Sunday, March 04, 2007

Adventures in Korean Medicine.

As some of you may already know, Matt and I have been atleast a little bit sick since we arrived here. Mainly it was just pesky colds but lately I've been plagued with a lot of sinus pain, headaches and nasty snot. Despite all of my home remedies, rest and vitamins it just was not going away on its own and with the new semester afoot I realized that I needed some kind of medical intervention. This meant I had to approach my boss and ask him to take me to a doctor.

Now I've heard many things about medical treatment in Korea and even experienced it slightly when we went for flu shots and when Matt still had a broken foot and needed to receive some treatment. One thing I know, Koreans love medicine. They take it like candy and seem to have the perspective that if it's medicine, it must be good for you so you should take it. This is a bit different from how I view medical treatment since I believe that going to the doctor should be a last resort after you've adjusted your diet, drank more water, slept more, tried to reduce stress, etc. Anyway, I am getting on a tangent.

So Mr. Rhie took me to see a E.N.T. (ear nose and throat) specialist who determined that I am suffering from sinusitis (basically a sinus infection). I didn't get a shot in the bum (which is another popular treatment for things here) but I did get a number of mystery pills (5 different kinds which I am to take 3 times a day).

Round One.

No one seems to be able to tell me anything about these pills and I have tried identifying them myself online (this is basically impossible because they are Korean made and therefore not listed on any of the medical websites). All the information I have about these pills is that I need to take them with food and if I get dizzy or drowsy I need to cut the little yellow one in half.

Another interesting Korean medical phenomenon is the nose vacuum. Yes, you read that correctly, the nose vacuum. This is basically like the suction thing they use at the dentist to suck up saliva except it's made of metal and it goes in your nose. I really, really dislike it. I find it uncomfortable and it makes my eyes water like crazy and it feels like my nasal cavity is going to be sucked out. Also, there are few situations as awkward as having a strange doctor shove something up your nose while your boss is standing there watching.

I am feeling better and improving but I have had 3 visits to the E.N.T. doctor so far and therefore 3 nose vacuuming incidents and 3 bouts of mystery pills (and they are all the same pills each time). I'm supposed to go back again on Tuesday and hopefully by then I will be cured. I'm a little bit tired of being sick and having to deal with doctors and nose vacuums and the like.

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