First trip to Korean doctors

Last week we went on a mountain walk as part of the Autumn gathering and although I was wearing the right shoes I was not wearing the right socks. I could feel that my toes were bumping into the front of my shoes but at worst it was mildly uncomfortable. However, over the last week my toenails have been going a lovely shade of purple with the surrounding skin going puffy and sore.

I did made one attempt to find a doctor on Thursday last week but was obviously in the wrong place and my toes didn’t seem too bad so I gave up. But over the weekend they were still hurting and no sign on the swelling going down so I knew I had to be a bit more determined to find a doctor. I started with a friend for moral support but the first place we went to only did paediatrics and gynaecology (at least I know where to take the kids) so we then asked a pharmacy and I was directed to the Mirae hospital just a few blocks over. All medical centres are called hospitals here and it is never clear which ones are what we would call a hospital and which ones are just normal doctors.

My friend had another appointment so I had to go alone, it is very daunting to walk in and speak to the receptionist when you know that there will be a language barrier and I wasn’t even sure I was in the right place. I was then ushered over to a seating area and told to wait. It felt very intimidating not knowing what was going on at all, I had no idea whether I would wait for five minutes or longer and I felt extremely self conscious. It turned out to only be a  few minutes, which felt a lot longer, then a nurse beckoned me over and indicated I should go into the doctor’s room.

The doctor was really friendly and spoke fantastic English, took one look at my toenails and said they needed draining, which I had guessed but was hoping to avoid. Back to the waiting room and then I was called into another room where I had to lie on the bed while the doctor cut a very neat little square hole in both big toenails and then drained of the blood. Apparently the left one had a lot of fluid behind it, which is not surprising as it was bloody sore (tee-hhe, couldn’t resist). One interesting thing is the door to the examination room was open the whole time, now I had no need of privacy, it was just my feet, but I did find it odd, I am so used to the doors always being shut. Here are my toes all bandaged up.

I was then sent back to the waiting area before being called back in to see the doctor in the original room. The usual questions, are you on any medication, pregnant, diabetes etc… and then I was told he would prescribe me a painkiller and anti-inflammatory. I was sent back to the front desk to pay and pick up my prescription, I was given two pieces of paper and looked at them when I got outside and then I had to go back to check which one was the receipt and which the prescription.

Here is my goodie bad of medicine.


And my tablets,

which have very conveniently been sorted in to doses, I am to take one set twice a day after a meal. However, no information of what the tablets contain or which are the painkillers and which the anti-inflamitories. I have read that this is a cultural thing – you trust, totally, your doctor and take what is given, no questions asked or information needed.

I have to go back tomorrow and check my nails are doing OK and then hopefully my feet will be pain free.




9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandra Howells
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 02:42:04

    you are very brave! All that and the trauma of a foreign language as well. Thank goodness for the internet and being able to translate / understand a little. Still very brave you


  2. Sandra Howells
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 02:44:03

    Mind you , how many doctors here could get by in French never mind Korean. So full marks to the Doctor able to speak English as well, hope he was as nice as he sounds.


  3. Dad and Steph
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 03:34:53

    Poor you, I hope it will improve quickly now. . But just in case the anti biotics don’t solve the whole problem (I had a 2 year battle with a big toe infection and they are notoriously difficult to get rid of!) you might find the following remedy given to me by an excellent podiatrist gives you some relief . . .
    Treat it with 3% peroxide(here in England you can only buy 6% and then dilute) followed by surgical spirits . . You will need to drip it from a small nail manicure tool so that it goes under the nail (not to be done until any open cut has completely healed or ouch!) if there is any infection your toe nail will bubble and fizz! . . Hopefully it will clear up quickly for you and I am guessing one of the problems for you with my suggestion will be finding the stuff!
    Take care and remember you have the most wonderful excuse to put your feet up! Love Steph x


  4. Dad and Steph
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 03:39:04

    Should have said after applying the peroxide leave 2 to 3 mins then wipe clean and then apply surgical spirit leaving for a further 2 to 3 mins ; ) x


  5. Grace
    Oct 29, 2012 @ 19:04:59

    It is quite intimidating to go to a medical professional when you don’t speak the language. I had a similar experience during my first visit to a Czech doctor. 🙂


    • Esther Haydock
      Oct 29, 2012 @ 19:10:11

      It has all worked out really well, I have had to go back a few times and the staff now recognise me and are really friendly. The language barrier just makes it so off putting but it is never as bad as I think it will be. Thanks for stopping by to look at my blog.


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