Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Korean Experiences: Going to the doctor

I had a cold this past week.  I know that, if I don't take medicine to get the gunk out, it will settle into my lungs where it can aggravate my mild asthma condition, but, I really didn't want to go to the doctor.  Not only was I feeling ill, but add onto that a new, uncomfortable environment, a big language barrier, and the terrible unknown of the Korean medical world, and I was ready to stick it out for months.  Well, Rena convinced me I needed to go.

I made an appointment for after school and then spent the rest of the day worrying, talking about it with my kids, and generally freaking out.  I had an ominous feeling in my chest as I zipped up my outer coat and trudged outside into the night.  I was heading toward something awful.

Just kidding, it was great!

When I finally down in his office, the doctor greeted me in Korean.  I very, very shyly asked if he spoke English.

"You don't speak Korean?"
"Only a very little bit."
"Ah.  I only speak a little English.  So, please speak slowly."
"I will."

After that first bit of awkwardness and after getting used to the nurse that literally just stood there next to me (in case she were to be needed, I'm sure), I eased up so much.  I was able to tell him all he needed to know, and I felt like I could trust him and what he said.  I just felt so comfortable.  At the end, I told him so, and I told him about how I had been nervous but I was now so glad that I came.

The diagnosis:
I have a cold, but my asthma has not been aggravated.  My breathing is not wheezy, it's normal.  I do need to be careful about moving from the cold to the warm weather.  It is not good for my condition.  And, did you know that it's not the mucus draining into your throat that makes it sore?  It's when your nose is clogged and you have to breath through your mouth more, that dries out your throat and brings on the agitation and soreness.  I didn't know!  So, I'm drinking hot water (the steam helps, he said), I'm almost finished with the pills he gave me, and I've been pulling up my scarf over my nose and mouth outside.

I'm getting better!

And, I was going to try and find a picture of a Korean doctor to add some interest to this post, but none of the men in the picture look as kind and gentle as my doctor (who I've deemed the best in Korea).

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