Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thought I'd Something More to Say

That last post was from the airport in Incheon. I'd just gotten the news about having to be on a plane on Sunday or being fired. I was very upset and very tired. Not too much has changed in that regard. I wish it didn't bother me at all, what my boss has threatened - and the fact that now I know what type of person he is - but it does. I'm thinking about it all the time. What I really wanted to hear from him and my co-worker is "Go. Don't worry about us. Everything here will be okay" - and it will be! I went on an almost four week vacation to Canada in the summer of 2008. If I could get away with that, I'm sure students and parents would understand my going home to be with my family at a time like this. I don't want to be fired. After SIX YEARS at the same place - this is the thanks,...don't they say losing ones job can be as stressful as losing a loved one? Something like that. I don't want the double whamification, but I seriously don't think I'm going to be able to make that flight next Sunday.

I saw my father today. It took me a good hour or two to work up the courage to go inside his hospital room. When I finally did, I found him looking small under his blanket. He's so yellow, the effects of jaundice, and swollen - perhaps from the medication he's on. His breathing is slow and deep and I waited in between breaths, hoping there would be another one coming. I actually asked if he was on a ventilator because it's that kind of measured breathing. He has stomach and liver cancer, which are both secondary cancers. They still haven't figured out the primary source of the disease. At this point, the medical staff are just trying to make him comfortable. He's in a lot of pain. We all are.

I walked in the room and to the side of his bed. He looked right at me without changing the serious expression on his face. "Dad! Hi!" I said, and there it was - a big smile. He turned his head away and even laughed before turning it straight ahead facing the ceiling once more. "Just a minute" he whispered in a hoarse voice, and so I waited. Nothing happened. He didn't wake enough again to join in conversation, and he didn't acknowledge me once more. He opened his eyes from time to time, but didn't seem to be paying any attention to what was going on around him. On the wall at the end of the bed is a corkboard with a big white-faced clock in the middle of it. The second-hand moves around in a circle ticking off time as it creeps by. I wished he had something better to look at. My brother suggested a poster that kitten gripping onto a tree branch with the caption "Hang in there, Baby." "Yah, like that." I agreed. The clock blurred through the tears that filled my eyes. That bloody clock, ticking off time - which just reminds me of how little more of it we have with my dad. Just last week the doctors were predicting it could be "days, weeks, perhaps months," but they've updated that list and and have struck the last two options off. Days. I really don't think he's going to make it through the week. I can't believe a week ago I was in Korea, completely oblivious, and this week my world has uprooted itself and turned over on it's head.

I'm walking around feeling like I'm a hundred years old. I'm slow and twisted up, partially from the 26 hours of traveling yesterday and moreso due to stress. I had to stop in the ER with my brother today who was close to having a panic attack. He threw up loudly and violently in one of the examining room sinks before the doctor came and prescribed him some atavan. Tomorrow morning I should meet my grandparents at the hospital who have said they want to see their son one more time. My uncle cried when he hugged me hello, and then asked me "how do you say "this is a big pile of shit" in Korean.

That sums it up nicely.

13 comments:

Kevin Kim said...

I'm so, so, so sorry.

Foreigner Joy said...

:(

Weve said...

Oh Jelly! I am so sorry. My thoughts are with you and your family.

The Maximum Leader said...

My thoughts are with you and your family.

Elisson said...

I hope it helps you to know that there are people you have never seen - and will probably never meet - who are wishing you and your family well.

Nomad said...

You and your family are in my prayers.

Anom said...

Been away from Korea for quite awhile, but knowing Korea as a Korean, I don’t think you need to be overly worried about the job, as you should be able to find one reasonably easily even if your new boss executes his threat because of your late return. Ulsan is a sizable city, so I would think there would be several English hagwons. I think English teachers from Western countries are in a better position to negotiate with their employers compared to a couple of years ago, as the Korean Won has depreciated substantially since then, meaning less dollars when converted, which probably resulted in less supply of native speakers in Korea without the decline in demand. My guess is that it is highly likely your boss is bluffing to make you come back early. I don’t think he can find a replacement teacher as easily as he thinks or suggests.

Dreamer said...

I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I hope your boss smartens up. What a painful time for you and to have to deal with that stress as well, it's just terrible. :( My thoughts are with you and your family!

Dave said...

I don't even know you, but I know you deserve better than what you got from your boss.

I wish you and your family well. I know what you are going through, although it was with a supporting boss in my case. I wish you could have that. This stuff is hard enough.

I'll never forget the last week of my Dad's life - sitting and sleeping by his bed for hours. Days, really.

The breathing! How many times did I hold my breath, thinking the last breath Dad took was his last... then another one would come.

What you say about the ticking clock kinda sums up how I look at life since that experience. Time can go so slowly, and yet it can also march on so mercilessly, waiting for no-one.

Once he did finally go there was comfort in knowing he was no longer suffering. Knowing that I had the privilege of being with him that week is a comfort to me.

Now I focus on remembering how vibrant and enthusiastic he was. The older I get, the more memories mean to me. I hold on to the good ones and celebrate his life and the good times we had together.

It gets easier. Hang in there, baby!

Charles Montgomery said...

Good luck, my thoughts follow all the others...

Maven said...

Still here, reading and caring and hoping for the best for you and your family. But mostly I am hoping for peace. XOXOXO

Joe in Korea said...

big pile of shit indeed.

You are in my thoughts during this rough time. As for your boss, fuck '
em. We all know what is really important in life, and what sort of priorities to keep.

Roboseyo said...

I'm with joe. Sticking with your family is a choice you'll never, ever regret.

Deep and sincere condolences.