Visiting a Korean doctor
I haven’t been feeling well since last Thursday due to a cold and joint pain – and I blame it on the sudden change in weather. I didn’t see my doctor until after lunch on Saturday since I had to go to work during the week. When you’re working in a hagwon, it’s so inconvenient to get sick. It’s most likely that the hagwon doesn’t have an extra worker who could substitute for you. I have never been absent for work here, unlike when I was in the Philippines. I and my co-workers would use up all our leaves – sick and vacation. Here in Korea, women are entitled to a once-a-month menstrual leave but it seems that only those working in multinational companies take advantage of this leave. (I have a Korean friend who works for Glaxo and she has a 3-day weekend every month because of this!) Employees are also not likely to take a leave even when they’re sick. When my husband had the flu, I told him to just stay home and rest but he wouldn’t listen. He said he would feel guilty staying at home while his co-workers are at work.
Last Saturday, I went to my doctor – an internist or 내과 (ne-gwa). There are generally two kinds of doctors here – one who practices Western medicine and another who practices oriental medicine. I prefer to go to the former since they’re cheaper and I’m already used to their kind of medicine ;p
The first time I visited a doctor in Korea, I was surprised at how fast the consultation went. The female doctor talked to me for just two minutes or less. I had the flu and my husband said it would be cheaper to visit a doctor than to buy medicines without prescription. If I were in the Philippines, I would’ve just taken those light blue capsules that starts with the letter T. Duh! I forgot the name of those meds.
Anyway, from that first trip to a Korean doctor, I’ve found a doctor who doesn’t mind spending 5-10 minutes with me. He speaks English well and I think he gets to practice whenever I visit. Last Saturday, he just just asked me to say “aaaa” to check my tonsils. Then he took my temperature and asked me a few questions. Then he prescribed the medicines through on his computer. It is quite easy for doctors to choose which medicines to prescribe. They only need to type their diagnosis and a list of medicines would appear. So different from what I was used to in the Philippines – scrawny handwritten prescriptions.
A visit to the doctor here typically starts from 1,800 won depending on the size of the hospital and the services provided. Of course, we have a national health insurance that we pay each month (it’s less than 120,000 won for our family of three). I paid 1,500 won for the medicines which I got from a nearby pharmacy. They were good for four days and I have to visit my doctor again tomorrow. I usually read the doctor’s prescription even if they are written in Korean. Most of the drugs use the international generic names. I got this much and it doesn’t include diet pills… LOL
I like the way the medicines are packaged. It’s just so convenient but they made me soooo drowsy. It was hard to keep myself awake at work. Oh that’s why I haven’t picked the winner for the Taeyang contest – I’ve been sick and I couldn’t keep myself awake in front of the computer.