Hippocrates and Hoops

Seoul, South Korea. Spring 1997

Back in Seoul after 2 weeks at The Master's house. Our apartment was tight with all four of us there (JT's brother and new wife had returned by now). But it was only for a few days until I began substitute duties once again. I moved in just down the street to house sit and sub for a young couple who were headed to Kiwi land for a Visa jump and a honeymoon.

Teaching their classes was just more of the same; nothing spectacular to make mention of. Outside of classes, however, some notable things did happen during those 10 days.

1. I got sick. I shrivved alone in a stranger's apartment on the toilet. I had the vomits and the squirts. It was not good. I was pretty sure it was something I ate. One can never be certain but there was a sunny-side-up egg that made me nervous when I ate it. Later that day...down with the grippe. And I don't even like the flavor or consistency of a semi-cooked egg yolk in the first place. That's why I prefer the stone bowl 비빔밥 over the metal bowl variety.

Luckily, I was in Korea and a pharmacy is always as close as the nearest corner. So I heaved up on over there and presented myself in all my foul glory. I told the pharmacist I had vomiting and diarrhea. The pharmacist asked me if I ate something spicy. That's basic, first year med school learning there. But the answer can be tricky for the non-Korean. If I say I ate something spicy (because of course I had, being in Korean and all), they might treat that even though I knew that was not the problem; I've eaten stuff that would make a billy goat puke. Even if I tell the pharmacist that I eat spicy food well, they might still treat me for "foreigner with spicy food ingestionitis." And one doesn't like being a foreigner who eats spicy food well and is perceived as one who doesn't. Does one?

So I lied and said no I hadn't, but I normally eat spicy food well. Rather I think it was something rotten or uncooked that did me in. That's what I told the growing audience of pharmacists that was gathering to hear my tale of woe. That seemed to set all kinds of Hippocratic wheels in motion and before long I left with several paper packets, each filled with a variety of pills and something that looked like sawdust. Needles, I hate. Pills, I adore. So there you go.

That was one thing that happened.

2. I watched the Arizona Wildcats win the NCAA hoops championship on AFKN. That happened too.

3. JT and I met a referee from the KNBA. But that's a much longer story...

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