9.17.2009

Free Time... Sorta

A new record -- breathing the raunchy Seoul smog for three whole weeks before getting sick.  I believe I deserve a medal.  I got a day off from work instead.

I woke up this morning feeling less than stellar.  Actually I felt snotty and achy and gross, but I'll skip the details.  Anyway, not having the phone number for my school (genius, right?), I was forced to call in sick in person.  This is almost never a good idea.  While I was thinking "At last! My boss can witness firsthand the snot practically leaking from my nostrils," my boss was thinking "You were well enough to get your ass here. What's the problem?"  So I put on my sickest face (not difficult as I was feeling LIKE HELL) and headed for school.

I ran into Director Lady in the hall and pled me case.  Director Lady was surprisingly understanding and gracious and urged me to got to the doctor. Fine.  ENT Specialist, here I come.

*At this point I'd like to digress from the "Mindy Goes to Seoul and Gets Sick" portion of the post.  Bear with me...

Now, I have been to *a lot* of doctors in my 29 years -- 3 sprained ankles, 1 broken wrist, 3 CAT scans, 2 dislocated shoulders, 3 dislocated kneecaps, 1 broken nose, 2 chipped teeth -- hell, the list could go on. I've even been to my fair share of doctors in foreign countries. And it is with this authority that I can safely say Seoul has the grossest* healthcare facilities.  Seriously. Dirt-stained walls, grimy floors, totally unsanitary disposal methods (think used syringes in a cardboard box masquerading as a trash can), glove-less docs and nurses... And don't even get me started on the lack of doctor/patient confidentiality.  Suffice it to say it's nonexistent.

Anyway, all this got me thinking about the clusterfuck that is Healthcare in America.  Because, even though the sanitation standards are less than savory, I managed to get adequate, efficient care (including x-rays), WITHOUT insurance, for around $30. This would've cost me a couple hundred dollars in the States, easy.  

But back to the clusterfuck.  I think I've solved the problem.  Do as the Koreans do -- adopt the "good enough" mentality and choose efficiency over safety.  Cut out the middle man.  Get rid of all the cleaning and sanitation personnel and confidentiality requirements.  Can you imagine how much money hospitals would save if they started employing elderly Americans to mop ER floors?!  How many trees would be saved if no records of care were kept?!  How refreshing it would be to get a smack on the ass instead of anesthetic before a shot?!**  How delighted you'd feel to see a used syringe in a nurse's mouth?!** God, the freedom!

Obama, you can thank me later.  (I've always wanted to say that...)

Back to my sickness.  ENT Specialist squirted some mystery substance up my nose, took a few X-rays and with great authority, announced that I had a sinus infection.  Now, I've never actually HAD a sinus infection, but I HAVE had many colds.  I'm pretty sure I do not have a sinus infection and I'm pretty sure some part of the diagnosis was lost in translation.  I'm also pretty sure most Korean medicine relies heavily on the placebo effect, as most of it looks like brightly colored candy. As a result, I rarely take it.  Seriously.

Anyway, I'm feeling loads better this evening, obviously.  However, I am still annoyed that in Korea my employer is such a huge part of my personal life.  They pay my rent, own my visa, and dictate when it's appropriate for me to see a doctor.  Because I would NEVER see a doctor for a head cold.  Duh.

*My opinions are based solely on first world conditions.  I'm sure Seoul's hospitals are better than Kabul's.  Maybe.

**Yes, this happened to me.  Too bad the nurse was a chick.


1 comment:

Lisa Czarina said...

The walls were stained and syringes used? No!! Do you have to speak Korean?