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Monday, May 16, 2011

Everybody home

Last week we had no school, though we were supposed to be there on Wednesday to hold down our seats.

Didn't work out that way.

On Monday (a holiday, as Tuesday was the Birthday of the Buddha, happy belated birthday big guy!) we took Maxine to the hospital, as she was still very uncomfortable and vomiting over night.  They suggested checking her in for a couple of days to run some tests.  Sure, no problem.  This was a different hospital than the one we went to before, and it just felt more professional to me.

We checked her into a 3-patient room instead of the single.  This cut our payment down from $110 a night to about $25 per night.  Of course, you get what you pay for:  sharing a room with a couple of kids who are coughing sick at a time when Maxine's body is stressed out.  Drunk relatives of said kids spending the late part of the evening, after bed time, being noisy, stinky, and bearing greasy food, the smell of which made Maxine feel ill.  And of course they couldn't open the window for ventilation, because their kids were sick!  Aargh!  Horyon complained to the nurse, and that eventually got things moving.

Eventually it was agreed upon that problem in Maxine's stomach was with her lymph nodes.  I was not aware that there were lymph nodes in or around the stomach.  Learn something new every day.  The reason was stress, compounded by all the medicine she had been taking for the colds she had gone through.  Made sense to me.

They checked her out on Thursday, and she has been home since.  Of course, it is only Monday now, and there is still time for things to go wrong.  Horyon said she was coughing a lot today...

Here is an interesting piece of A4 paper that Maxine decorated, front and back.  It is to be a birthday card, I believe for me to give to her when she turns six.  She made it more than a week ago, and I was undoubtedly short on sleep when she explained it to me, so I may very well have it completely wrong.  If so, I'm sorry Maxine!

A big shout out to my parents.  They just sent me some bicycling equipment and a copy of Disney's "Tangled" (on Blu-Ray and DVD!).  I sat and watched the entire movie with Maxine while Quinten and Mommy were in the hospital.  It was a nice Sunday for me and Maxine.  I can't remember the last time I sat with her for so long.

She was not happy about going back to school today.  She protested that she wanted to be with me and Horyon.  What can you do?  It would drive her crazy to stay home with us all day, but she can't really imagine that.  And she can't imagine what would happen if we both just stopped working to be with her.  I don't want her to be able to imagine being hungry all the time, and not having a home.  I'm glad she can't.  But how do you respond without trying to help her picture it?

Oh well.  I'm sure it will all be better once she becomes a teenager.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Enough is Enough

OK. So last night Maxine spent the night vomiting. (Dr. guessing the stress of too much medication and stress and not enough eating are catching up with her, poor kid.) Yesterday Horyon's father was admitted to the hospital, also for constant vomiting. (No news yet.) I have no classes this week, and Horyon only has class on Wednesday, so we are pretty much set to spike this one down. Quinten is healthy, and Horyon and I are okay. We just want to have a sane existence at this point.

We did have everyone home Friday night, and Saturday was mostly okay.  Long naps for everyone.  Right now Quinten is napping, and Horyon and Maxine are at the hospital (different hospital from the past couple of weeks) getting a slow IV, as Maxine had nothing left inside after about 11 p.m. last night.

Not sure what else to say at this point.  Horyon's father doesn't have insurance, so things will be very tight around here for a while.  On the bright side, Dad tells me that soon our house will be on the market.  On the less bright side, the first house we bought will be on the market soon because we just couldn't afford to keep it.

I find myself being nostalgic for a time which I'm not sure ever existed: the time of a normal, happy, healthy life.  Then I remember that I have a friend whose seven-year-old daughter has Cystic Fibrosis.  She has a regular regimen of IVs, being poked with needles, and taking medications.  I remember that I have many friends raising their children as single parents, making do with one paycheck and no one you can just count on to be there while you take a kid to the hospital.  I remember that I lived for two years in Nepal, where children in villages died, and still die, from diahrea.  I remember that my blessings are uncountable.

I have had trouble praying lately.  We pray at every meal, but it has become somewhat mechanical for me.  I am occasionally rescued by Maxine, because when she prays she really means it.  Today it was just Quinten and me eating lunch at home, and I got choked up when I prayed, saying "Thank you for all the blessings you have given us."  

So if you are praying for the health (and sanity) of my family, please also pray for my spiritual health.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sick kid, well kid, manageable dad

The good news is that Quinten is fine.  Fit as a fiddle and ready to rock.  Well, he still shows signs of one ear being a little infected, and his throat is not in the best of shape, but relatively speaking he is doing great.

The bad news is that his sister is not.  Maxine fought a fever last night, which kept Horyon up wiping her down with damp towels.  Now it is her throat, the same culprit that knocked Quinten down last week.

So Horyon is staying at the hospital with both of them again tonight.  And tomorrow is a holiday, Children's Day, so we are unlikely to be checking out then.  Besides, we have to work on Friday.

