17.11.04

Sick In Korea

There are things that someone really needs to tell you before you go into a foreign country. Like how the medical system works.

When we got our job, we were given the choice of getting medical insurance or not. We immediately, and fortunately, said yes. Everyone told us this was a good idea. Its actually very normal for teachers to get quite sick in their first month or two here. Combine the fact that you are getting exposed to all the new strains of viruses that you don't have at home with the fact that you are working with the primary spreader's of viruses, and you pretty much gaurantee you are going to get a cold/flu/stomach problem/etc. at least once. Kristina and I have been no exception.

So far I have been sick twice; the flu, a few weeks ago, and a cold that I am almost completely recovered from. Nothing to write home about, nothing I went to the doctor for.

Actually, come to think of it, I did write home about it. And this is the first thing you should know about the Korean medical system. Western medicine is fairly new here, so you can't even get NeoCitrin without a prescription... my mom sent me neocitrin, and contac c, and the like. But, my issues were not that bad.

Kristina, on the other hand, got a fairly serious sinus infection. She got it last thursday, and by monday hadn't improved at all, so we went to the doctor. Naturally, shortly before we went to the doctors, we found out something very important. It is regular practice in Korea for a doctor to give you steroid shots to help you get over a cold. I guess it works... nonetheless, it was quite a blow to my confidence to hear this. The plus side is that almost all doctors learn medicine in English, so your chances are excellent that you can communicate with your doctor.

"Hello doctor, how are you?"
"LSJ;lKJFd;ljafd;l" (ok, so they can't do day to day conversation)
"I have an earache, stomachache, headache, and sinus problems"
doctor: "ahh, well I will prescribe you antibiotics, let me look in your ear, and you can come back in two days to see me."


Which leads to the next important fact. Doctors here don't give out more than 2 days worth of medication, except under duress.

After taking Kristina to the doctor, we went to the pharmacy downstairs.
SIDENOTE: They are smart enough to keep everything in teh same building here. The whole building is labs and clinics. Where we went was a laser clinic, ultrasound clinic, and foreigners clinic (and this was just one floor, and one office set, of a building at least 10 stories tall). We left with hairless legs, a new picture of our unborn baby, and a long sheet of prescription paper trailing behind us.

At the pharmacy the pharmacist laughed at us because she could not speak english...? and we left with more pills than anyone under 80 should be taking in two days. Apparently, they don't prescribe just antibiotics. They give you everything... we recognized one pill, it was a tylenol (3 a day). The other 15 pills for the day... well your guess is as good as mine. We just hope they are not habit forming.

By the time we go to our third doctors apointment, all within 7 days, Kristina will have taken about 90 pills.

She is feeling better, so I shouldn't complain to much.

5 comments:

PakG1 said...

Hopefully you won't get any addictions? :) Wear a spacesuit all day. And suck food in through a tube. That always works.

PakG1 said...

Oh yeah, and here's to getting better!

Anthony said...

wait...unborn baby--is there a fetus someone on your wifes person thati have not been told about ?

(you owe me an email btw)

Superman said...

Glad to hear that Kristina is feeling better. But hey, nothing brings you closer together like sickness in a far off country. that's how I got my wife.

Andrew said...

No new fetuses, it was a joke.

Thanks for the well wishes everyone. And I am well aware of how you got your wife Superman: incredible good looks, oozing charm, and those oh so special one liners :)