‘Tis the Season, so Be Careful!

I didn’t mean to upset the apple cart!  I had been extremely tired lately, and I got a sore throat on Saturday. I’ve been coughing a lot. I didn’t feel much like eating, and today, I realized my chest was rattling and I just didn’t feel well enough to do anything, so I decided to call the medical clinic.  At first, when they heard my chest hurt, they got all upset and said they wanted me to come and see a heart doctor, but I kept telling them it wasn’t my heart, but a breathing problem.  They kept insisting that I come see a heart doctor, and finally, I put my foot down to the crazy lady who wasn’t listening and said, “It is not my heart! It is me that is sick, and I should know.  It is a breathing problem. My chest is making noises when I breathe!”  She finally gave in and said, “Okay, the doctor in the Family Clinic is available this afternoon. I think you should come now.”  I was surprised because I thought they would just give me an appointment to come tomorrow, but since she said “now,” I said, “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

I went to the International Clinic at Women’s Ewha Hospital in Mokdong, Seoul, S. Korea.  When I saw the nurse in the International Clinic, I could tell it wasn’t her who talked to me. When I explained to her what was wrong, she said, “Well you can go see the doctor in the Family Clinic, but I actually think you should go see a lung doctor.  We’ll go there first, and they will probably refer you to a lung doctor.”  I told her I trusted the doctor in the Family Clinic because the last time I came this this problem, she diagnosed me with pneumonia and give me good medicine that fixed me right up.

We went to the Family Clinic.  Sometimes the nurse from the International Clinic goes with me at the hospital, and sometimes she doesn’t.  Usually the nurses are there to translate, but they all know I speak Korean, so often, they drop me off and leave, but she didn’t do it. I was grateful she didn’t because for some reason today, I was forgetting all my vocabulary in Korean, probably because I was feeling so bad.  They took my blood pressure when I was waiting to see the doctor, and I know a bit about blood pressure, and I was surprised because my blood pressure was so low.  They showed me in to see the doctor quickly.

When we went in to see the doctor, she did exactly what the nurse thought she would do.  She looked me over and decided to send me to the lung doctor.  This time, the nurse took me to the lung doctor’s clinic, and then she left thinking I would be fine with the language because I usually am.  When they called me in to see the doctor, I was having the forgetful problem again, and the doctor could see it and said in English, “Say it in English.”  When I am really sick, I can speak Romanian all day, but Korean is so much more complicated in my brain that I really needed the doctor to say that.

The lung doctor gave me a medical mask and insisted I wear it, but I hate those medical masks. I feel like I can’t breathe when they give them to me, so when I got away from the doctor, I took it off.

She looked me over and said she wanted to give me an IV.  I was shocked!  I didn’t expect an IV.  Evidently I have pneumonia and asthma problems right now. Yes, I am one of those unlucky people who gets pneumonia occasionally. It kind of runs in the family.  My grandfather was so sick with lung problems that he had to move from Oklahoma to California. I have heard my dad cough so hard!  My younger sister has the problem too.  My younger brother also has an asthma problem.  It is a genetic thing.  We are all miracles of modern medicine.  I am convinced if I had been born before antibiotics, I would have been dead a long time ago.  The doctor also gave me a medical mask and insisted I wear it.  She was so scared that there are just too many germs around and that I would catch more.  I hate medical masks!  I feel like I can’t breathe when they give me one to wear.  I wore it until I got away from the doctor, and then I took it off. When I came out of the doctor’s office, the nurse from the International Clinic was outside waiting for me.  They had called her.

My IV bottle
My worst nightmare!  I hate IVs, and I have had just too many of them in my life!

She took me to pay my bill, gave me a couple of small jars to spit into so they could test it, and then she took me to the IV room.  I was lucky because I got a big comfortable chair, and the nurse pulled the curtain around me, so I could be closed off from everyone else sitting in the other chairs in the room.  The nurse had trouble getting a vain, and it was painful. She gave up on one side and went for the other side, and finally got it. She gave me several shots into the IV.  The doctor had said she thought I needed medicine quickly, and this was her way of getting it to me quickly. This is the first time they have given me an IV when I had pneumonia.  Usually, they just give me medicine and send me home to bed.

After the nurse got done, I texted my daughter and told her what happened. She insisted that I have to begin sleeping in the living room again. My room has a window that is kind of drafty, and the last time I got pneumonia, we had decided it was better for me to sleep in the living room where it is warmer.  She also insisted I begin eating more.

I had brought my knitting, so I sat there and knitted while I was waiting for the IV to be finished. I am making a pair of pink mittens for my oldest daughter for Christmas.  She loves things meant especially for girls. When she was a little girl, she was always asking for “Cinderella dresses.”  I made her little girl a pair of pink mittens, and I am making her a pair to match.

While I was sitting there waiting for the IV to finish, I knitted. I had brought my knitting with me because I know when you go to see the doctor, you always have to wait. I didn’t have to wait to be shown in because they were all upset about what they saw with me, but now I was waiting for the IV to be finished.

I found Hall’s cough drops, even my favorite kind.  It is hard to find this flavor here.

When the IV was finished, I went across the street to the pharmacy to get my medicine.  I was happy because I found my favorite cough drops at the pharmacy. I can’t always find these in Korea, but they do exist here. The Koreans call them throat candy and eat them like candy.  If Korean friend sees me with them, they will want me to share whether they are sick or not.

It was dark before they let me go.  There is valet parking, and I was sitting on a bench in a little glass building waiting for my car when I took this picture.

After I got my medicine, I went to get my car. There is valet parking, so I had to sit and wait for my car. I had come right after lunch, and they kept me so long it was dark now, but at least they didn’t insist on keeping me overnight because I don’t have any medical insurance.  I lost it when I stopped teaching at the university.  My son in law tried to put me on his, but he has been unable to do so. We would have had to go through all kinds of crazy paper work that would take several months to prove that we are related, and we ended up giving up because we realized it may not be worth all the time and trouble because we may not stay in Korea.  -We decided that if we do go back to America, the first thing we will do it make sure I get medical insurance.

This is how they give your medicine to you in Korea.  Each little plastic package has instructions on it for when to take it. If I couldn’t read the Korean, it would be hard.


I really didn’t expect what I got today, so be careful. You don’t want it to happen you, and you never know when it could. I’m tired. I think I’ll sleep now.


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