As you can see from the date of my previous post I haven’t been active on The Beauty Suitcase the past month and a half at all. Currently I’m in Seoul South Korea as an international student. A few weeks ago, one week before my midterms, I went on this field trip to the South East of South Korea to this beautiful town called Gyeongju. There I got really sick, so sick that the morning after we got back to Seoul, I had to rush to the hospital where I got admitted to the ER with a fever of 40,1 C. For the people that don’t follow this blog/know me personally; I’ll explain a lot about Korean hospitals in this entry (skip to paragraph elven).
It all started a few weeks ago around 11 pm on a over-heated bus to Gyeongju. A group of friends and I were supposed to arrive in a little historical Korean folk village around 3 am the next morning and spend the remaining time of the night there. Unfortunately the bus driver took around 20 breaks and we ended up driving into the village at 5 am.
We stayed in a traditional Korean house called a Hanok and had to sleep on the floor (with thick blankets). Very beautiful, but not the most comfortable for a Westerner that has just sat on a bus for six hours. Korean houses are heated by floor heating, this caused the floor to be very hot and the rest of the badly isolated room to be super cold (Korean nights are pretty cold, while the during the day it can be very hot). The perfect conditions for me to develop a cold.
The next morning (two hours after arriving…) we had to go back to the bus, which took us to a mountain to hike. Strangely I didn’t feel so tired and I hiked up enthusiastically. No were on the crowded mountain were toilets, as well as on the bus we used to travel around, so I tried not to drink to much. Stupid thinking of course, but at that point I didn’t realize HOW stupid it was. At this point I had a cold + I was most likely dehydrated.
After hiking we went to bike around Gyeongju, at that point I started feeling very weird and tired. The more time passed the worse I started feeling. At one point I was considering taking a high speed train back to Seoul, but as we would leave the next day and I would be able to sleep in a ‘nice hostel’, or so I thought, I decided to stay. That night my fever must have gone up like crazy, because the next day I could do nothing else but sit in the bus and feel horrible, that while everyone else enjoyed the last sightseeing spots.
The evening when we came back I measured my fever for the first time: 40,1 degree celsius. The next morning it had hardly gone done so I called up my dad who is a first aid worker. He told me that I should instantly go to the hospital, because running a fever that high for such a long time (I most likely had the same temperature since saturday evening) is very bad for you.
I went to a university hospital as this was recommended to me by a Korean friend. University hospitals are a lot more expensive than the smaller ones, but are also considered to be better. ,,They won’t ask you to come back twenty times just to make more money,” my friend said. As soon as I arrived in the hospital one nurse started to measure my heartbeat and another put a thermometer in my ear. I don’t know how it’s in other countries, as South Korea and the Netherlands are the only countries which ERs I’ve seen, but in the Netherlands you have to wait for hours in the ER before getting treated.
Five minutes after noting down my name, heart rate and temperature I got escorted to a bed, where another nurse instantly put a drip in my hand. She didn’t manage to properly connect it at first which explains the bloodstain on the bed (it was mostly water and only a tiny tiny amount of blood). Within 1,5 hour the Korean doctors managed to lower my fever from 39+ celsius to 37,5 which is just slightly above my normal temperature. Within three hours I could go home.
The day after my visit to the ER I had to visit the hospital again to get a proper diagnosis. This time I had to go to a nose-troat-mouth doctor. After examining me, which included having a camera go ±10 centimeters deep into my nose. I must say that was one of the worst things I’ve ever felt, like EVER. I’d much rather get 20 shots in my arm or hand, but than I must say I honestly hardly feel needles. He concluded that I had a sinusitis infection and a severe flu. Than they took a sample of the slime in my nose and I was prescribed a shipload of antibiotics (these had to be changed once, because I suffered to much from side effects. I will spare you all the details about that, but people that have been on antibiotics will be most likely able to guess.)
A week later was my first check up. The results of the slime sample were in and lucky me turned out to have a certain type of bacteria that is resistant to most types of antibiotics. So my antibiotics had to be changed again. To make a long story short: these helped.
Now let me tell a bit more about Korean hospitals. In the university hospital I went to most of the doctors and even nurses spoke English very well, but it’s still useful to bring a Korean a long. I had to come back four times for a check-up and sometimes it wasn’t clear to me where I had to go at all or how long I would have to wait. In those cases having a Korean language speaker with you helps a lot.
Another thing that might be interesting to know about Korean hospitals/doctors is that they give you a lot of drugs. When I was really sick I had to take 16(!) pills a day. Even when I felt better the doctor prescribed me more pills ,,In case it comes back”. In total I have been on antibiotics for four (!) weeks. The medication did help, but especially when I had to take the 16 pills a day I felt very ‘out of this world’ and drowsy. Further more the hospitals and pharmacies back your medication in individual bags (the amount you have to take in per day). Quite nice, but the downside is that you won’t be given a medication leaflet.
And than this person showed up in Seoul……
And than I went to visit this place….
And now finals are coming up…. BUT I really miss blogging and I’ve been working ‘offline’ on posts, so I’ll try to post as often as possible. Please bare with me, when I go back home in 3 weeks I will get back to my usual posting schedule. Although I am planning on changing it a little. Before I used to post everyday, but since my articles are usually fairly long I feel like posting every day will be kind of an ‘information overload’? So I was thinking to post maybe 3 to 4 times a week? Let me know what you think!
p.s. In case you’re wondering Sylvain: YES those are your pictures! I stole them, because I was to lazy to transfer my own from my camera to the pc haha!
p.s.s. I will blog about the places I visited.