15 February 2006
Not too long ago I was asked in a job interview "How do you handle impossible situations?" I almost laughed hysterically but managed to come up with something believable like, "Oh, I get creative".
Impossible situations? How about every day of my life! I provide transportation and "translation" (now THAT'S a joke right there) for my in-laws on all their many medical appointments. It can get..uh..complicated.
For example, right now Halmoni is in the midst of getting her cataracts removed. This requires no less than 12 appointments. There is the initial consult, then for each eye the pre-op visit, the surgery, the one-day, one-week, and one-month follow up visits. Finally the vision check-up. There are multiple eye-drop instructions that are different for each eye and change on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. ("Use the white drops in the right eye on Tuesday but by all means don't put them in the left eye until Thursday, and be sure to use the yellow drops in BOTH eyes until next week at which time you discontinue it in the left eye only but be sure to RESUME it in the left eye on Wednesday" etc.) By the way, the second eye is operated on two weeks after the first one so for a while you are figuring out post-op AND pre-op instructions at the same time. It's confusing for ME! Imagine how it is for her getting everything in a foreign language. Furthermore, I understand precious little of what Halmoni and Halaboji say. Although, I have to hand it to Halaboji in that he is sharp as a tack and understands my "Korean" better than just about anybody.
Anyway, the eye-drop instructions are so complicated that I was making up some charts to clarify it in my own mind when I got the idea to make up daily charts in Korean for Halmoni. I wrote the day of the week on top of the page and then made RIGHT and LEFT eye columns. Then I drew tracings of the bottles and labeled them with Korean words such as "pink top", "white and blue bottle", and "yellowish liquid". (Yes, I made good use of my electronic Korean/English dictionary. The problem is, Korean, like English, has SEVERAL words for each meaning. I was sure hoping to get the right one.) Finally I wrote the number of times the drops should be applied beside the pics of the bottles. It wasn't so bad. I had to trace the bottles and label the columns only one time and then made photocopies onto which I added the day names and number of applications. I was so proud of myself. Until looking at the picture just now I see I misspelled the word "left". Ah well, the important thing is she can understand it.
Halaboji goes in for his cataracts next!
Yes, I got the job. The question is, do I have time for it?