Well, we went back to see the doctor this afternoon. (That post from earlier today? It was from last week, but some blog maintenance issues prevented me from posting it till today. And yeah, the blog stuff is sorted out. See how nice and fast it loads? No? Er, well, Google sees. Google knows.)
The doctor was a lot better today, for whatever reason. He actually made eye contact with my wife, for one thing—it was minimal, but it did happen a couple of times for a moment or so. He barely looked in my direction, but he made an effort, however fumbling, to be reassuring about our son’s ears. We were surprised, though, that he didn’t bother to examine his nose or throat, since our pediatrician makes a point of always checking them, regardless of what the complaint is. Though the doctor did stare at his computer screen for most of the conversation, he did stop typing and listen, and spoke with something like normal affect.
I mean, it was still a somewhat weird encounter today, but at least we didn’t feel… baffled and vaguely awful about it, I guess? I still can’t help but wonder if the guy’s aware of how his demeanour looks from the outside, whether anyone’s clued him into how it appears to others. As I hinted in the comments at the end of the earlier post, one more than occasionally runs into individuals about whom your average person will say, “Oh, he just has trouble looking people in the eye,” as if that’s, you know, not indicative of some condition or anything.
(I don’t think people with the various conditions that lead to this behaviour should be shunned, of course; but the common eagerness to avoid recognizing a condition when symptoms like that present themselves probably doesn’t help either, does it? Of course, I’m assuming he’s unaware, while maybe he is aware, and just has off days managing it, like we all have off days handling our stuff. I don’t know.)
Anyway, I’ll also say that the trip to Daejeon itself was much better. We took a better train, which always helps. While someone in the Seo-Daejeon Train Station apparently isn’t doing their janitorial duties—the hallway by the elevators is also by the bathrooms, and that whole part of the building stinks to a gag-inducing degree of enough urine to manufacture all the gunpowder needed to blow Pyongyang sky-high—but all in all, we mostly encountered really nice people.
There was a cab driver who, despite being basically bringing to mind André the Giant—I was scared to ask him about his past, since I have a suspicion he was a special forces guy and probably has unpleasant memories—was a huge gentle teddy bear of a man who was very sweet to our son. There was a granny who chatted with our son in barely comprehensible dialect about how I’m “terrible” because I was making my son work a little to get his snacks from me. “You dad’s awful!” she said, and I moved the snack around in front of him, weaving and dodging it for a few seconds till I let him catch my hand. I was a bit surprised till I realized she was just teasing us.
A couple of people even held the door for us. I think it helps to have a stroller (which we didn’t bother with, last week, though we should have). Somehow it makes people see you as more vulnerable, and gets them to let down their guard a bit more, maybe? I don’t know. I can say I was shocked when that happened more than once today: holding a door open for a stranger just isn’t commonplace behaviour in South Korea.
Anyway, I still think maybe a second opinion wouldn’t hurt, but at least I’m not totally dubious about Herr Doktor now: our son’s ears, after all, are visibly better (via scope camera) than they were a week ago. But I remain baffled by that first encounter, I must admit.