Wednesday, February 3, 2010

약국: 심한 감기를 걸렸어

Translation of the title: "Pharmacy: caught a bad cold"
It's pronounced "yakguk: shimhan kamgileul keolryeosseo"

감기 is cold.

I've had a wicked cold for a month. I'm healthy for three or four days, then I go through a three-day spell of really bad sinus pressure. I've suffered with sinusitis since I was young. Sometimes it's easy to deal with; other times, the pain is unbearable. This cold has brought it close to unbearable.

I went to the ENT clinic (이비인후과) near my house--they're everywhere here--and the doctor said it's just bad sinusitis made worse because I have a deviated septum. Some doctors here will give foreigners whatever drugs permitted according to the regulations. I suppose this is a result of 1) foreigners who are used to easy access to medication and 2) the doctor's wish not to attempt to speak English. In the case of Western Patient Meets Korean Doctor, you can imagine any observer being witness to two very strong examples of impatience and intolerance.

My general doctor--his office is across the street from the ENT clinic--is like this. He'll see me for 15,000Won, $12.50 give or take, and write me a prescription for Loratadine or similar and common medications you can't get in Korea without a prescription. He makes sure I'm well with a quick glance and then he motions me out of his office. Nevertheless, many doctors resist western medicines and insist you provide them with a decent narrative of your illness before he or she decides what's best for you.

I don't mind that at all. In fact, I'm into alternatives and am likely to visit the acupuncture clinic near 신림역 (Sillimyeok, Sillim subway station,) in a day or two to endure a forty-five minute session of long needles for help relieving the sinusitis and related pressure. The acupuncturists here are cheap because they're covered by the National Health Insurance Plan. For 4,000Won, $2.50, I can get a full session of treatment.

The accupuncture (침술, chimsul,) here can be scam-y. If you go, check with your neighbors first; or, at least look into the clinic you're visiting. Good clinics will have excellent reputations and come recommended. Just because a clinic is busy doesn't mean it's trustworthy. Every Korean asks me the same question. When they hear I go for acupuncture, they ask me about my 침술사 (acupuncturist) to make sure I'm not getting ripped off.

At any rate, my eyes are so pained with pressure right now that I cannot possibly read. I try and continuously tear-up. Sitting at the computer just to type this note is giving me a headache. So, I'm off.

I HATE lying around, doing nothing. It puts me in the worst mood. To make matters much worse, I am a professional whiner.


Pree-oz said...

It's true. You're very good at whining. eggyo...

Gary Norris said...