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Oklahoma native returns home after becoming sick in South Korea

Well-wishers helped pay the medical bills after Sean Jones was diagnosed with encephalitis.
BY LAURA-CLAIRE CORSON Modified: September 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm •  Published: September 21, 2013

Jones' name and his family's efforts to get him home became well known in the South Korean expatriate community.

Road to recovery

Dodd and Sean's brother, Brandon Jones, spent time taking care of him in the hospital.

In South Korea, “family members are generally expected to provide hospital patients with much of the nonmedical care” such as bathing and feeding, according to the Korea4Expats website that provides information on work, life and leisure for those living in the country.

Brandon Jones arrived in May and stayed until Dodd could take over in July. She spent two months living in the hospital and tending to her son.

By early September, Dodd said, her son was physically improving despite some obstacles.

He still had bed sores and was trying to get his appetite back since he dropped more than half of his body weight in a matter of months.

Shortly before he left South Korea, Matsafu said, she could see improvement in his condition.

“He looked like he was on the way to recovery, slowly. It was cool to see that he still had his personality, and that was one of the greatest things to discover. Such a joyful and giving person, 100 percent oozing life.”

Now, with the family back in Oklahoma, Sean Jones has a long, yet hopeful, road ahead of him. Once he gets home, a nurse will visit daily to administer medication and change his bandages. He will also continue to visit the neurologist.

Dodd said the Korean doctors estimated a one-to-two year recovery, but she hasn't spoken with the Oklahoma doctors about a time frame. She said it's great to be back in Oklahoma.

“Within a few days, it was a world of difference,” Dodd said. “It's such a relief to be home. It took everybody to get us home.”

Laura-Claire Corson is an English teacher and freelance journalist who has been in South Korea for four years.