Jillian R.
There's never a dull moment here in Korea. No, not here.

Let's backtrack a little;

Tuesday, Aug 17;
I am waiting for Eric to get his dental work done. For unknown reasons, one of his teeth (
or rather, part of the gums?) were not responding to local anesthesia. Therefore, on the fourth visit to the dentist, everyone on the team (of dentists), including Eric himself had given up and opted for general anesthesia instead.

Today is the day of the "surgery" and I am sitting in the waiting room, feeling extremely nervous and edgy. I believe that doctors in Korea are fairly competent, but I can't say I feel the same way about the hospital staff though. Hear me out before we blame it on paranoia;

     
A week before the procedure, a few preparatory exams were mandatory, one of them was a chest X-ray; upon getting the results, the doctor appeared concerned and had wanted to talk to Eric. I started to feel queasy in the stomach.
Dental Surgeon (Doc): We found something strange about your X-ray (Korean accent)
Eric: Okay....
Me: Oh my god, is everything okay?
Doc: ...normally people have their heart on the left side. Sometimes it's a bit right. Yours is on the right...but everything's normal besides that.

 *Eric and I exchanged looks*


Me:
*pauses* WHAT?
Eric: Well...I guess if someone's trying to murder me they would miss. I think the lab assistant flipped the machine the wrong way.
Doc: Oh yes, I think so...okay, so everything's okay. We can proceed next week.

I was right, wasn't I? So at this point, there's nothing else to do but hope that they pay close attention to what they're doing; before they drill a hole through my husband's cheek.

But at least the hospital garment was entertaining. Yes, what better color to choose but pink?

People here do not speak English in general. Most of the time it is very frustrating but sometimes, I try to have fun. I try...

It's Korean culture to remove one's shoes when entering homes. Now, I am starting to notice that they practice this everywhere else too; The following conversation took place in the waiting room:-


*A hospital staff approached me holding a pair of green slippers
*


Staff: Slipp-uh...changy
I understood what she wanted me to do but I didn't want to wear some green, weird-looking slippers that someone else had worn into surgery!! I wanted to keep wearing my own sneakers, so I tried to get out of it.

Me: No, no, I'm not a patient, the PATIENT is in there *
points at operating room*
Staff: Um, *
still holding slippers* changy... *gestures to shoe locker*
Me: No, no! I'm NOT a patient. And I don't speak Korean.
Staff: *
Looks around for someone to translate* Uh, *mumbles something in Korean* uh.... *mumbles mumbles*

It would be cruel not to give in by then, so I said "
Oh, me? Changy? Okay!"

Jokes aside, I was glad that Eric came out okay. He was a bit loopy after the three-hour surgery and had a little trouble waking up, then got me and the team of doctors worked up into a frenzy but when he did wake up, he started mumbling (more like demanding) for coffee - it took 30 mins before he sat down quietly and listened to his MP3 player.

Before I end today's entry, like the title suggests, let me share with you how to survive a day a few hours at the while waiting for someone in the OR (in Korea).
1) Find a channel that you like (if any) then make sure you hide the TV remote; or else you would have to sit through hours and hours of watching very annoying variety shows featuring local actors/actresses and/or some drama which after watching five minutes of it, you know the entire story and how it's going to end

2) Find a seat at the far end of the room (if possible) if you don't want to be stuck between two people with garlic breath (from all the kimchi) breathing down on you

3) And finally, reading material or some sort of entertainment item is essential because no where can you find a magazine (or newspaper) which is NOT in Korean.

Failing to follow the tips above will result in you having a very, very miserable time.

p/s In case you were wondering, I survived the day because I DID do all of the above!
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