Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Recovery Process Begins

For as high as my spirits were on Monday, I woke Tuesday with a heart and head full of ""  Waking up stiff from head to toe with new aches and pains as I rose from bed set the tone for the day, but I tried to beat it. I was up early so gave it some time before texting Sam to see if we'd be able to go get my bandages changed. He responded that we'd first meet the insurance man at my place around 11 and could go take care of my face after. Like I said before, my mind was anywhere but on the legalities of the accident, but I'd soon have to deal with that too, once again so glad I had Sam.

The two of them were at my door shortly after 11 and after they talked for a while Sam explained "my choices".  Apparently the police were arguing that the accident was in fact my fault, actually this blog post does a good job of describing the details involved with bikes in Korea. The officer said there was no bicycle lane on the sidewalk so I should have been riding on the road, although the sidewalk was divided half red/half white, which in my understanding represents a bicycle lane, but I digress. Thankfully, like I said before, the man that hit me was not an asshole, took responsibility for the incident and was willing to pay for the damages.  Sam explained because of the laws the payout may be less (me taking partial fault) and that I had two choices: 1. A lump sum payment up front or 2. Submission of all medical costs to his insurance with possible additional payments after.  I've still yet to make the decision on this, but either way I feel like things will be okay.  I had a few moments of "what the hell" thoughts as we sat and discussed, but as the meeting came to a close I was feeling better.

Sam then took me to Andong, Seong-so hospital so I could have my wound cleaned and bandages changed. This was another headache as I was told (by the guy that stitched me up) I should go to any plastic surgery hospital in the city (there's more than you'd think), but after Sam called a few, the hospital was the only place that would see me.  Obviously there's no money is sparing a few minutes to change a bandage, so the plastic surgeons weren't interested. Thankfully the staff and doctor at Seog-so were delightful and the wait wasn't unbearable, but there was one down side. The doctor (only one) would be on vacation from Wednesday until the following Monday, not terrible but it meant I'd get to hang out with my stitches for a few extra days. I was told to return Friday for another cleaning and change (by a fill-in doctor) and again Monday morning to have the stitches removed and "Instructions on how to treat the wound so there is no scar" words I liked hearing, especially from a doctor with flawless English.

As we left Sam told me the doctor said I could return to work anytime, but we both agreed I should take the day to rest, I needed it to. Physically I was doing okay, but the mental shock of everything was starting to burrow in and my mood matched the skies, rainy and gloomy. I managed to push myself to study Korean for a few hours, but the rest of the day is a blur.  Eventually I was in bed, already considering returning to work the next day, much to the dismay of friends and family.  When I woke on Wednesday my sentiment towards work hadn't changed, so I began preparing myself for the day ahead. The first step of which was buying some face masks to hide behind for the next few days.  My face wasn't too messed up, but I didn't need to give people more reasons to stare, and thankfully face masks are in full fashion over here. Although my boyfriend and a few others told me to stay home as long as I could, I had more than one reason for going in.  To begin with sitting at home alone did little for my mood, left with my thoughts "If's, but's and what's next" I was sick of that company, at least teaching would distract me.  On top of this I had a sense of guilt, I knew the week was busy for everyone else, so my absence was doing little to help them. Finally though was the knowledge that I had over 100 students wondering about me, was I okay, when would I be back, how was I doing?  Although I'd be like a monkey on display, I knew that returning to their questions and concern would be yet another distractor and mood booster.

Feeling not so terrible with my new look, I ventured to school, with a stop for one last mood booster, in taro bubble tea form. Before I even got my shoes off I met Lisa, one of my youngest students who may have been in shock to see me and immediately asked if I was okay, before running to inform the others. The rest of the girls trickled over as I walked in, asking how I was and what happened, it was sweet.  Sam came out of his office and asked how I was, before springing on me the headaches he'd been dealing with since the previous afternoon.  Apparently he'd been on and off the phone with the police arguing about the details of the case, who's fault it was, who'd be paying and what the final outcome would be.  The police argued that I should have been on the road and/or stopped my bike and walked at the crosswalk, therefore everything was my fault and I should actually be paying for the scratches to the drivers car.  Sam was a champ, arguing on my behalf and threatening to call his lawyers so we could discuss everything in court.  It also appeared that the police did a poor job of investigation, no CCTV, no black box, and little information from the scene. This was evident to me as I recall the sidewalk was divided and also it wasn't technically a crosswalk, so did I really have to stop and walk? Whatever, the point is Sam had my back, the man that hit me wasn't an asshole and things should work out smoothly.

