Elwood 5566

'Red-Eye' – Conjuctivitis

Posted in Daegu, Health care by 노강호 on September 26, 2010

I can remember outbreaks of this infection in previous summers and it is often associated with bathhouses where water is unchlorinated.  However, it is also a problem in schools and universities. and is especially problematic in Daegu. If you get an itchy eye which subsequently turns pink or red, you may have one of the numerous forms of ‘red-eye.’ The link provides a list of symptoms for the various types ‘red-eye‘ and suggestions to help  prevent further contamination. For many students, a severe case of ‘red eye‘ is welcomed as it often results in an impromptu vacation – a real vacation where both school and hakkwon attendance is suspended. Currently, one of my students has been absent from school for two weeks.

I continued teaching as the 9 days of the worst part of my infection were around chu-sok (추석) and only involved two days teaching but I avoided any contact with students and their hands were sprayed with anti-bacterial spray on arriving and leaving the school and leaving my classroom.

Creative Commons License© Nick Elwood 2010 Creative Commons Licence.


Chu-Sok Cheesecake

Posted in Comparative, Diary notes, Health care by 노강호 on September 26, 2010

The second most important holiday – ch’u-soek (추석)

The Lurpax was back on the shelves in E-Mart and after spending exactly 9 days with a bad case of ‘red eye,’ otherwise known as conjunctivitis, I was in need of something comforting. My right eye flared up on Friday the 17th ruining my weekend and subsequently ruining the ch’u-soek holiday (추석, September 21st-23rd) as well as the following weekend. So, on the Saturday morning I had to go to my doctor who subsequently sent me to the ophthalmic hospital. Back home in Scumland UK, I’d probably have waited 4 days to see a doctor and procedures would have thrown my plans into the liquidizer. But in Daegu, there’s an eye hospital every few blocks and doctors and opticians in every block and I can easily accommodate visits to the clinic without any disruption to my plans.  The eye hospital is approximately 200 paces from my front door! Just as well as I’ve had to re-visit the clinic every third day. The infection seems to be dwindling but this morning, sat in the doctor’s chair with my head in some contraption, I felt like Alex DeLarge and though there was an absence of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, it is a strange coincidence that whilst in the waiting room, this is the music that has entertained me on my MP3 player (in fact the Liszt piano transcription). Once my head is in the constraining device, a lengthy telescope-cum-bazooka is aligned with my eye. All week he’s simply looked and prescribed medicine but today he starts poking my eye with what felt like a dental probe. Then, through eyes streaming with tears and blood, he shows me a cotton bud laced in this red gunk which is the infection membrane.  Then I had to have a shot in the backside.

Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) in Clockwork Orange

It was only to be expected that my infection, which suspends using the gym or bathhouse, would concur with a major holiday, chu-sok (추석), the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving, and I would imagine that by Monday, when normal work resumes, I will be mostly cured. There seems to be a ‘red-eye’ epidemic in Daegu and I have often seen it mentioned on the news. It seems especially prevalent in summer. At the clinic there were two families all of whom were infected and numerous other individuals with either one or two red eyes. I didn’t go out for several days but have since bought some dark glasses.

the ophthalmic clinic from my roof top (제일 안과)

So, after having my eyes attacked with a cotton bud, I went to the supermarket. The Lurpax talked to me, trying to convince me how delicious it would be on some toast and I would have bought it if  a cheesecake on   the nearby cake and bread stand hadn’t talked louder. I’ve eaten cheese cake only once in Korea and it was just like the traditional British cheese cake – the type with currents and full of mascarpone cheese. The cake is in a box and by Jupiter’s cock it  looked  very tasty!

real cheesecake, simple and unadulterated

It was pricey, 8000 Won (£4) but after a shit week and that cotton bud, plus I’d actually walked up the mountain before going to the eye-clinic, I felt I deserved it. I get home and make some fresh coffee and sit down to enjoy my belayed ch’u-soek treat and all the time the cheesecake is telling me how sexy it’s going to taste and how superbly creamy it’s going to be. And then comes the shock… where’s the fucking cheese? I cut the cake in half looking for it but the cheesecake seems to have lost half its namesake and comprises solely cake, extremely white, light cake! Nothing about it is cheesy and while it was probably a very delicious cake, it’s not a cheesecake and so, with a curse,  I chuck it straight in the bin.

Creative Commons License© Nick Elwood 2010 Creative Commons Licence.