I am reminded that I art mortal

I called in sick to work today. Couldn’t sleep because of a terrible cough, and woke up barely able to speak (before calling in, I spent some time practicing saying several sentences in a row without swearing uncontrollably at how difficult it was). But that’s not the worst part.

The real whammy was several hours later, when I finally worked up the energy to get out of my apartment. I went to buy some some bottles of water, some salted crackers, and cough medicine. I got the first to things at a 7-11 a couple blocks from my apartment, where I regularly buy stacks and drinks. And I got the cough medicine just across the street from the 7-11. But I was so addled I got lost walking back, and when I finally got back I collapsed from exhaustion.

I’m sure it’s just the common cold and I’ll live, but it’s kind of humbling. Not only can a minor illness be terribly unpleasant and cause me to lose some of my mental sharpness, it can impair basic mental functioning that humans–and even much-less-smart animals–take for granted. It’s a reminder that I’m just this thing made of meat, and the talents I’m so proud of can be taken away from me very easily.

Also, I never thought I’d say this, but why couldn’t it be food poisoning? I’ve had food poisoning a bunch of times before, and it’s really not that bad as long as you stop eating and drinking once you realize you have it (because you can’t throw up on an empty stomach!) At it generally only lasts 24 hours, whereas this is just the worst day of a cold that’s been getting gradually worse since Friday.

P.S. How do people like the new profile pic? On the plus side, it’s a headshot taken with a high-quality camera. On the minus side, I got caught with a weird-ass half-smile (or at least I think I did). So what say ye?

  • jamessweet

    Coincidentally, my entire family got slammed with a horrible stomach bug last night. Well, it hit my one-year-old Saturday morning, my wife and my three-year-old last night, and me late last night into today.

    We also wondered if it was food poisoning, but the staggered times we came down with it calls that into doubt, as does the fact that we shared a couple of our meals the last couple of days with other families who did not get sick. In any case, we’re wiped out. Sucks… :/

  • mnb0

    Your weird-ass half-smile is cool.
    Get better soon.

  • piero

    I’ve suffered from severe depression. It does not physically hurt, by it wreaks havoc with your emotions. Some days I just could not do anything but cry. It took all my willpower to give a lecture without breaking up, but I’m sure my students noticed the trembling in my voice.

    Yes, we are fragile an ephemeral creatures. That’s bad. Very bad. But if everyone was aware, really aware, of that fact, the world would surely be a better place. Sam Harris said something in one of his books that has remained engraved in my mind: we are all going to die; our loved ones are going to die; the guy across the street is going to die, and so will his loved ones. Why should we feel anything but compassion for each other? Why should we want to make anyone’s already short and miserable life even shorter and more miserable?

    Your new profile picture is great: good lighting, sharpness and colour balance (though I’d make it a bit more saturated). Your half-smile is cool, as mnbo said. It projects the right mix of cynicism and “I cannot keep my eyes open with this flare”.

  • http://oldtimeatheism.blogspot.ca/ andyman409

    I got two really bad colds back to back a couple months ago. I think I watched about 30 movies (around 5 per day) while waiting to get better from them. I could not walk properly since I ate so little and spent so much time in bed.

  • sunsangnim

    The nice thing is that you can go to a doctor fairly cheaply in Korea, as long as you’re on the national health care plan.

    I recently went to a local hospital in Daegu and got a chest x-ray because I was worried that I had pneumonia. Luckily, it was just a bad case of bronchitis. The cost for the visit and x-ray: 13,000 won ($11). And you can essentially go to any hospital. This one just happened to have some staff who can speak English. Hopefully there are hospitals with international clinics in your area so you don’t have to deal with a language barrier.

    A few years ago, I taught at a public high school in Colorado. Once I really did have pneumonia, and I was having trouble breathing. A neighbor drove me to the ER at a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, it was the wrong hospital, so my insurance refused to pay the bill. It was $900. I appealed and pleaded my case before the private insurance “death panel.” No dice. Even if they did pay their part, the copay was still $300 for an ER visit. And all I got was a chest x-ray (after 3 or 4 hours in the waiting room) and some medication.

    In contrast, the waiting time in the Korean hospital was very brief. I told the staff that in the US, similar treatment would have cost a million won. They didn’t believe me.

    Get better soon. And don’t drink too much soju.


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