Korean Doctor

Last week, I had a sore throat that would come and go, and I was generally pretty lethargic.  It wasn’t anything too serious though, so I just kept taking my vitamins, resting, and drinking a lot of water.  After this weekend in Seoul, I woke up Monday morning full on sick.  Sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, deep cough, and horrendous pressure in my ears.  I decided I should see a doctor because I had the day off, and it was about time I experienced a Korean doctors office.  After a lot of encouragement from a friend, I nervously left my apartment and walked few blocks to a doctor I’d heard about from a few friends.

I climbed up the stairs until I saw something that resembled a waiting area.  I saw a few people hobbling around on crutches, so I assumed I found the right place.  No one was at the front desk, so I just sat down in the very crowded waiting area.  Soon, a woman came out, and noticed me immediately.  She called me over, and started asking me a lot of questions in Korean.  Of course I stared at her blankly.  She looked really frustrated, which made me even more nervous.  Finally, she asked me in English for my ID card.  I gave it to her, and then sat back down.  While I was waiting,  I watched people come and go through many different doors.  They called names really fast, and someone would go into a room, and come out a couple minutes later.  I didn’t know what was going on, but I enjoyed watching.  Then, the lady at the front desk yelled at me accross the room asking me where I was from.  I told her, and went back to observing.  I got called back up to the desk, and was asked more questions that I obviously could not answer.  Three more nurses came over and discussed, and then one of them asked me “Where you sick?”  I pointed to my throat, and nose, etc.  Then, one of the nurses grabbed my face from the other side of the desk, and took my temperature right there in my ear.  Weird.  Then, they motioned for me to sit back down.

A few minutes later, they called my name and motioned for me to go into a nearby room.  It didn’t look like a doctors office.  There was a man sitting at a nice desk, with books, and family photos, etc.  He asked me if I spoke Korean, and then informed me that his English wasn’t very good.  He asked me what was wrong, and how long it had been going on, etc.  Then, he looked in my throat and told me my tonsils were red and swollen.  Then, out of nowhere, a nurse ran into the room and pulled up my shirt while the doctor listended to me breathe for awhile.  And that was it.  He told me to drink a lot of warm water, rest, and take some pills for 3 days and to come back if I wasn’t better.  I was in his office for probably 3 minutes total.

I went back out to the main waiting area, signed some papers, and paid my 3,500won doctor bill (About $3).  Then, they told me to go to the 2nd floor.  The pharmacist on the 2nd floor spoke a little English. He was able to tell me when to take the pills, but I have no idea what any of them are.  I guess I will see what happens.  The best part was, they only cost 2,500won, so around $2.  So, I got seen by a doctor, and got my prescription for a little less than $5.  Can’t complain about that!

Here’s my 3 day supply of meds:

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