed and got myself and him both ready for the day. We arrived in the nurses office a couple minutes after nine to find a few others waiting to visit the hospital as well. One girl was on the fence and the staff was trying to convince her it would be best, while she went on about her concerns in going. Finally she decided to come back tomorrow and see about it then if she wasn't better. Meanwhile, a few gals on staff were eyeing Corin and asked if they could watch him while I went to the Hospital. I didn't even hesitate as I handed the diapers, wipes and sippie cup over! :) I knew there would be multiple pieces of candy involved so I decided to run upstairs to grab him a banana before we left. Then we were off and in a Taxi headed to Jesus Hospital. I was encouraged by the name to say the least! It had a neon cross atop the building as we pulled up and big bold letters displaying the name. JESUS HOSPITAL! If you had to receive medical care in a foreign country, wouldn't you want to go to a place called Jesus Hospital?! Uh YEAH! :) Anyways, we walked inside and it was crowded and busy. People were speed walking all over the place, while others we hunched over on waiting benches texting away. I suppose I should say speed texting. I have never seen fingers move that fast! It was like they were playing the piano like Julie Flanigan on their phone... if you don't know who that is, then you are missing out! So the nurse had myself and another patient to tend to and she shuffled me into the ear, nose and throat specialist with an interpreter and left us to wait on the packed benches. So we sat down and got to know one another. She was a very kind student here for the year to work and then headed back to the States for more schooling. She also had the gift of texting! She humbly smiled when I laughed in amazement as she responded to her friend within a fraction of a second. Finally it was my turn. Of course the office happened to be on my left, so they called my name several times before the interpreter elbowed me and pointed at the nurse. I felt a little silly not hearing my own name, but I simply looked at her and gestured to my ear shook my head in a "no" manner and made a rather puzzled look while pointing to me ears. The nurse and interpreter both gave a little chuckle and guided me to a small examination room. As I sat down, the doctor spoke to me in English which caught me off guard at first. After a few questions, he determined that I probably had an inner ear "injunction." I was so thankful for treatment that I was not about to correct this young man. He then lead me into a room with a table/bed and this large piece of equipment hanging over the head of the bed. The doctor asked me to remove my shoes and lay down. He shone a light into my ear and then began shooting water in and sucking it out with the same tool dentists use in your mouth. He then pulled this large scraper out and informed me that I might feel "small pains." I nodded for permission to begin and felt him dive into the ear with the tool. It didn't really hurt, but it felt awkward. After a few minutes he switched sides and seemed satisfied with the condition of the right side. He returned to the left ear and gave it one last scrape before allowing me to sit up. When I sat up I noticed a cloth sitting next to me with a few crumbles of reddish brown gunk. The nurse was kind enough to show me up close as the doctor informed me that this was the impacted wax that he extracted from my ear. It was gross. I wish I could have taken a picture for you to enjoy viewing as well! :) We then returned to the first room and he continued his examination as he shot saline up my nose and peeked up there to see how my sinuses were doing. Apparently not too bad, but he made a funny sound when the saline finally hit me and my eyes began to water. Then I was summoned to the chair in front of his desk where he and the interpreter talked for a few moments and then he did his best to tell me in English what he was prescribing and why. He must have realized his error in word choice from before when he confirmed to me my acute inner ear infection. I was to take antibiotics for 7 days and he was confident it would be clear by then. I was satisfied with the visit, and I really enjoyed the doctors and nurses. They had a good sense of humor when it came to my lack of verbal communication. As the interpreter and I walked to the nurses station to get our written prescription, she gave me a curious smile as if she were wondering what gestures I would make now! It was pretty funny. As we left the room she waved and said good bye in English with a pleasant look on her face. I felt honored by that and bowed in respect with the same curious smile she had greeted me with. We then went to another area of the hospital to pay for the doctors' checkup. We waited in a very short line, paid, and were off to our next stop. The interpreter then rushed us over to a small window where a technician printed out a formal list of my prescriptions to take to a nearby pharmacy. We wasted no time in finding a help desk to locate this said pharmacy which neither myself or the interpreter could locate. ( The signs in the hospital had Korean and English) The assistant at the desk directed us toward the Emergency Room and told us to go out the entrance. I thought that to be rather odd, but we walked down a flight of stairs and through the middle of the unpleasantly odored E.R. and through the entrance into the fresh smell of city air. As we stepped out from under the carport cover, my interpreter pointed out at least 5 different options for a pharmacy. We agreed on the one closest to us on the same side of the street so we wouldn't take any chances with the crazy city drivers zipping by. The interpreter pushed her way to the front of the pharmacy and snatched the prescription out of my hand, forcing it into the technicians' hands. I think she was ready to get back to the campus by then, not that I could blame her. While waiting for them to fill the order, she walked over to a machine, filled a cup with some sort of hot liquid and then returned to the seat next to me handing me the cup. She informed me that it was a ginseng tea that is very common in Korea for health and immunity. She then warned me that it was rather bitter and didn't really rank very high on the "tasty meter." I laughed as I blew on the tea. I courageously took a sip. It was bitter and was not the best, but not the worst. I forced it down and didn't ask for seconds. Finally our order was done and we went up to pay. The pharmacist then explained the different medicines and when and how to take them. Now it was just a matter of waiting on the other patient and nurse who came with us to arrive for their prescription. A few moments later they walked in and sat down. The women who was injured was handed a cup of tea as well and was not so fortunate to be warned before sipping! It was rather hard to hold back my laughter as she restrained herself from spitting it back in the cup. She forced it down rather quickly then hurriedly threw her cup away and shoved a piece of chewing gum in her mouth. She then turned to me as the nurse and interpreter were busy talking and asked if it was celery tea?! I giggled and informed her it was ginseng. She claimed to have a strong dislike for celery and stood by her theory that celery was a key component of the tea. Soon her prescription was ready and we were out the door to grab a taxi. Soon we were in and off, headed back to Jeonju University. Upon arrival, we headed upstairs to make copies of our prescriptions and receipts and for me to pick up Corin. When I entered the room, he didn't even bother noticing me because he was too busy bribing the girls with his cute faces for candy and cookies. They fell for it. The young lady I left Cor with walked up and proceeded to tell me that he had wanted to share his banana with her by feeding her bites as she handed it to him. She then confessed that he ate none of it, but she enjoyed it thoroughly! I laughed at her honesty and then she revealed that he had four suckers in the time we were gone. Expecting as much, I just smiled and thanked her for watching him. She seemed to have enjoyed him very much as she coaxed him into giving her repeated high fives. Soon there was a huddle of young women around him as well as the director all waiting in hopes of a high five from my little fair haired celebrity. He appeased them all and then we said many thanks as we headed upstairs to our room. And so we went about our day as if any other day, while I awaited the effects of the medicines to kick in.

1 comment:

  1. Lindsey,
    You and your family are in my prayers. Thank you for your blog. It is very entertaining as well as informative. I pray that your ear infection clears up quickly. It sounds like you are having quite and adventure. May the Lord bless you in all you do!
    Nona Cloud