Sunday, January 29, 2012

Twisted my Busankle

Well, that taught me a lesson. Hurrying up and down the twisting staircase of a lighthouse in Busan's Taejongdae coastal park like an impatient child, I put a foot wrong and treated my ankle to the novel experience of an angle it hadn't experienced before.

The pain wasn't too great at first, but bode its time throughout the afternoon to produce incrementally heightened levels of agony each time I stood up after a lengthy sit down in a bus or cafe. To borrow a familiar example from the literary canon, it was like those ghosts in the Sandopolis Zone, Act 2 of Sonic and Knuckles that grow larger and more menacing the longer you fail to deal with them. No?

I tried to play it cool and ignore the pain, but after a while I sounded exactly like Alan Partridge after he pierces his foot on a spike. ('Ooooh, it's a good paper.') We really don't have any reference points in common, do we?

By the time I reached BIFF Plaza (the Hollywood of South Korea), I was already forced into an extreme hobble. By the time I got back to my motel, I was genuinely worried about how I was going to get up the four flights of stairs, before deciding the best and only solution was to hop to it.

I then prepared myself to adjust to a life of temporary disability (but for how long?), which taught me a little of what it must be like to be genuinely disabled. And then realising how little this would actually affect me and my work-from-home job, comparatively speaking. Though I did 'have a fall,' like some kind of fragile old lady, when failing to gain enough height and power from my hop to negotiate the bathroom door ledge. It didn't seem that amusing at the time, with the stabbing pain in my ankle and the new sensation of a grazed elbow, but it's probably the funniest thing I'll ever do. I'm sorry you missed it.

I hadn't been to a hospital or any type of clinic for years, but as I set my alarm to wake up early and got directions to the nearest international clinic, where there was a better chance of understanding what exactly was happening to me, I felt I'd learned a few important lessons. Like why trying to save money by never taking out any type of insurance can prove to be a false economy in the long run (no matter how often I'm paid to write articles about why insurance is fantastic). And that I should stop being so careless when travelling to all corners of the Earth and learn to prepare for the inevitable.

...At least, that would have been the case if my ankle didn't completely heal overnight, to the point that (after a sensible day of rest) I could walk around and go upstairs without trouble and go to the toilet without collapsing into a wet pile. So I didn't need to go to the doctor after all. Which is a shame, as I could have gone two-for-one by asking him to take a look at my infected ankle wound in the exact same location, which will probably kill me. I'm seeing everything and learning nothing.



  1. I feel really evil for laughing at the thought of you hopping around and falling over. But I'm glad your ankle healed overnight and you didn't have to lament not having travel insurance for long.

    PS I never take out travel insurance. But then again the furthest I ever venture from home is Portugal. Does travel insurance cover hangovers from drinking far too much cheap port? No? Thought not.

    1. I witnessed a situation recently where someone faced the dilemma of flying back to the UK for free NHS treatment or paying for treatment in Korea, for some ankle wound or other. She chose to stay, and it cost her about £1,500.

      When I heard how the injury happened - she 'fell over' in a club - my sympathy similarly plummeted.