April 29, 2015

I decided to eat some really awful food from Costco (okay, the food isn’t that bad but I DID eat two hot dogs like an idiot).

I took the subway home and felt fine. I was stuffed but I was satisfied. I get off my stop and I decided to walk home.

Why? Cognitive dissonance.

Instead of being smart and take a taxi home, I decided to walk 3km (1.8 miles) home.

I mean I had the money and taxis were available. But no, I wanted to be an “alpha male” and walk all the way.

The food in my stomach was working its way through my digestive system. I was getting exhausted a 1/4 of the way.

Still, I insisted I walk home. Taxis were not that far behind me. Cognitive dissonance said “Nah, Shaun. You got this! You didn’t work out this week so use this as your work out”.

Half-way home, I stopped at a local convenience store to pick up some water. I was extremely parched but felt like I had to go on regardless. The taxi stand was too far for me to walk back. I couldn’t speak enough Korean to call a taxi to pick me up so I was on my own.

I couldn’t enjoy the view that day because my brain, stomach, chest, and legs were in intense pain. I kept going. Up hills, around dangerous street corners, and through areas with heavy vegetation and pollen.

6:30 pm. I finally made it home. I legit collapsed on my bed and didn’t wake up until 10 pm.

Went back to sleep at 10:30 but not before feeling chills in my arms and legs.

Why am I cold? I thought. It’s the middle of spring and I have two covers. I should be sweating like a mofo.

2:45 am comes around and I wake up again. Still shivering and still miserable. I tried to go to the bathroom but couldn’t let anything out. Number two wasn’t working out.

5:45 am. I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. I’m shivering and i’m up working on a video editing project for a client. I manage to get SOME stuff done but couldn’t muster up the energy to do any more.

8 am. I wake up once again and get ready to work a mandatory Saturday shift. I’m shivering and I can’t figure out why. “Maybe you have the flu” said a co-worker. Maybe I do.

Lunch time, I sleep, wake up and take an asprin. I feel a little better.

I go through my day but i’m still weak. My body is in intense pain the entire day.

Sunday it’s the same thing. I work overtime on overtime, saying by to the kids.

My body is in intense pain and I can hardly move. I still walk cause I need to eat and get some energy.


I request a sick day and finally go to the clinic. Thank God the doctor there can speak English.

We do x-ray and blood tests.

10 minutes later, the doctor says “Shaun, you have pneumonia.”

I was strangely calm when I got word of that. “Huh” is all I said.

The doctor says my blood is okay and my organs are functioning properly but my right luck is screwed; i’m literally breathing out of one lung.

I get a prescription and told to come back two days later if nothing has changed. Naturally, nothing changed.

I forgot to mention, this is a busy time at work. Everyone is preparing for Children’s Day, a very important holiday in Korea, and i’m not there.

Tuesday. Hell begins. I get hiccups.

Wednesday. I go back to the clinic and the previous meds haven’t cleared my sickness. Off to the hospital.

Thank God for my friend telling me that there’s a hospital that caters to foreigners cause I probably wouldn’t have made it far without them.

The doctor tells me I have a normal case of pneumonia. He prescribes me with some stronger meds for the pneumonia and constipation.

Hiccups still haven’t left.

Thursday. It’s Children’s Day and we have a lot of visitors walking around the campus. My co-workers are working while i’m stuck at home. I was able to leave the house to pick up something to eat and HOPEFULLY pick up the rest of my meds.

The lady wasn’t there. She told me to come on a holiday and she wasn’t there.

Thankfully, this day wasn’t so bad. A good friend from Busan was in Seoul and decided to pay me a visit. We spent the entire night catching up and her company was greatly appreciated.

Hiccpus still haven’t left.


Hiccups comes and goes. I take my meds and i’m feeling somewhat better.


These hiccups have driven me to the point of insanity.


Every seven seconds, I hiccups.


I hold my breath.


I drink lemon juice.


I eat much slower.


I try to breath better.


I go to the bathroom more.


I throw up.

They stop.

I’m free!

*one hour later…hic*



My body is no longer aching but the hiccups are still there. If this is what hell feels like, I made sure to call out to God to get me out of it.

What did I do to deserve this? I asked myself.

The hiccups never stopped.


Pretty much the same as Saturday. The only thing I did differently was learn how to juice vegetables and look for home remedies on my hiccups. “Celery” “Apple cider vinegar” Ooh, I know! How about I eat jajangmyeong (like an idiot)?!

Not even 30 minutes later….


That….actually did the trick. I mean it has before but not at this hour. I better go to sleep so I can enjoy my rest before tomorrow.


They’re gone. The hiccups are GONE! And I can (somewhat) breathe again! But wait, WHY did I have hiccups in the FIRST place? Was it the medicine? Was it the fact that the mucus in my digestive system not operating? Was it because I had only one lung to live on? Who knows, who cares. It’s GONE!

[Hours pass]

Still no hiccups. This is a good sign. God has shown mercy on me.


I go to the doctor’s office to get another X-ray. Good news Mr. Webb. Your virus is almost gone! It’s about 90% gone! Just continue to take your meds and by next Monday, you should be good to go!

I celebrated the best way I could: by picking up apples and eating them for the next couple of days. They were some of the sweetest tasting apples i’ve had since being in Korea. This is a major benefit to living in the countryside. Fresh produce. Though my pocketbook might have something to say about that…

TL;DR: I almost died due to pneumonia and the Korean health care system saved my life. The five clinic and hospital visits ($90 total) and meds ($20) kept me from being eighty-sixed and I am thankful to those that helped me out. My job was cool with me taking the time off. A special friend came over and helped me out (she knows who she is). The nurses and doctors did all they could to make sure I was healthy.

I appreciate each and every person that made sure I didn’t die last week. I NEVER want to go through anything like that again.

Please take care of yourselves out there. Also, make sure to NEVER do any sort of exercise on a full stomach. It’s common sense but sometimes cognitive dissonance can get in the way of it.

Take care! Peace and love!