Tuesday, April 06, 2010

In The Weeds

Life seems cartoonish.

I spent last week trying not to stew and stress, but I wasn't very successful. I didn't feel that bad overall, but nevertheless threw up Thursday night for no reason and then proceeded to throw up about fifty more times. Not, like, in rapid succession - but over the course of the next day and a half. Unlike the last time, I didn't wait around for half a day to see if I was going to get better on my own. I had gone to sleep after the first puke and woke up having to run to the washroom for the second. I barely made it. I recognized the wretched feeling - overwhelming nausea and muscle ache - which was the same as the last time, and I headed on into the ER. So, in less than two months I've been admitted twice. I was even in the same room on the sixth floor, albeit with different roommates this time around. They were still all in-my-face but I didn't care. For the first twelve hours or so I couldn't really speak. I slept, sort of, in between having to lean over the side of the bed to hurl. One of the worst things was how awfully thirsty I was. I knew I couldn't keep anything down, but that didn't stop me from greedily gulping a mug of wonderfully cold water that I should have been just rinsing my mouth out with in the ER. It was still cool when it came back up a few minutes later. On Friday evening, when I finally felt like I had enough ooomph to wobble down to the store a few hundred metres outside the hospital, I bought a small can of coke and a 500ml bottle of Pocari Sweat, which isn't sweat, but this ionized lightly carbonated beverage. Even though I knew what the outcome would be, I downed them both and just waited a few minutes before projectile vomiting them all over the pavement. It was worth it.

They unhooked me from the IV on Saturday morning, and I asked to go home that afternoon. They sent me down to the lab for a blood test and jabbed me in the arm with a hepatitis vaccination before agreeing to let me go. I had to ask to divide my bill in half as I didn't have enough money to pay it in full.

Between the couple trips to Japan and having to pay for Shingles/PHN medicine, my savings had been dwindling. Ponying up for the cost to go back to Canada and the money I spent while I was there has pretty much wiped me out. It's pathetic, and I'm not used to living paycheque to paycheque. I cut open the plastic gold pig I've been shoving coins in for about a year on Sunday evening and counted out ₩140,000 to give to the hospital Monday. I expect that my next paycheque (Friday) is going to be cut in half as well. My boss doesn't have to pay me for the time I was in Canada, but it would be a generous gesture. Then again, we're talking about the man who threatened to fire me if I didn't return from Canada after a week, so I'm not expecting any kindness from him. My first day back he gave me two envelopes: "condolence money" from him and the teachers. His was ₩100,000 and the teachers all put in a whopping 10,000 won each to total ₩60,000.

My boss tried to make good his threat about firing me, this time because of my having missed work on Friday. We had met last week to talk about my upcoming contract. He wanted me to sign on again for another year, and I stalled - telling him I needed to speak to my family before I made any decisions. Really, I have no intention of working there another year, but I was wrestling with the idea of being honest about that - and having to deal with whatever underhanded crap he might pull between finding out I was finishing and my actually finishing - or telling him that I intended to work for another year and then letting him know thirty days before my contract was finished that I had changed my mind. Revenge. Hopefully that would leave him scrambling to find a replacement. None of that matters now, as he attempted to axe me Monday evening. He likes me and the kids love me, he assured me - but my absences are causing problems and the parents have been complaining. Other than the two weeks I spent in Canada, I've missed two days this year, both times having been IN the hospital hooked up to a pole. He makes it sound like I've been taking time off to have a good 'ol party. "So," he told me through my translating thorn in my side bitch manager, "you will finish at the end of April."

"No, I won't." I argued. "My contract finishes in June. I'll finish then."
"He will pay you double salary at the end of April." the manager said.
"As well as severance pay?" I asked.
"Uhhh, no," she stammered. "It's a type of severance pay. Double sala-"
"No. I will finish in June."

I'm tempted to just get the hell out of here. I'm so tired of working at my school. I haven't written about it yet, but while I was in Canada the new teacher that just started a few weeks ago quit and they ended up hiring one of my former adult students. I was really pleased to hear that, as the new teacher was bonkers and I love my former student Anne. My adult class was halted a couple months ago when the students had dwindled down to just one. Anne had quit my class after Christmas because her mother-in-law was in the hospital with the same sort of brain tumor as Kevin's mom had. Anne's mom-in-law ended up passing away at the beginning of March. While I'm happy to see her everyday, Anne has told me she regrets having taken the job because "the atmosphere is not good." She ain't kidding about that. I cannot remember the last person that I loathed so thoroughly and completely before my manager, but I just absolutely hate her. Along with being the worst manager/co-worker I've ever had the misfortune to work with, she's a moody seemingly bi-polar miserable bitch with the worst listening skills that I have ever come across in a person. Today's exchange, two hours after I arrived to work and she still hadn't spoken to me was, "By the way, hello." from me, and "I'm okay, thanks." from her. I'm already stressed to a near breaking point - or at least to the point where I can't stop puking, and seeing her face every work day just makes me want to,...

I've been really hoping that no one gives me reason to snap and unleash the rage I feel hulking beneath my deceivingly calm exterior. I feel like I could just beat someone to a pulp.

Exhausted, broke, and stressed out I'm having to take it hour by hour and just hold it together well enough to get through a day. I just have to shake my head. Almost six years here at the same school and for what? Passed from boss to boss only to end up with this heartless little rat-bag of a director I feel like a grubby whore. Sorry to sound so ugly, but that's how I feel these days. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. My boss might try to re-fire me. I'm sure it doesn't go over very well with him (or his bitchy wife) that he tells me things are going to be one way and I insist that no, they're not. We shall see.

On a stupid note, though - one side effect of the sicknesses and the stresses has been that I've lost quite a bit of weight. The jeans I wore today didn't just slip down a little - they fell down to my ankles. Twice. Luckily the shirt I was wearing went down past my hips, providing me with enough underwear coverage. But, still. The vegetable-selling grannies out in front of my school had a good hearty laugh at pantsless me this afternoon. The second falling took place in an empty classroom, and I finally thought to use some string to tie my belt loops together, cinching the waist enough to stay up and let me use my hands for more than just holding my jeans up.

Now they're free to smack someone in the head.


Foreigner Joy said...

You need to see a Gastrointerologist. Why? Because I have been in your situation, except it wasn't puke and came out the other end.

You might have Crohn's or COlitis. When you are able to please see a specialist.

And good for you for sticking to what is right with your contract.

And I hope after June things turn around.

Diana E.S. said...

Get well soon! If you need a place to stay for a bit, we have a lovely fold down couch in Daegu.

Otherwise, good luck fighting your jerky boss. He sounds annoying.

Kevin Kim said...


(By which I mean the Jewish "oy," not the Japanese one. Or the British/Commonwealth one, either.)


Jennifer said...

I am truly sorry for what you are going through! :( You have so much that you need to deal with, and to have to put up with such coldness at work, it's terrible. I wish there was some way I could help you. :( Like Diana says, if you need a place to stay, we have a spare room with a bed in it. Just e-mail me if you need it. We're in Yangju, north of Seoul.

Stay strong. If it's your decision to stay in Korea, then you know you will find a better place, and a better school that will appreciate your loyalty more than this place has!

John said...

Ditto, you know I got room if you need it Jenn.