Today is the second sunny day we’ve had in the past 3 weeks. Is the rainy season over? I’m hoping so.
Have you ever seen a swarm of gnats? Imagine there’s a swarm, and it’s so big that it seems to blanket the air. Now, imagine that instead of gnats, it’s a swarm of dragonflies. Welcome to English Village!
In the rare moments that it hasn’t rained too hard within the past few weeks, the air fills with dragonflies. Luckily, the vast majority hover just high enough that they don’t fly in our faces or hair… but the stragglers that fly slightly lower to the ground come pretty close. I know from personal experience from back home that those buggers bite. And it doesn’t tickle. Luckily, with today being warmer, sunnier, and less humid, I haven’t seen too many of them flying around. I suppose the good thing about them is that they eat mosquitoes (which might explain why I haven’t gotten any bites yet).
Last weekend was a waste for me, because I wasn’t feeling well. I had been feeling weak and feverish last week, and I decided that I should rest over the weekend. (I had gone to the doctor and got an antibiotic, which did absolutely nothing for me.) This week, I worked Monday-Wednesday and took off Thursday and Friday because I was feeling even worse. I was disappointed to have to burn more sick days, not just because they’re unpaid days at this point, but because we had REALLY good kids here this week. I’m talking the best I’ve ever taught at EV, possibly. Unfortunately, teaching the best kids ever still isn’t any fun when one is sick.
Since my throat issues are recurring, I decided to go for a second opinion at the International Clinic in Itaewon. I went there on Thursday only to discover that they’re closed for the summer. I didn’t have the energy to go from there to Severance Hospital (which is where I had the tonsillectomy done), so returned home and went to Severance today, Friday. It was the best doctor’s visit I’ve had so far in Korea… and I’ll tell you why.
When I’ve gone to doctors before for my throat, I briefly explain what the main problem is but am always cut off with an instant diagnosis and a prescription for various pills, without much of an explanation as to what illness I have or how I’ll be treated (which has as much to do with their culture of “a pill for everything” as it does with their limited English). This time, however, was different. When I was called in to see the doctor, she let me fully explain what was bothering me, asked me questions about my symptoms, and even showed me information from my records. (Side note: I got to see a picture of my tonsils after they’d been removed! They looked like two little elongated hearts. It was pretty gross, but cool at the same time.) She looked inside my mouth, ears, and felt the lymph nodes and glands in my neck. She admitted that she was slightly baffled and went to get a senior doctor. That doctor came in, and I answered even more questions. Her English was nearly flawless, she listened to me, let me finish my explanations, and even had a great sense of humor! I felt a million times better just having a doctor who actually listened to me and didn’t just cut me off and throw a prescription at me. And it gets better still.
This doctor finally concluded that I probably have sinusitis. The sore throat, overall fatigue, and swollen glands and tender sinuses indicates as such; the only symptom I’m missing is a runny nose, but she thinks that instead of it coming out the front, it’s dripping down the back of my throat as post-nasal drip, which explains why my throat is irritated and raw (made worse by the fact that I recently had part of my throat cut out). She wasn’t 100% sure, but I was relieved by this because she didn’t lie to me and pretend to know exactly what was wrong with me, just to prescribe me an antibiotic that does nothing for me… which is what all of the other doctors have done. Sounds great, right?! Here comes the best part.
She wanted to write me a prescription, but first asked if I’m allergic to any medication, to which I replied that I’m allergic to Amoxicillin. She looked at me, shocked and incredulous, and then proceeded to explain that normally, tonsillitis (and many other throat infections) are treated with Amoxicillin, and that the other medication I’ve taken this year just probably hasn’t been strong enough to kill off the infections! Even tonsillectomy patients are given Amoxicillin after surgery, and because I’m allergic to it, that’s why the doctor prescribed those other pills that made me horribly nauseous and sick for a whole week. So, that explains it! They just haven’t found the right medication for me, and whatever I’ve had since October is probably still lingering in my body to an extent, even after the tonsillectomy. The doctor admitted that the correct medication and dosage would be difficult to prescribe me, but she said she would do her best and that after 10 days, if I’m not any better, to come back and they would re-evaluate.
Oh my goodness… I can’t describe how relieved I was to have met with this doctor! Even though I’ve still got this infection/sinusitis, I feel a million times better for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned. Wow!
That’s the update for now. I’ll start the meds tonight and wait the 10 days to see if I improve. I will keep you all posted. In the meantime, I’ll be avoiding the dragonflies.