March 2006: Shortly before we found out I was pregnant with Liam, Matthew and I took a weekend trip to Seoul with some friends. Oh, how easy it was to just throw a few things in a bag and hop on a bus in those days. My friend Sara wanted to get her eyebrow pierced while we were in Itaewon and I decided to get mine done as well.
Sara and I, modeling our newly pierced eyebrows:
When we returned to Sokcho, all the Koreans we knew seemed very concerned about how much it must hurt. I tried to explain that it didn't hurt any more than getting one's ears pierced, but I don't think they were convinced. One student told me it looked, "very very very very very very sick." I was a bit offended at first, until I found out that in Korean, the word 아파 (a'pa) means both hurt and sick. She just chose the wrong translation...I think.
Which brings us to yesterday when I told various medical professionals 귀 아파요 (kwi a'payo, "[My] ear hurts"). The family practitioner I initially visited took a look at my ear and referred me to an E.N.T. (ear, nose, and throat specialist). Yes, my ear hurt, but that was just the beginning of the pain. My rather nasty middle ear infection is caused by my equally nasty sinus infection. The E.N.T., a Dr. Song, told me that ramming several long cotton swabs up each nostril is the most effective treatment. Apparently, it opens the clogged nasal passages and allows them to drain more freely. It also felt as if red-hot pokers had been rammed up my nostrils. My eyes watered. I couldn't see. I gasped. I whimpered. He left them in there and then wanted me to look at the x-ray type picture he'd taken of my face. Even though the pain faded to a dull ache, I couldn't see anything without my glasses, which I'd removed. After the little torture session was finished, his assistant helped me with a nasal rinse (cross between a neti pot and the rinsing spout that a dentist uses). He prescribed two days of medication and told me to come back, evidently for more of the same. It will apparently take 2-3 weeks for the infection to clear. (The good doctor's wife is a dentist, quite a sadistic pairing.)
And, finally, while I'm on the topic of "Hurt," I will leave you with this video. Although I loved the original Nine Inch Nails version as an angst-filled teenager, it never touched me quite as much as this cover by the late Johnny Cash. Now there was a man who could sing about pain.
Incidentally, the eyebrow ring only lasted three or four weeks. I liked the way it looked, but would forget about it every morning and hurt myself when I rubbed my eyes. Alas, I'm too low maintenance to be a hipster.
Learning Something New
6 months ago