I have been humming and ha-ing over this week’s blog and whether or not I wanted to share with the world everything that has happened. Backwards and forwards, my thoughts have gone, do I? Don’t I? Should I focus on something else, there’s been a lot you know! But at the end of the day, I think this may just help someone else out there and prevent them from going through the nightmare I went through on Monday.
Where to start? I guess the beginning is a good place. So for those of you who aren’t familiar with my blog, I have been on a fitness/weight loss quest for approximately 80 Days. Last year, I returned from Australia to Colorado and pretty much stopped exercising for a time as I had house renovations to finish, a house to sell (then rent out when we couldn’t sell it in time), furniture to divide as we were moving to South Korea and could only take half our stuff if that, three kids to take care of, a husband who had to go away for a lot of the time, and the regular activities of life. Exercise sat on the back burner. Before long, it was the holiday season and our time to say goodbye. Event after event meant lots of eating and drinking were in the works, it didn’t help that it was winter and one could stay bundled up and cover all those spots that weren’t looking so great. Unfortunately once you hit the big 4 0, things slow down also, so you must stay on top if you wish to stay in shape.
We went on a cruise in early January looking for some sun before we moved, unfortunately, even that was sparse. South Korea was literally my worst winter nightmare when we arrived with the temperature in Seoul sitting at a balmy -28 to -32 Celsius for the 3 days we were there. We literally went outside in layer upon layer but the damp air combined with wind chill left us all miserable. Our poor puppy didn’t get much playtime outside in those 3 days. Again, exercise didn’t really happen. In fact, it didn’t really happen until our furniture arrived in late February when we finally got our treadmill.
On March 7, I decided to write a blog about all of my adventures here in South Korea. I seriously have this sign on my head that says ‘if you are a weirdo, please approach’. There is another one somewhere else that says: ‘If you are looking for the most ridiculous, unimaginable situation to happen, then come stand by me and we can go through it together!’ It’s crazy, but true! My husband is always saying, “You should write a book!” I thought I’d start with a blog. Please feel free to go back and read the journey from the beginning.
Anyway, I started exercising using BeachBody programs and here I am 80 Days later and the results are not yet what I would have expected but I’ve not really dieted or anything either. So, a few weeks ago, my neighbour took me to this dermatologist office where she is getting ‘fat’ shots. I researched what these shots were and they are actually Lypolysis shots. The experts are still undecided on benefit versus risk factor for these shots but they seemed for the most part, fairly good. I met one lady here who has been on them for 18 months and swears by them. She has lost over 60lbs doing nothing but these shots. Given the fact that I wasn’t really seeing any results at that time from working out daily, I thought I’d give them a try and share the story with my readers. What could it hurt? The number of women (both Korean and American) in that clinic, was amazing! Obviously, lots of people are doing this here. Here’s what I didn’t mention in the blog; they also give you a prescription and you pop over to the Korean pharmacist next door and get it filled. I tried to find out what this tablet was in every possible way I could. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out anything. All I knew was that it suppressed your appetite. Well, I was at my wits end by this point and thought, “why am I not losing any weight, perhaps I need something like this to kickstart everything.” So, after asking others about the effects on them, I decided to try it.
Last Monday, I awoke in the morning feeling like rubbish. We have all had this horrible thing from the yellow dust coming in from China. It is literally like a cold, cough, chest thing, with a runny nose that never goes away. Ally, our daughter, is suffering the most, followed by myself. I have even had to use my asthma puffer (I have a very mild form of asthma called exercise induced asthma and haven’t had to use ventolin for a very long time) on a daily basis. The exercising has been tough for me because I just seem to cough throughout it and have limited energy all the time and then end up having to take my inhaler because I can’t breathe. I don’t feel I am getting fitter at all, even though I am following the Insanity program very rigidly.
