Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adventures in Korean Medicine, or How I Got An EKG for a Cold

Korea tied with Nigeria to advance to the next round of the World Cup, which means I get another chance to wear my devil horns on Saturday! I did not stay up to watch the game (it started at 3:30 in the morning), but I did talk about it with my sixth graders in class on Wednesday and they were ~very~ happy. Some students' joy could only be expressed through patriotic song, and several students started warbling, "Oh Daehanminguk! Seungniui Hamseong!" in the back of the class. I am also pleased to see that the US made it to the next round. The game, however, is at 3:30 in the morning, and since I'm sick sick sick, I will be asleep.

Which, right, I'm sick. I'm pretty it's just your generic Death, nothing fancy or special or something that won't clear up after a week or so, but I've been dizzy all week and I'm having trouble breathing, plus I might have had a few mild hallucinations. Or possible there really was a rain of shooting stars over my bed Wednesday morning. I'm sick, my judgment can't be trusted. My co-teachers fussed over me all week and yesterday I finally caved to their demands and agreed to see a doctor for the first time in a year and a half in Korea. (It's nothing against Korean doctors specifically, I just have issues [and a few bad experiences] with over-medicating. I have faith in my ability to tell if something is serious or not, and I have a lot of faith in my body's ability to heal itself of most things with a little time. I think doctors - American and Korean - have a tendency to just throw pills at symptoms, which I don't think will actually help me get better faster, and unless the medication is actually addressing the cause of the disease, I would rather tough it out with over-the-counter pain killers and some good old-fashioned bitching. And I will get off my soap box now.)

I went to the clinic on the second floor of my building.  First I had a consultation with the doctor, who asked me a few questions about my symptoms and ordered a battery of testing, including a lung functions test and an EKG. No, you read that right. The doctor ordered an ELECTROCARDIOGRAM for symptoms that point to a mild viral infection of the lungs, nothing worse than a cold. I went to the next room for my EKG (don't all doctors have a 12-lead EKG in the next room?) and, turns out, my heart is working just fine, not that I was worried. I was never told what exactly the diagnosis was, but the doctor prescribed a whole battery of pills for me to take. And people wonder why I skeptical of doctors.

A Day Worth of Pills
A day worth of pills.  Count 'em - there are fifteen!

I'm not taking the medicine since, well, I don't really take medicine, but I'm already feeling better and its nice to know that I was right and this isn't something serious. The best part, however, is that the whole ordeal - doctor consult, tests and medication - took under an hour and only cost 12,000 won, just over ten dollars. Take note American health care system - you could learn something.

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