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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Koren photographers and hospital experiences

Over the weekend I took a day trip with a group of friends to a city called Andong. It was a two hour windy bus ride that anyone with a slightly temperamental stomach would have vomited their breakfast...

There is a Korean folk village where the people still participate in the ancient Korean customs. First we went to the museum to learn about the customs then we went to the village. At the museum there was an old man doing calligraphy and he made scrolls for us for free. Mine says "May all your dreams come true." (Or something like that...)

Outside the museum we decided to stop for some group photos. There were two Korean men who wanted to take pictures with us. Then take pictures of us... All Koreans think they are photographers. They buy big fancy cameras and bring their tripod with at all times. How else can they take self portraits...?

It was a good weekend.

Last night my coworker, Jenn, thought she was dying (slight exaggeration). She had abdominal pains and other symptoms associated with appendicitis so it really wasn't something to put off for a few days. I went to the ER with her and... WOW. That is all I can say.

When we first got there there were two old people that appear to be on their death beds. Then some kids came in. Then a gurney with someone on life support came in. They started blood transfusions, plugged in a defibrillator and who knows what else.

In American emergency rooms you wait for hours and hours, but in the comfort of your own personal room with a TV. In Korea, the ER is basically an open triage center with gurneys lined up along the walls. They line patients up in order of severity. And use stainless steel chopsticks to handle medical supplies.

If you need to, for example, give a urine sample, you can do so in that personal room. In Korea you have a gurney with a curtain around it. And for urine samples, the bathroom is down the hall and around the corner. You even have to retrieve your own IV cart to be mobile. (Oh...they started an IV right away for abdominal pain...??)

So nurses and doctors are working on the patient that is dying (their head is all bandaged up, tube coming of of the mouth and there's crusted blood all over their face - yes I could see all this just walking by...) so I walk around the other way to get back to Jenn. There was a random puddle of dried blood on the floor. Completely normal and sanitary in Korea...

Let's just say my immune system is in overdrive today...