Long MERS Summer…


I wish I was kidding.  Obviously it’s been a while since my last post for quite a few reasons.

While I did mention that I would be discussing the summer heat, my friend’s surgery and something else I can’t remember….things have changed….

As much of the world is now aware, South Korea, particularly Seoul and my city Pyeongtaek, is trying to contain MERS.

I’ve have seen so many people wearing face masks it’s like that scene from E.T. where Elliott’s house is trying to “contain” the alien

Now, I had gotten sick last Saturday, right as MERS hit ironically enough.  I knew it wasn’t MERS, I did however think it was the flu.  Turns out it was a bad cold and tonsilitis.  So basically it sucked.

I laid on my couch for about a week, eating soup and crackers, hot tea, and the popsicles I kept buying from the 7-11.  I think I became their best customer that week.

I had no energy because I could only really eat soup, and I was just miserable.  The first night had to be the roughest.  I had a fever that kept climbing and no meds or way of getting them.  So I googled old school methods and used a wet washcloth on my forehead and fan the entire night.  It was hell.

Luckily my good friend E brought me meds, soup, cough drops, the next morning which took the edge off.

I’m lucky because she is able to get what she needs on base. As for others who are less lucky, I would suggest going to a clinic or a pharmacy.It’s quick, easy and cheap.

My co-teachers were concerned ( I think my school also was paranoid that I had MERS) and sent me home early two days in a row and then to an Ear Nose Throat clinic.  They were afraid that the nearby hospital might be infected.

The clinic: clean, fast, effiecent.

From the time I walked in to the time I left (including getting my perscription downstairs) maybe 15 minutes. They took my information, and I had to wait for a little, then I got called back to an intense looking room: one doctor and three nurses.  TV screens and all sorts of instruments…it was a little overwhelming.

I think they initially wanted to rule out MERS so I had my temperature taken as well.  Between my Korean and his English  learned it was a common cold and tonsiliis. As many know ,or don’t know, tonsilitis is no longer an immediate “remove the tonsils!” Just some antibiodics and antihistemine and I was on my way.  To pay I gave my health insurance card my school gave me, and it wound up being a whopping 4,900 Won.  WHAT? Anyone in the US knows it would be at least a 20$ co-pay.

Then downstairs for my pharmacy meds. Again, easy, cheap and our English/Korean mix I learned to take 3x a day.

So while I’m still feeling nasal congestion, coughing, muscus, and my voice is something no would be jealous of, overall I can now get through the day without needing a nap, or wanting to die! YAY!

Now as promised….

W’s surgery!

As for W’s surgery.  It was a success and she is back in full swing today.  Busan has yet to really feel the “fear” that we have up North so her school is still open.  She is nervous about going back which I understand but I think her students are going to be so excited to see her.

She was in the hospital for a few days-but she was on the same floor as the babies! So she was able to look at them and get mini baby fever…but the trade off? The heat on the floor was insane.  She mentioned that she would wake up with pools of sweat in her bed because her A/C wasn’t allowed to be above a certain temp, and her roommate complained about the cold.

On a positive note the nurses seemed to be very nice and overall I think she had a good experience.  Some friends came to visit and I think having her mom there was a big factor as well.  To entertain her I posted many a things to her facebook wall.

Her first few days were rough, a lot of sleeping and some walking but this past weekend she managed to make it out shopping.

With her recovering from surgery and me sick, we were two peas in a pod…just wishing we were closer so we could be “sick together”.


For the heat, well…it’s strange.  I live on the 9th floor with two large sliding glass doors. I have two fans.  No A/C. (what people here mostly call Air Con).  And so far I have yet to be uncomfortable.

That being said, in Korea if it is 86 degrees outside, in the shade will feel perfectly acceptable, and sometimes a little chilly if it’s early or late an there is a breeze.  However, if you are in the sun it will be the full 86 degrees and you will probably get sunburned as well.  The difference between the shade and the sun is amazing, even if it’s humid, which has started to creep.  I’m going to have to buy an A/C until soon, especially for July and August, but …..I need to get paid first and for right now, I’m perfectly comfortable.

Then again I also grew up in Maryland which as everyone knows is so ridiculously humid. So I’m thinking….can it be worse? I’ m going to regret saying that…

Now the MERS thing…my school wound up “closing” three days last week and the entire week this week per the GOV.  But teachers are still supposed to come to school.  I used sick days last week but this week I was unsure of what to do.

I was told by my co that I should come to school, use my paid vacation days and leave early.  But I didn’t want to use my paid vacation days-I have major plans for those days!

Turns out, my VP apparently likes me so I only need to use one paid vacation day because the principal is coming in that day.  So I got lucky.

However…and here is where MERS has started to mess with my life….

Because the school has been closed, we need to make up those days.  Summer vacation has been shortened a little and I think one “thanksgiving day”. Ok no big deal right?

It would be NBD is my parents visit wasn’t affected. Because we are ending school later, English camp is being pushed back later, which means it is pushed right into my parents visit.  And we are supposed to leave right for Busan.

So my co said we would talk to the principal next week-I’m hoping because I told my co and the VP about this trip over a month ago, they will let me off those three days, even if it is unpaid.

I’m not mad at the school because I understand – same thing happened with snow days or those rare hurricane years back home.  I would have not been too upset if I had made plans, but because my parents are already spending a lot of money and hotels are booked.  I hope this doesn’t drag on too much more because The whole point of my parents coming to Korea is to SEE ME!

I will be stressing about this until I can stress no more.

So I will be spending the rest of this weird week lesson planning,  researching vacations, posting a lot of random stuff, posting on the other page about actual real info.

So next time on the real black and white dog archives: when do i want to go to gangwon-do, debating between Busan and Seoul and home, shooting star ice cream, and whatever the else I think of while I’m sitting at my desk for 4 hours!