So yeah, this is racking up.  As I mentioned before, the cost for hospital stays here is relatively low, but we have already passed the point where my entire paycheck for April will be consumed in this health crisis.  So much for making progress on the bills.  So much for sending money back to the States.  So much for saving for retirement.  Worth it to have healthy kids, but I am just tired of the whole thing.

I thought they were coming home today.  Last night I was up until 1 a.m., vacuuming, doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen.  Looks like I have time to do more cleaning today.

I am nearing the end of two months of treatment for hypertension.  I take blood pressure medicine every morning.  The only tricky part is remembering to get the prescription refilled in time.  Today I will have to rush, as I am also teaching a private lesson and visiting my family at the hospital.

These days it is not fashionable to refer to private lessons as such, so we call them "Tea Parties".  It makes me feel as though I should be sitting at a little table with dolls and pretending to drink tea and eat cake.  Silly, but not as shady as telling people that you are pretty happy with your privates.

Yesterday I rode my bike to the hospital for the first time.  Cut the 30 minutes walk down to about 8 minutes.  Almost all level, little side streets.  The time varies as there is a stoplight that takes two or three minutes to turn over.  I got the bike from my brother-in-law, Young-whan.  He is a really good guy, even bought me a $200+ helmet to protect my precious, if ineffective, noggin.  And the bike itself is worthy of a full post, as soon as I get some free time.

Gotta get ready for class.  I only have time for this because one class this morning was cancelled.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sick Kids

OK.  I've set my timer for 30 minutes, after which I will post this and go to sleep.

It has been one week today since Quinten was admitted to the hospital with a high fever.  It started to come down Friday, and they stopped giving him drugs, but they didn't want to send him home until Monday, because when they release patients on the weekend they frequently come back and need to be readmitted through the emergency room, which is, I guess, a major bummer for everyone involved and not worth the minor advantage gained by taking your family out of an environment full of sick people and health care professionals who don't necessarily have germ theory grilled into their minds.

Last week Maxine and I stayed with Horyon's parents, while Horyon spent every moment outside of work in the hospital with Quinten.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday night Maxine and I stayed at home, got some laundry done, caught up a bit on cleaning up the kitchen, and I cooked a nice chicken soup, which made me feel tons better.  Maxine whined at first because there were onions AND green onions, but I had deliberately left them large enough for her to eat around.

Sunday we hung out at the hospital with Quinten and Mommy, then Horyon's parents took Maxine and I to a meat restaurant.  Maxine ate quite a bit, as did I.

That night Maxine had a tummy ache.  I gave her a Tums, and we both got to sleep by 9:45, pretty early for us.  And this morning she felt crummy.  Vomited twice, and had a fever.  So she got admitted to the hospital instead of Quinten being released.

Right now (almost 11 p.m. my time) Horyon is there with both kids.  The sofa is pushed next to the bed, the kids have their IV drips going, and it is cozy and warm, and just a bit stuffy.  Today was a Yellow Dust day. (Comes from China, fun stuff, coats everything and makes you sneeze.  The Korean Herald said today was the worst yellow dust day of the year.)  That always makes things more fun.

Some people have asked me about insurance for the kids.  We are all insured through our work, though there have been complications.  Nothing that keeps the insurance from working though.  Since Maxine and Quinten are both officially Korean citizens, they are automatically insured by the state if we do not have insurance for them.  Neat, huh?  And though I have issues with the hospital, at $120 per day after insurance picks up the lion's share, I can't complain.  Not out loud, anyway.  Well, not out loud to them, anyway.

Here's one characteristic of a Korean hospital:  everyone gets the IV drip, all the time.  You see patients standing outside having a cigarette with IVs, though not so much from this hospital as it is a pediatric hospital. Quinten has had an IV into his hand (switching hands every three days for the past week.  He has become quite clever at untangling himself, and they have the entry bandaged up so that he can't pull it out or mess it up.  At least he hasn't so far.

They put the IV in Maxine's right hand.  She was pretty upset over how it impacted her coloring, but quickly got over it with some positive reinforcement from me.  She still gets tangled, but she's learning.

Speaking of Tangled, Mom and Dad sent Maxine the video "Tangled" and it arrived this weekend.  Maxine and I watched the whole thing together.  First time in a long time for us to do that.  It was a lot of fun, had me laughing out loud in many places, though not usually the same places that made Maxine laugh out loud.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  They also sent me some bicycle stuff.  Don't know when I will be able to use that...

I brought them both fresh coloring and sketch books today.  Looks like Quinten may be heading down the same artistic path as Maxine, except that he seems to prefer methods that make more noise.  Hmm....

I have gotten a lot of support from friends and family back in the states, and my coworkers here have been great, too.  Of course, when you're a teacher there is not a whole lot that other people can do to make your job much easier.  In the end it is you up there either teaching or making a fool of yourself.

My half hour is almost up.  I need to remember to bring some shoes for Horyon.  She lets Quinten walk around diaper-less sometimes, and today he peed on her shoes.  I usually tell her that it's not a good idea to leave him diaper free, but today I kept my mouth shut.  See Mom, I'm learning something!

A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.