The first day back wasn't so bad, Wednesdays are my short days after all, and thank goodness for that. I finished at 8, came home and soon after eating was in bed, sound asleep before 10:30.  Thursday was pretty similar, although I had less drive to get ready and head into work, one day was enough for the week, wasn't it?  After my early bedtime I was up with the sun, did some yoga (yeah, I managed to get back on the mat 3 days after the accident - despite a few aches) and was again able to fall asleep for a few hours.  Sam had more news for me when I arrived at work that afternoon, more issues with the cops who apparently just didn't want to let it go, but finally realized their "we just have to explain the laws" were falling on deaf ears and gave up.  To my knowledge they've since closed the case and so now it's only between us and insurance, which I don't foresee being an issue (fingers crossed).  Work was more of the same, class after class, one curious student after the next, quickly falling back into the old routine.  One of the more annoying aspects of this whole ordeal was the replay that went on in my head, usually as I closed my eyes to go to sleep.  I don't remember every detail of the accident, but the initial impact would come flashing back to memory almost every time I tried to fall asleep.  Sometimes it was the same series of events, but after talking to Sam about all the details I had a few alternate scenarios play out in my mind. The most disturbing of which is when I considered that I had been riding in the street, as the police suggested I should have been.  What then, wouldn't the man have still hit me, and then what, I get knocked into oncoming traffic? This coupled with my multiple dreams of teeth falling out did no benefit to my sleeping habits for the week, but at least with those I could wake up with a flood of relief.

Friday was more of the same, but also held an air of its own excitement seeing as it was time for another hospital visit. I was scheduled to return to Seong-so for another wound check, cleaning and bandage change, but this time alone.  I decided to walk there as it wasn't so far, I had time and also hadn't really been out and about for a few days.  I arrived early, but quickly realized I'd be waiting for a while and joined the queue of other patients. Having started work again from Wednesday I was supposed to have class at 3:15, but that clearly wasn't happening. I texted both Sam and Tim to let them know I'd be late, but hoped things would move along quickly. When I eventually saw the doctor at about 3:30 the visit lasted less than five minutes, just enough time for him to change the bandage, clean the wound, tell me things looked good and return on Monday.  I left with the note for my next visit and some rapid fire Korean spewing from the nurses mouth, most of which fell on deaf ears but I gathered to be "Come back on Monday between 9:30 and 10:00 to see the doctor, don't get your face wet and go check-out at reception before you leave."

With the removal of the big bandage from my check and confirmation that my face wasn't totally destroyed, I was feeling a bit better.  Back at school students were once again concerned, seeing as I was late for the first class, and I had a new slew of kids to tell all my stories too.  This week was also one of the first that we had a 'normal' schedule after nearly a month of students not attending due to English camps, class field trips and mid-term exams.  Although it was my first full Friday in a long time the hours passed by rather quickly, but that didn't mean I wasn't tired when 10:20 came around.  The weekend has been mellow, two days of actually sleeping in (after a few random hours awake at 6am) yoga, movies, writing, blogging and maybe some Korean studying this afternoon, but I've enjoyed it.  Tomorrow morning I'll visit Seong-so hospital one last time, bringing me one step closer to recovery.  I'm getting the stitches out and will be provided with instructions on "How to treat the wound so it doesn't scar" both of which I hope will be a success.  After that my tooth is the only remaining issue, which having dealt with similar situations before (in both the USA and Australia) I'm not too worried. Although I do have some hesitation as I've heard more than one horror story when it comes to dentistry in this country, why I don't know.  I decided to count my bruises yesterday and came up with a grand total of 18, legs, arms, hand, face and chest included. Like one of my co-workers said though, not a bad outcome considering what happened, and I agree it could have been broken bones I was counting, or worse. 

1 comment:

  1. Pretty good ending to what started out as a scarry story. Thank God you had no injuries I hope this means you will always be wearing a helmet going foward; whether on a bike, moped or motorbike? I am forever great full you didn't have a head injury❤