The Korean germs have been hitting me pretty hard for the past month. First, I had that horrendous cold/upper respiratory tract infection, and the lastest was a really hard hitting stomach virus. At least, I think that’s what it was. I’m still not entirely sure. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever had before, and I can’t remember ever feeling that sick for such a long period of time.
It started last Saturday very gradually. I pretty much just had a dull ache in my abdomen, and every time I tried to eat my appetite would suddenly disappear. This feeling continued through Sunday, and then that night I started not being able to keep food or water down. It kept going downhill from there. Luckily, I had Monday off work for a holiday so I stayed home to rest. By Tuesday, it was still worse so I had my friend Yuki take me to the doctor. I think there was something mistranslated, because the doctor seemed convinced that I was just eating the WRONG kind of food and that’s why I was sick. Also, stress, etc. He gave me some pills, and sent me home. I kept getting worse.
On Wednesday, I started to get really worried that something was seriously wrong..and I hadn’t been able to eat or drink anything since Saturday, so I was very weak and a bit delirious. I showed up at my school on Wednesday morning a sobbing mess. One of my co-teachers rushed me across the street to a doctor, who listened again to my symptoms, and said I had a stomach virus. Then, I layed down for two hours while they gave me 2 IV bags. First time ever getting an IV. I definitely needed that though. I really didn’t feel any better afterwards, but I rested in the nurse office the rest of the day before my co-teacher drove me home.
Thursday was spent much of the same way…Not eating, and sleeping off and on. I stayed home though, and had a few fleeting moments of “okayness”. By Friday, I hardly improved, but my co-teacher expected me back at school. By the time I made it there, I pretty much collapsed in exhaustion. Then it was back to the nurses office. They made me go to the cafeteria to eat rice. I had to force myself, and it was not fun, but I was glad that I did. I really needed to eat. After lunch, my co-teacher took me to her house, and made some rice soup for me (rice and hot water, really). Then she took me to another doctor. This doctor said I was having really bad reflux, and gave me four more days of meds. The rest of the weekend, I spent sleeping, eating rice, and taking medicine. My stomach still gets upset, but it’s not nearly as bad, and I get really exhausted pretty fast.
The strangest part in all this is the difference of culture between how stomach viruses are treated back home vs. here in Korea. My co-teacher seemed CONVINCED that it was something I ate that was making me sick. She drilled me about what I ate last Saturday, and then Friday..etc. Had I not been completely drained of energy, I probably would have snapped. Back home, whenever I get stomach stuff, I usually drink some Ginger Ale (don’t think that exists here, would love some right now though), eat some toast, and maybe some soup or chicken broth. When I told my co-teacher this, she seemed absolutely horrified. Same with the doctors. They all said it was “Very very bad”. I could tell they were laughing about us “silly Americans”.
I’m still not back to 100%, but I am back at school, and am feeling a lot better. Apparently, I still can’t eat anything besides rice..so I will stick to that for the next couple of days. I’m ready to be healthy again!