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13 Apr

…and misdiagnosed.

Just came back from the doctor to replace a simple skin cream I mindlessly left back in Toronto. The convo unfolded like so:

Doctor: Why are you here?

Me: I need to replace a cream that I was using in Canada it was ca…

Dr: Okay! let’s seee(looks at me for a millisecond while blinking……) Ahh you have allergies!

Me: Oh no, I’m not allergic to anything..

Dr: Oh, right! (Types a code into the computer, Allergies pops up in bold capital letters)

Me: Oh no no I DON’T HAVE ALLERGIES. What am I allergic to exactly?

Dr: Ah yes! Hmm I know what it is, allergies!

Me: But I’m not allergic to anything..

Dr: I understand now. You are telling me that you have allergies.

Me: No no (motioning X with arms)

Dr: Oh okay lets see (types into computer …. what pops up?? duh! allergies in bold letters extra large font………………….ok so maybe the font size was normal)

Me: But I dont hav….uh never mind….. it’s ok please don’t perscribe me anything to be taken oraly.

Dr: Ah ok ok! (types up prescription) So you do this (motions taking oral medication with hands) for three days and then come back and see me. Okay bye thank you!

*My boss beckons for me to leave the office*

Me: I think he gave me the wrong medication I don’t have allergies.

Boss: Oh but sometimes you can have allergies.

Me: Yesssssss …..

Boss: Some times skins allergic to something and then it needs medicine.

*Cue to me boxing myself in the face*

I was too disgruntled at this point to argue further so I simply paid for my doctors bill and prescription and left (not like either were pricey, the grand total was equivalent to about $6.00 CAD). I feel bad being bothered as my boss went out of her way to drive me (which is way beyond her call of duty), but I now am in possession of 9 baggies of pills and a tube of cream all meant for someone with allergies, which incase you didn’t quite understand from the conversation with the doctor, I don’t have.



Ps Totally unrelated, but whilst searching for a picture of Conory in his role of Medicine Man to feature in this post, I came across many photos from what must have been his Bond days-what a dreamboat! (this is likely news to no one, and though dreamboat may exagerated, its rather hard for me to picture him looking anything but comical….alas I was mistaken)


Live Long and Prosper

3 Mar

Now I will share the tale of how I found confidence in the Korean healthcare system, with you, my viewership of zero.

All foreign teachers need an alien registration card. In order to be a registered alien you must prove that you are not a pedophile(which my black market contact…erm I mean RCMP representative already did prior to my departure). You also must prove that you don’t have AIDS, hence a health check is required at your local hospital upon arrival. So a day or two after I arrived I along with my new boss visited a nearby hospital. I was grateful to have her with me as the entire form was in Korean. This also mean that she had to ask me some very personal health questions. When she arrived at this part she broke into a cold sweat and mumbled the question at a volume of 0.5 decibels. “Pardon?” She then cleared her throat and repeated herself, still trembling “Do you smoke?” It was one of the cutest things I’ve ever experienced; she was earnestly afraid to ask me if I smoked.

After completion of the form, I was required to complete what can only be described as a health check decathlon. For the first leg I was presented a flimsy dixie cup and what appeared to be a stir stick, then was shoved in the direction of the ladies room. After finishing my business I had to jog my uncovered cup-o-urine to a desk of eager nurses waiting to give me instructions about my next leg in Korean. Which of course I didn’t understand so they resorted in briskly dragging me (at min speed of 9km/h) from one examination room to the nest to conduct a series of tests.

The following is what solidified my trust in the healthcare system:
– The hospital employs a dentist who apparently has xray vision “Ah how are your teeth” *shines light in my eye, glances at face* “ooohhh excellent, everything is normal”. What??
– My meeting with the general physician was incredibly thorough . I sat down at a chair about 6 feet from his desk “Hello! oh you are from Canada” *long tale about something Canada related* “No health problems right? Ok thank you”
– Of course I decided to wear my long expired contact lenses plus drink the night before. Needless to say my vision was not at top form, causing my eye exam to go as follows: “Read this line please” erm…a…z…uhhh…..f….I dunno……a…….z “No the correct answer is c d k o r. Let’s try a different approach. What is this a picture of ?” uh a fish? “No that would be a house. Ah good news you have excellent eyes!”
– Last but not least was the blood test. The nurse used an alcohol swab to sterilize my arm, then proceeded to massage it with her bare hands in hopes of finding an adequate vein. This was the same nurse who earlier handled my uncovered urine sample. There was no sink behind the nurses desk. Just a pile of used medical supplies she probably had just finished fondling. Ok probably not but still.

The results of the tests were meant to arrive in 5-7 days. Mine took 1. My boss took this as an indication of me being in super excellent health. I think it’s more likely because this hospital uses the highly reputable sniff technique to check for AIDS. Either way I’m now a registered alien. Mission accomplished. And to be fair I’ve had similar experiences in Canada, so I feel what this experience truly solidified is my distrust of health practitioners on whole.