As ridiculous as her suggestions were I was desperate and would listen to her. I would leave my windows open all day when I was at work and kept my bed and nightstand away from the wall. I even bought little moisture absorber traps as an extra precaution.
But when the mold showed up this time I was more frustrated than normal. My landlord had been over just last week to remove it, and yes, slap on another layer of wallpaper. This time the mold was more than I had ever seen and it went all the way from the floor to the ceiling of my bedroom. Not even witchcraft could make mold grow this fast.
Before leaving for the weekend I went to open the windows in my house- following my stupid landlords advice in hopes that she wouldn’t think I was a witch. My broken bed was in front of the sliding window in my laundry room so I had to move it to slide the window open.
My bed frame was on a raised ledge leaning against the window. It was so heavy that I struggled to pull it away from the glass to open my window. I managed to get the window open when suddenly my headboard slipped from the ledge and came crashing down on foot.
On the way there the pain was overwhelming and I tore my bandage off of my toe because I couldn’t stand it. My friend had pain killers on him so when we got to the train station he quickly ran into buy me some water to take the pills. My foot hurt so much that I sat down on a bench outside and waited for him.
Once again we debated whether we should leave for the weekend.
My thoughts went back to images of the mold growing up my wall. My mind was made up.
We went inside and bought the train tickets. The next train didn’t leave for another hour. My friend suggested that I visit a doctor if we had the time.
The pain in my toe was not subsiding and I realized that I had clearly done more damage to it than I thought. The medical system in South Korea is insanely fast and the nearest hospital was only five minute drive away. We hopped back in a taxi and headed to the hospital.
Once we got into the hospital I was in tears and my friend grabbed a wheelchair for me to sit in. We drew a lot of attentions to ourselves being two distressed foreigners trying to figure out where to go.
Since we we so noticeable we were quickly approached by a nurse who ushered us in. Right away we were taken in to see the doctor.
After a quick look at my toe and seeing the pain on my face the doctor sent me for an X-ray. When the results came back I was told that my toe had been broken. I couldn’t help but think that this wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t mold in my bedroom.
They cast up my foot, gave me some crutches, prescribed me with a bunch of drugs and sent me on my way. We managed to make it back to the train station in the nick of time. I remember “running” through the train station to catch our train.
When I got back from the weekend I went for a checkup at the hospital.
They gave me another X-ray and sent me to a specialist. It was here that I was told I would need surgery. When I asked how long I would need to recover from the surgery I was told six weeks. Only one problem, I was leaving for Myanmar in a week!
On top of this I wouldn’t be able to walk or swim- not ideal for traveling.
I asked the doctor (and by me I mean my Korean coworker translating) when I would be able to walk if I didn’t get the surgery. He told me that basically as long as it didn’t hurt I could try walking. Well there you have it- that answer was good enough for me.
I refused the surgery and walked…well, hobbled, out of there.
To refuse a doctor’s recommendations in South Korea is quite insulting. Basically a doctor is the most respected position by Koreans and they idolize doctors. Coming from a more independent culture I have a more critical mind than the average Korean and don’t easily trust doctors here.
So against doctors orders, I ended up boarding my plane to Myanmar. I was determined to not let my toe ruin this amazing destination for me.I left my crutches behind- worried that they might not allow them on the plane.
The worst part about the whole trip was probably the airport. I had a layover in Beijing and the airport was massive! Luckily I had about six hours to make it from one side to the other.
I think that the kindest gesture was made when my friend and I were walking to a night market in Pathien. We were slowly making our way to the market, and I was using my friend as a crutch, when we stopped to ask for directions. One man pointed us on our way and we continued our journey as slow as molasses. Slow and steady wins the race?
About five minutes later- and probably only one block away given the pace we were going- a car pulled up to us. The driver rolled down his window and said, “night market?”
“No” my friend sternly replied- thinking he was some stranger trying to get us into his car.
Given that we were in one of the friendliest countries in the world I couldn’t imagine that this would be the case. I took a better look at the man and thought that I recognized him. He was the man that we had asked for directions from. He must have taken pity on me and went to get his car so that he could give me a ride.
Before my friend could shoo him away I quickly exclaimed’ yes, please!” and jumped in the back seat. My friend gave me a look of surprise but reluctantly chose to trust my decision as she too jumped into the car.
Sure enough, the man drove us to the night market. He didn’t get out of the car- he was simply just giving us a lift.