06 November 2007

collapsing classmates

safety first.

on our way to a post-korean language class lecture about the intersections of buddhism and christianity (or something like that) one of my classmates suddenly got disoriented and then started walking like he was a polio survivor. we took him to the school infirmary where he promptly passed out. next, we rode in a korean ambulance to a small hospital on the other side of seodaemun-gu. luckily, kenji was with us since he speaks korean decently enough to describe undiagnosed medical conditions.

of course, being nihon, he also has a pretty decent command of japanese, but it was my very white other classmate (the one with the bad head) who received rudimentary japanese lessons from the fiesty korean halmohnee in the hospital waiting room. our entertaining presence was well received by the variously ailing posse who were also in the room, which i guess was the least we could do.

longish story shorter, little buddy pulled through. i was impressed by how quickly we moved back and forth between the waiting area and to have various tests and consultations with doctors... less impressed with the doc in the bathroom who didn't wash his hands after touching his penis. we learned from dr. pak (who had framed screen shots of her appearances on local tv in her office) that mr. classmate is generally ok... he just has a weak heart and needs to eat more salty foods (the poor thing doesn't like kimchi). in the end, the ambulance ride, exam, doctor consultation and CT scan were only about $250, but would have probably cost upwards of $2,000 in the states.

feeling good that he cheated death, on the way out we stopped by seodaemun prison, which was where the japanese tortured korean freedom fighters during the colonial period. it was kind of a weird afternoon.

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