Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting sick in Korea

I’ve been feeling pretty shady for the last couple of days – on Saturday we went to Gimje and the trip was interesting, alternating between the heat and the air conditioning made me feel feverish. On Monday morning I woke up feeling worse than before, so I called my co-teacher and asked her to take me to the doctor.
We have health insurance written into our contracts but my co-teacher signed me in under her plan. The waiting room was full of people looking as miserable as me.
After half an hour I was ‘shown’ into the doctor’s ‘office.’ The area where people are treated is completely open and more like a dentist than the doctors I am used to in New Zealand. I was put in a chair and the doctor asked me to say ‘ah,’ sprayed something in my throat, suctioned something out of my nose, jabbered at my co-teacher in Korean and after all of 2 minutes my appointment was over.
I figured I had a cold but apparently I’ve got a sinus infection that will take 2-3 weeks to clear. My co-teacher marched me downstairs to the pharmacy to pick up my medicine. Pharmacies are everywhere in Korea!   There are so many that 약 (yak) was the first hangul word I recognised and Tom and I play spot-the-pharmacy for points. There’s one on every block – the same can be said for cellphone stores.

I’ve been given enough medicine for four days (that’s standard in Korea apparently) and if we weren’t going to Seoul for Chuseok I’d need to go back to the doctor to get some more. I’ve got 6 ½ pills to take morning and evening, and 2 ½ after lunch – a few more than I’d take back home! The appointment was 3600 won (about $4) and the prescription was 6000 won (about $7). Heres a pic of the meds I'm on at the moment:

Blogging note - we got our bed back and we're staying in the 1-bedroom apartment. Tom was a hero and talked the Office of Education into moving it back for us - we were thinking of strapping the mattress to the roof of a taxi and hoping for the best!
Also, we're in Seoul. Its Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) so we have a few days off work and then we're attending some training (FINALLY!) from the 25th -30th. We toured the DMZ today and got drenched - it's pouring down here.

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