Going Home [Year in Taiwan, Ed. 10]

Things have moved rather quickly since publishing my last post.

My mom was in town for most of the rainy week, which ended up making it easier to decide with her that I indeed need to return to the U.S. sooner than later.

Upon doctor’s request, instead of waiting until the end of this semester in November, I will be departing Taipei next Monday for what I hope will be at most a two-week leave—any more than that, and I cannot even begin to fathom the logistics, let alone the reasons.

Within hours of landing, I will be receiving some tests and scans and then seeing my doctor in an effort to get to the bottom of my declining health. Best case scenario is that it’s all anxiety and I can return to Taiwan ASAP to continue my year-long fellowship, maybe with some meds or at least tips on how to manage my health here better.

This past week, the one minor improvement is that the frequency of headaches has seemed to decline, but my coughing has turned from dry to phlegmy. And since the phlegm is so deeply lodged, this new kind of cough is even more uncomfortable and seems to be affecting my chest.

There definitely have been moments since making the decision to go back earlier than planned where I question such a decision. These moments are when my body feels somewhat normal, when my head is clear, when I believe that I am healthy. But these moments are short-lived. I soon face the facts that I tire easily, my chest feels tight, my cough is getting worse, and I have even lost some weight.

Although changing the flight turned out to be less of a hassle than expected, having to inform both my fellowship and school only makes me wish I didn’t have to leave Taiwan. I hope that years down the line, I will be able to look back and laugh at how much misfortune I have come across this year.

By this time next week, I will be on my way home, slightly terrified and not quite sure what to prepare for, but also the most relieved I will have ever been since arriving in Taiwan, knowing that answers will be coming.