I got everyone off in the morning except dear son, who had had a high fever since Saturday night. I had 2 coffees in the am and pottered around basically procrastinating because I didn’t feel I had the energy to work out. It was then I thought about the prescription and how everyone had said that it not only suppresses your appetite but it also gives you energy, so I took it. About 20 minutes later, my mouth started getting really dry. Like crazy dry. I drank a liter of water without even realizing I had done so. Then I started feeling energetic. I refilled my water bottle and went to begin Monday’s regimen, which was a fit test followed by the start to Level II of Insanity. Basically a 1.5 hour workout. I stopped and refilled my water bottle numerous times, I also had to stop and use my inhaler twice because I just couldn’t breathe, eventually I finished the workout. I came downstairs and dear son was engrossed in a movie and I started feeling really light headed. I was so sweaty and yucky that I literally thought that before I sit down, I’ll take my workout gear off and just put a loose Tshirt on so I can cool down then go have a shower (this seemingly unimportant tidbit will become relevant in the story later). “Crap, I forgot to eat!” Is what I said to myself. So I went and got Hunter and I some lasagne. On the way back from the kitchen, I almost fell over. I just couldn’t catch my breathe. It was all very, very strange. I could feel my heart pumping like crazy and yet I was dizzy and exhausted and finding it hard to breathe all at the same time. I kept thinking that I just needed to eat something as my body was feeling hypoglycemic after that crazy workout. I forced myself to eat some lasagne then lay back on the couch waiting for the food to hit me. It didn’t get better. I closed my eyes and kept calm, but I just wasn’t feeling good at all. My phone rang right then and I couldn’t even answer it, it was my husband. I sent him a couple of messages back:
I closed my eyes and the phone rang again and even though it was in my hand, my hands didn’t seem to want to work. I saw it was my realtor and I knew she had our upstairs dehumidifier to deliver but I just couldn’t talk or do very much at that point in time. Obviously, she was in the neighbourhood as next thing I know she’s knocking on the door. Hunter went to the window and looked out so she knew I was home, but I just really didn’t want to deal with her at that point in time. Eventually, I crawled to the door, because she kept calling out to me and I let her in. Then she saw me and started panicking. She then started trying to call my husband, yet he had gone into a meeting and not even taken his work phone in with him, his work phone he’s supposed to have on him at all times! Judy started really panicking then and asking who else she could call. My mouth then stopped working and it was getting very difficult to speak at all but I kept calm because Hunter was looking at me the entire time wondering what was going on. I could see my neighbour’s car wasn’t there anymore (the one I went to the dermatologist with) so I told Judy to call another friend as I knew she was home, we were supposed to do something together that afternoon, that was until Hunter got sick. It was all a bit of a calamity from there on. My friend got here and immediately called an ambulance, but they wouldn’t come off post and wanted to transfer her to the Korean ambulance, but she didn’t want that. She later told me she then called her husband who told her to drive me to the clinic here as they had ambulances here waiting and would take me to the Osan ER. Hahaha. Sorry. You’ll understand shortly. I kept trying to tell them that I only had a long Tshirt on, so my girlfriend grabbed me a pair of pants (pajama pants mind you but didn’t think to grab me a bra).
We arrive at the clinic and I vaguely remember us entering through the back door, where the people in there just stood around for a time, not really knowing what to do. My friend told them about the Lipolysis shots but she didn’t know I had taken this medication earlier. They put me on a pulse oximeter (you know that little bandaid type thing that wraps around your finger and measures the amount of oxygen in your blood as well as your heart rate) and I guess my heart was in arrhythmia (which is where your heart beat is abnormal) and in my case, in tachycardia (meaning it was very high, at one point sitting at 150 or something). I sat there in this extremely awkward position because they couldn’t get the bed to lie down, very aware that I wasn’t wearing a bra and mortified that no one would put a sheet or something over me. There was a lot of talking and some of it I heard, some I didn’t. I remember looking up at one point and there was my husband. Obviously, my friend had gotten hold of him somehow. As it turned out, she had called her husband and he had gone to my hubby’s office and literally told them it was an emergency and he had to come immediately as his wife was in hospital. Talk about drama-filled!! Talk about embarrassed! That’s me right now!
Anyway, back to the story, OMG, it’s not even beginning to get interesting just yet! When they said my heart was in tachycardia I spoke up about the prescription from the Korean dermatologist and I tell you what, that Doctor immediately judged me. In his mind, I was the biggest idiot he’d ever met. Had I not been so sick, I would have said something, but to be honest, I didn’t care at the time. He immediately started lecturing about losing so much weight and I tried to tell him that I’d only lost 5 pounds and that was in most part, due to exercise, but my words were a bit slurred and I knew he didn’t really care what I had to say at that point, he was judge and jury and I was guilty of something. Well, it just got worse from there. Hubby had to go and collect the children and they told him I would be transported by ambulance to Dan Kook hospital. We just had to wait for a Korean ambulance. My friend would go with me in the ambulance and he would meet us there. Eventually, three Korean medics came in and stood around talking over me. They were arguing back and forth with the Korean/American nurse about something. Eventually I learned they wanted to take me to Good Morning hospital, but I guess that hospital is now off limits. After what seemed like an eternity to me, they left. I was told later by my girlfriend that there were three ambulances waiting right outside of where we were, yet for some reason they called this Korean ambulance (who then left) and ended up taking me in one of the ambulances that was waiting right outside upon our arrival there. It was the worst trip ever. I am talking the barest of bones ambulance one could ever see. I am not au fait with too many of them but surely they at least have shock absorbers, because this one definitely didn’t! Every hump, pothole, slightest anything, speed bump, you name it, I felt it. I did pass out for a little while and when I came to, I saw it was the American/Korean nurse sitting there beside me in the back of this god awful machine. He kept saying, “Stay with me!” And I kept thinking do I really have to, it was much better when I passed out because I couldn’t feel the pain of this god awful ride! Yes, even in our worst times, there is humour!
After what seemed like a ride to hell (& in fact was) we finally got to this hospital that the American Doctor on base had been pushing. I don’t remember much about arriving there, just a lot of Koreans doing a lot more talking. I do remember my friend trying to say about my heartbeat and them being concerned it was asthma. Then the American/Korean nurse left and we were all alone. This is where it gets kind of gross, so don’t read on if you’re going to be offended by my over sharing, but this part is really for foreigners in South Korea particularly in this region. You do not want to go to this hospital. Ever. Period. Death’s door or not. Never.
