366//Week 15

April 9, Day 95
Another day at Hallym University Hospital… These were all my questions and concerns for the doctor written out in Korean. Continue reading

On hearing…

I haven’t usually done personal posts on this blog yet, mostly because I don’t want it to become a diary or journal of sorts, beyond the obvious sharing of my 366-day photo challenge entries. For me, those are more abstract and you don’t get the full story behind them. But today, today I feel like I should share what’s been going on with me in the past week, and why there won’t be an original “366//Week 15” update next week (for April 9-15).

Last Friday, early in the morning, I woke up to a significant pain in my right ear. After thinking about it for a minute, I figured I must have somehow gotten “swimmer’s ear”, something I used to get all the time from swimming in lakes and public pools. It didn’t occur to me at the time that my shower water is purified and the likelihood of bacteria crawling down into my ear canal was nil.

However, I looked online for a home remedy and saw several fixes. I tried them in this order:

  1. 1/4 tsp olive oil, warm, dripped into the ear.
  2. warm water cleanse.
  3. hydrogen peroxide (I thought for sure this would work).
  4. blowing warm air into the ear via hairdryer.

None of these things worked and the pain increased. It was nearly an hour after I’d woken up with the pain that I decided my home remedies were not going to work and I had to swallow my pride and just go to the hospital. However, I lost my insurance papers and thought there was no way I was going to the ER.

When I reached the hospital, I was given information that I couldn’t understand (thanks to the language barrier) and thought the guard was telling me to wait outside the pharmacy until it opened. I half-sat, half-slept for an hour, waiting. When I realized it wasn’t going to open, I went back to the guard, and a different man told me that he meant to go to the ER. I was furious, but what could I do. I went home instead, hoping that I could wait a few more hours until normal working times to see a doctor.

I went to work where my co-teachers literally pushed me out the door, telling me I was crazy for coming to work instead of going straight to the hospital. I couldn’t hear out of one ear, it was leaking pus, and I couldn’t even talk without crying. I guess I looked like a complete wreck!

The doctor told me that I didn’t have swimmer’s ear. It was actually an ear infection. He cleaned out some of the wax and pus from my ears, gave me some antibiotics, and sent me on my way, asking me to follow up later.

Things were fine at the time, besides the pain, which I was taking 650mg Tylenol for.

I decided to go on a trip I’d scheduled for that weekend to a place called Jindo Island. J and I and several of our friends were part of a huge caravan of people going down to see the miraculous sea-parting event as well as a dog show and of course, some good-old ocean time.

Well, Saturday, after heading down to the beach and watching this super cool sea-parting event, I ended up with two ears that couldn’t hear. That’s right, suddenly I was deaf. And I couldn’t hear anybody around me unless they shouted at me. I downed painkillers and antibiotics like candy, my appetite waned, and I tried to have a good time while secretly wishing that I could still listen to music if not my friends’ conversations, or at the very least, not have pus coming out of my ears ALL THE TIME.

And ever since then (it’s now Friday the 13th!), I’ve been unable to hear anything at all. I tried watching TV with the speakers up full blast and, alternatively, with headphones, and both sound watery and unclear. I can’t understand the dialogue at all unless there are subtitles. I have very little patience for the Internet because most of what interests me needs the use of headphones or is food-related, and since the ear infection started, I’ve lost my sense of taste and smell as well.

I’m on new antibiotics, I’ve had holes cut in my tesmpsoenfoseifn-something membranes, I’ve upped the pain meds to 4-5 times a day, and I’m frequently napping to help the day along. I’ve realized after all this time that ears are super important to our lives, and I never want to be deaf ever again.

Here’s to hoping the doctor resorts to surgery tomorrow so I can finally hear again! (And have a well-deserved pint!)

366//Week 13

This past week was rather stressful and I wasn’t able to record a lot of it in picture form. Instead, I’ll make up for it with extra pictures from my trip to Geoje and Jinhae!

March 26, Day 84
While roaming through the aisles at the store, I found bags of lettuce and leaves that I’d never heard of before like Shepard’s Purse, Dropwort, and Stonecrop. Continue reading