Tuesday, November 03, 2015

sick and achy ("Winter is coming" edition)

I caught a cold on Sunday. I'm pretty sure I know the cause: a cold room. As usually happens this time of year, temperatures dropped precipitously in mid-October, such that when I got back to Korea from my trip to the States, my apartment was cold. It was a relief not to need the air conditioner any longer, but I didn't feel ready to turn on the ondol (floor heating) quite yet. In my apartment, the ondol is electric, not gas. Gas has proven to be shockingly cheap (I've paid no more than three dollars a month for gas thus far, despite cooking a fair amount over the past two months), but I'm still not sure about electricity. I had the A/C running from late August until recently, and that didn't affect my monthly bill, which is a combination of admin fees and electricity. My previous bill (a bill for September, which came in October), despite having the A/C on all day, every day, was about W189,000, which comes out a little under $160/month. That's all I pay for the apartment instead of rent. Will my bill be similar once I start using the ondol in earnest? Will it shoot up to the red zone? (For me, the red zone would be a bill that was over W220,000 a month, i.e., $200.)

So yeah: I tried to tough it out at first by not using the ondol. I slid under my blanket, but I guess the blanket wasn't thick enough to keep out the worst of the chill. A few frigid nights later, and my body decided to conk out on Sunday. Result: fever, stuffy/runny nose, cough, ticklish throat—classic symptoms. I'm steamrollering the symptoms into submission by overdosing on meds. It's working. Sort of. I was able to go out tonight and have a pleasant evening with Anterior Cruciate Ligament; we hit the same sandwich shop that Tom and I had gone to several months back: Rye Post in Itaewon. Tonight, I had my first-ever Cubano, and so did Ligament. We rated the sandwiches "Fantastic!" and ate our fill, along with another basket of those miraculous cheesesteak fries.

As for my other problem: I'm not sure what it is yet, but I'm wondering whether I've got a fallen arch in my right foot. Walking got painful several weeks ago, and the pain didn't subside until I stopped doing my "pomodoro" walks at work and my walks around the park at home. It's a damn shame, too: I had been gearing up to increase my daily step count to over 25,000 steps a day. I was even contemplating jogging for short distances in order to work my way up to a kilometer. Now, because walking is so painful, I'm contemplating doing that expatty thing and buying a bicycle. I've tried and tried to avoid buying a bike, but if I can't get cardio one way, then I have to get it another, or I'll just balloon up beyond all recognition.

And there we are: I've got a cold and my foot was killing me until recently. Because I've kept walking to a minimum for the past week or so, the pain has receded somewhat, but all it takes is a thousand steps (i.e., about ten minutes' walking) for the pain to start to come back. People are telling me I should see a doctor. I may do that. Online research seems to indicate that fallen arches deteriorate over time, with early treatment being largely noninvasive, and later treatment almost always requiring surgery. I'd rather avoid surgery.

Over and over, I've heard from people older than me that aches and pains are a part of the aging process. Things start to fall apart, and they don't put themselves back together. My knees are bad; I've got weird little skin problems on my arms and legs; my upper back often aches; and now I've got a problem with my right sole. (It's not plantar fasciitis, in case you're wondering: there's no pain at all at or near my heel.) "Things fall apart; the center will not hold," says one poem. Another, meanwhile, says, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light!"



Bratfink said...

Having had plantar fasciitis I knew that was not what YOU had. I hope you get whatever it is sorted soon! xoxox

[Old age is NOT for wimps!]

hahnak said...

guessing she doesnt stalk comments, but is ligament A Certain Lady or someone else entirely? was this a sudden name change or just something that while i have been away from your blog?

Kevin Kim said...


I think she reads my blog only occasionally—like you! I had written on the blog (here) about how the term "A Certain Lady" rendered the initials "ACL," which also happens to stand for Anterior Cruciate Ligament—the ligament in the knee that I'd injured during my 600-mile walk in 2008. So: "A Certain Lady" becomes "ACL" becomes "Ligament." Yes, indeed: same lady.