My first Korean physical (Another Korean hospital experience)

Standard

I have never had a full physical done.  I did the ones for sports in high school.  They tested my blood pressure and blood sugar several times when I was pregnant.  But that is the extent of my physical examinations.

Tim needed a physical last month and there were a few surprises so we decided that I should get one too.  Besides,  having a baseline in your early thirties is a good idea.

I took our normal bus this morning.  Riding the bus is radically different by myself than when I am with Clarissa.  My appointment was at 9, so the bus was packed.  I could barely fit on the bus in front of our apartment and I remained standing for the twenty five minute ride.  But I didn’t mind.  It was a breeze since I didn’t have to hold Clarissa. 

We began in the locker room.  I took off my shoes and put on a gown with slippers. My belongings were placed in a locker and I was given a key.  My translator asked me to pull my hair back.  I only had a barrette so I have been adjusting my bun all morning.  Next time,  I need an elastic band.

The first stop was a chest x-ray. 

Then,  we went downstairs and they did my height and weight.  But it was way cooler than the US.  First,  I stood on a machine measured my weight while a pole came down to measure my height.  Then I had to take my socks off and stand on another machine and hold on to some poles to measure my body mass. Next,  I put my arm into a machine for my blood pressure (this is the only result that I have really understood so far. My blood pressure is good.).

After that,  I went to a small room.  Like most places in Korea,  the walls are not painted but have wall paper.  This room was for the EKG. I had to lay down while the nurse hooked my hands,  feet,  and chest up to a machine.  Then,  I sat up and the nurse had me blow in to a straw looking thing for a lung function test.

Then I did a vision test.  I know that I need new glasses so the result on that will be interesting.  I had to do that eye puff test a few times because I kept closing my eyes. The hearing test was pretty standard. At one point, I thought it was over and put the buzzer down. But then the beeps started again and I had to scramble to find it. So my results may be slightly skewed.

The blood draw took forever.  I usually have really good veins so the problem is probably that I was fasting and dehydrated.

We then went upstairs for a bone scan.  That was interesting.  She said it would take six minutes and I had to close my eyes.  I felt like I was in Star Trek being scanned by lasers.

While waiting for my sonogram,  I saw one of my Korean friends from pwoc.  She said she missed Clarissa.  And she said that her physical took three hours this morning.  At that point,  I had only been there an hour.

The sonogram was interesting.  I guess the only time I have had one was during pregnancy to look at Clarissa.  I didn’t know you could look at other things too.  The tech didn’t speak English and my translator was elsewhere. So I think she did my neck,  breasts,  and all the trunk organs.  My glasses were off so I have no idea what things looked like. I will say that it seemed to take an entire roll of paper towels to get all of the gel off and I still felt sticky.

Next,  I had to wait a half hour for the gynecologist. She spoke excellent English so that was the best experience of the day. I was already wearing a gown with my pants. The doctor asked me to put on a skirt on the bottom instead. I thought that was way better than the paper gown the gynecologist in the US gives me. Pap smears are pretty much the same in both countries, but the actual exam was different. She used an ultrasound wand to do the internal exam instead of just looking and feeling. During the ultrasound, she discovered that my iud had moved and that I had recently ovulated. She was concerned that I could be pregnant but we would not be able to find out for sure for at least another week.

That information ended my physical early. I still did my urinalysis but we decided to postpone the endoscopy. Tim got one as part of his physical. The doctor puts you under anesthesia in order to put a camera down your digestive track to see your esophagus and stomach.

I went back a week later for the results. They handed me a 14 page booklet with my results. Overall I am pretty healthy as far as cholesterol and organ function. Apparently I have a couple of cysts that need to be rechecked next year. They did order some follow up tests.

The check out process was pretty painless. The copay for blood work and a vaccination was 9,500 won (like $9). My translator wrote me an English receipt so it was interesting to compare the two.

I am not pregnant so I am going to do the endoscopy and an abdominal CT scan next week.

One thought on “My first Korean physical (Another Korean hospital experience)

  1. Marianne Sharkey

    I have to give you an A plus for doing all that without a translator for part of the visit. And then you are able to write about it. As always, You rock.

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