Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Going to the Doctor: from Ryan's point of view

For the last few weeks I (Ryan) had been fighting a cough and cold.  I thought that like most colds it would pass in a week.  But after almost a month it was still persisting.  I tried to blame various sources for the lingering cold such as children and poor air quality.  Whatever the cause, the cold was still there.  I had been avoiding a trip to the doctor because I had no idea where one was or how I'd go about it.  But, after a month the time had come.  I decided to try to find a doctor and get some help.  Luckily we have some great Korean co-workers that speak very good English.  They are a big help with translating for us when needed.  Based on one of their recommendations, I headed out in search of a doctor’s office.  

Between our apartment and school I came across three pharmacies and could see numerous crosses that looked like hospitals.  When Koreans get sick they always talk about going to the "hospital."  I was a bit skeptical of going to a hospital about a cold, but maybe this would help explain that.  I had a recommendation for a doctor’s office near the school so I started looking there.  I didn't have luck finding that particular office so I stepped into a pharmacy and asked where a doctor was.  They got the gist of it and pointed next door.

Sure enough, there were some green crosses and even a sign stating “internal medicine clinic” on the building next to the pharmacy.   

Inside, the receptionist/ nurse spoke no English.  Cue the Korean help.  After a quick phone call to a co-worker I was in.  Luckily the doctor spoke pretty good English (very big help).  After a few quick questions we landed on bronchitis.  Not great, but not a huge deal as I have had this before.  I wasn't too worried.  A prescription for some anti-biotics and maybe another pill or two to take and I’d be on my way.  That’s where I was wrong.  The doctor recommended an anti-biotic, another medicine and no drinking, just as I thought he would.  But, not quite as I thought, the anti-biotic came as a shot in the rear.  Of course, the doctor did not go about giving me this shot, his twenty something female receptionist/ nurse asked me in hand signals to “drop my drawers.”  After that I proceeded to get my prescription paper from the same girl.  The doctor asked that I come back to his "hospital" in two days as he was only giving me an Rx to last through then.  So that explained the hospital bit.  They don’t have “doctor’s offices” in Korea they have “hospitals” on every corner.  So, after  ten interesting minutes at the “hospital” I paid my 4,500 won (~$4) and I headed to the pharmacy next door to fill the given prescriptions.

At the pharmacy I handed over the paper and the pharmacist went to work.  I heard multiple bottles opening and closing and a few cabinets being visited.  After a few minutes she returned with a handful of meds.
Keep in mind this is for two days and after that I had to go back to get more.  I was a bit skeptical of all of the different pills but as they say… “when in Korea.”  The pharmacist made me take the first dose right then and there with a hot bottle of Echinacea tea.   I paid my 4,000 won (~$3.50) and was out of there. 

After three trips back for the same treatment I was feeling a bit better.  The doctor said that if I felt better after the next two days I could stop coming in.  So you guessed it.  I did not make any more trips for shots and meds.  I am feeling much better now.  It must have worked!

1 comment:

  1. No drinking? GASP!!! :-)
    Hope you feel better soon.
    I love that they gave you Echinachea!
    It does sound very complicated, especially when you're not feeling well.