so this is my (i admit it, it's kind of boring) post about being sick in korea. flashback to two nights ago, when my throat was feeling kind of sore, which i took for slight dehydration. monday morning i woke up and it hurt to swallow, but i still thought it was just from not drinking enough water and thought i'd maybe feel better as the morning went on. nope, took a look at my tonsils- my left one was swollen and covered with white stuff (lovely, eh?) and i had a killer neck/headache. took a nap before school, woke up feeling like i hadn't gotten any sleep. went to school, throat kept hurting more and more, and my body was aching and skin felt irritated whenever it touched anything. made a deal with myself that if i wasn't better in the morning, i'd go to the hospital, at this point i suspected strept throat or tonsillitis.
so, i came home that night, crawled into bed at 9:30 with my alarm set for 8. woke up (this morning) and this time my right tonsil was also swollen and covered with white stuff. since melissa had volunteered to go to the hospital with me, we headed off to eulji medical center. i wasn't sure what to expect because 1) i had read that they had english-speaking doctors there, but tried calling in the morning and got really frustrated when i kept saying "hanguk mulayo" and they kept blabbering in korean instead of tranferring me to an english-speaking person and 2) i don't have health insurance (my school offers it, but never thought it would be necessary because i "never" get sick. but i got there and right away knew it'd be ok, the woman at information spoke english and called an english-speaking nurse, who was hired for cases just like me. she was really nice, only her second day working here- she said she was disappointed because yesterday no foreigners came in, so we were her first ones. so she acted as our tour guide/translator for the rest of the visit.
so she brought me to the ear and throat specialist, he sat me down, put some torture devices in my mouth (one of which was a long metal suctioning rod, that i assume was for taking a throat culture or something and reduced me to tears and a coughing fit) but it only took one look for him to say "severe tonsillitis. i think you should stay in the hospital for a few days to rest." i wasn't about to have that, i was still planning on going in to work today, but because i didn't have insurance, they said it would be ok for me to just rest at home and take my medication there. so the next step was telling my school that i'm supposed to stay home from work for a few days. i was quite nervous and feeling guilty about that because i have next week off (celeste is coming!) so originally they were going to write a doctor's note for me, but then i started thinking that it would take a while to get to them and i wanted them to know as soon as possible, so i asked if they could call to get my school's fax number so we could fax it to them. my tour guide called up and ended up getting dr. kim himself and explained everything to him, and then i talked to him and he said take 2-3 days rest, and then we can talk about my health later. that was a huge relief because even sick days are hard to take here, you pretty much need to be on your death bed, depending on the school, in order to take the day off. he was very cool about it, but i still feel bad that they have to scramble to cover my classes for the next few days. this is coming from a girl who NEVER takes sick days, in any job.
anyway, i came home stocked with medication i have to take three times a day- a set of pills (one thing i love about medicine in korea is they package it according to how you should take it- i got nine numbered baggies with the pills i have to take for each time), along with some gargle and syrup. fun stuff. and i still don't regret not having insurance because i only had to pay $15 for hospital registration, and then my medication only came to $21. good times. nowhere in america could a hospital visit/examination/medication come to $36.
all in all, i'd say if anyone in daejeon is reading this, i highly recommend eulji hospital. the english-speaking nurse was a life-saver, and everyone there was really friendly. and i swear i am not being paid for this endorsement.