They put me in a room and started asking if I was pregnant and wanting me to pee. I kept assuring them I wasn’t. There was no chance, they didn’t believe me. It was ridiculous. Eventually I said that I had to go anyway as they had now pumped a whole heap of fluids into me also, but that I couldn’t get up, so they brought a bed pan in and this female nurse came in and put the bed pan under me and stood there pressing my belly trying to get me to go. To say that I was mortified, couldn’t clearly put across what I was feeling. My bladder obviously retracted into somewhere because there was no way I could go with her doing that. She eventually left when I told her no, never to be seen again. I eventually went and no one came along to take the bed pan. Can you believe it? Disgusting. I started coming to my senses then and looked around at the nightmare surrounding me. There was dried blood all over the curtain. Everything was dirty. My husband eventually moved the bed pan to the floor and put it just outside of our curtain but no one came and took it during the entire time we were there. The floor was filthy. I moved so my kids could sit on the bed as I didn’t want them touching anything anywhere. This man came in to take my blood (no one was in the room with me mind you at that point) and grabbed my wrist whilst I wasn’t looking and started to jab a needle in it (on the inside of it). He missed and the excruciating pain shot through me like a cannonball. I have been jabbed many times but none of them quite so painful as that! I literally screamed. He stopped.
Hubby came back and I was in the middle of telling him about it when this same guy came back to do the other side. “No way!” He said he had to. I didn’t realize he had actually missed on my right side until he had done the left side and there was very little pain. Then I looked at him and saw he wasn’t wearing any gloves! Seriously. In the mean time, the husband looked at the pulse oximeter to see what was going on and why it sounded weird and realized it had never even been plugged in. Here we were at this hospital because my heart had gone into tachycardia yet no one was even monitoring my heart. Then someone came in and handed me a mask and told me to put it on. I did. But I said to hubby it was weird as it was making me feel sick yet I couldn’t feel anything coming out of it. He pulled the cord and low and behold it wasn’t plugged in to anything either. I kid you not. He called for a nurse and one came in and told him, “No, she has CO2. She needs CO2. For the hyperventilation.”
“What are you talking about?” Was my reply. But she left. No answers, no anything. I thought ok, maybe they know something I don’t, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, so I put that mask on hoping it would alleviate my hand spasms and tingling. Honestly, after about 15 minutes, the tingling was still there yet I now was feeling extremely nauseous. These people are definitely incompetent was the conclusion both hubby and I came to. In the mean time, my friend’s husband came and picked her up and I owe them both a debt of gratitude. I finally looked at my husband and said, “I just want to go home.” I started crying and was just done with this nightmare. Finally someone else came in and said “ok, I just want you to sleep for a while so we can monitor you, then maybe you can go home.” Monitor me with what? Was my first thought. Different so called medical personnel have come in here 4 times and accomplished nothing each and every time. You don’t even know that thing on my finger is not plugged into the oximeter machine! Rather than blurt all this out, I told her I was feeling much better and I wanted to go home. She said, “Oh, ok, if you’re ok, then you can go.” So we did. I leant on Ally to get to the car. I was feeling like death warmed up but there was no way in hell I was going back into that place, ever.
We drove home and all I wanted to do was get clean but I just didn’t have the energy. I literally lay in bed until the next morning. Hubby had a thing to go to four hours away but wasn’t sure he should go, I told him I was fine and that all would be ok. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending upon how one looks at it, both Hunter and Maddy were sick on the Tuesday, so we all stayed home and literally didn’t move. They sat on the couch sleeping and intermittently watching Netflix. I laid in bed sleeping and intermittently watching Netflix. I made sure everyone had lots of water and Gatorade and crackers and light snacks except me as the husband kept telling me to eat. I ate lasagne.
As I write this, it is Thursday. I am taking it easy for now. Working out now takes about 10 minutes longer as I stop often to ensure my heartbeat doesn’t get too high, but I have a follow up appointment next week so here’s hoping we can get to the bottom of this. And no, I’m not going to stop working out. I’ve come too far. But I will be responsible about it.
I just know my Mum is going to freak out when she reads this, but I couldn’t tell her about it when we spoke yesterday. It had to be emotionless. Funny how Mum’s always worry, no matter how old we get.
Hopefully we can all take away something positive from this. For me, I’ll not be taking prescription anything when I don’t know what it is. I think the Lypolysis shots themselves were ok, though, who knows, but I think a combination of things transpired last Monday resulting in one of my worst nightmares. We as women set such high expectations on ourselves. I know that I’m still going to want to exercise and try to get my body into the shape it should be, but I also know that not all shortcuts are worthwhile.
2 thoughts on “The Full Korean Experience – not necessarily the experience I wanted”
I am certainly not impressed with that story. Don’t take those pills ever again. You are not overweight and don’t need crap that you know nothing about. Your husband and children need you. Love you. Don’t do it again ok.
And now a lecture from my mother. See, you’re never too old to be put in your place!