Being sick in Korea

So for the past couple of days I have been under the weather. Nothing too serious, seems to be a run of the mill cold/flu. I have been sick in Korea before, but now just seemed the time to write a post on it.

Usually if I have a cold or other sickness coming on Josh will immediately get on me about taking Airborne, which I hate but generally does help. In this instance the Airborne alone wasn’t enough so I did become pretty congested and cough a lot. This afternoon before work Josh and I headed to our local clinic which was about a 4 minute walk. Inside the clinic is a doctor/pharmacist. Now, I don’t know if the guy who works there is an actual doctor as our boss was saying something like he’s in training or had special training in the military…not sure on that but for all intents and purposes he gave me medication so I’m just going to call him a doctor.

The white building on the right is the clinic, this is taken from our balcony so you can see how close it is.

The white building on the right is the clinic, this is taken from our balcony so you can see how close it is.

View of the school from our balcony

View of the school from our balcony

Anyways, the visit with the doctor is pretty informal (not that I ever feel a visit to the doctor it ever formal) but this is just super relaxed. You go see the doctor who is behind a counter and tell him all of your symptoms. Then without even touching you he goes and gets a crap ton of pills for you to take. The first time we went to the clinic I found it to be really strange, but now we are completely used to it. Back home in the States I feel like the doctor’s visit is much more involved. I walk in and wait…and wait, then I have my weight measured on the scale, the nurse takes me to a room where I sit on a table and tell her my symptoms, she asks me a bunch of questions and then takes my temperature, the doctor comes in some time later and asks me about my symptoms again and then examines me…nose, throat, checking for throat swelling, checking lungs and heart. And then he tells me I have a cold and to take Claritin or he writes me a prescription to take to the pharmacy.

In Korea at our local clinic the experience is quite different. We walk in, tell the doctor our symptoms and he goes and gets pills to give us. And that’s that…no checking or anything. And for every symptom you have you are given a pill to take. In the States when I am sick enough to visit a doctor I’m used to being prescribed one maybe two pills to take. In Korea it is the opposite, Josh and I have been given packets of pills that have had as many as 5 pills to take at one time for three times a day totaling about 15 pills/day.

Pills for a cold. Apparently I have 2 pills for muscle pain and sore throat which last 6-8 hours as needed and 11 pills/day for nasal congestion and cough.

Pills for a cold. Apparently I have 2 pills for muscle pain and sore throat which last 6-8 hours as needed and 11 pills/day for nasal congestion and cough.

Another key difference here in Korea is price, for a visit to the doctor back home it would cost me about $20 for my visit (with health insurance) plus about $10 if I needed to pick up a prescription. Here in Korea I just paid ₩1,100 won which is about $1, which covers the visit and the massive amount of pills.

After visiting the clinic, Josh and I headed into work which was a non-teaching day since it is Winter Examinations here in Korea. Since we are an English program and don’t teach at an actual day to day school all the teachers had a day to work on other projects (we make the textbooks each year) or fiddle around on the internet. After about 20 minutes at work our boss came into the teachers room, yelled out my name and then stared at me for a solid minute without speaking (I know I exaggerate alot…but he really did stare at me for a full minute…in front of all the teachers…without saying anything). Apparently I looked horrible so he told me to go home, take a nap and come back in three hours.

So I am currently at home sitting in bed with two directional heaters facing me, getting ready for my first mandatory nap since preschool.

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