Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seeing a Korean Doctor

I needed to get my Vitamin D level rechecked since I tested low while we were home for Christmas. My Korean girlfriend called Ajou University Hospital to make sure they had the same test which they did and to make an appointment for me.

I had never been to the International Clinic and it was a wonderful experience. Curt (hubby) went with me for moral support. The staff in the International Clinic can speak English and we saw a few foreigners like ourselves. When we got there, I gave them my name and had just sat down when someone came to take me to my appointment.

We had an escort and proceeded to the third floor of the hospital and we waited for my name to appear on the television screen. A nurse came out and escorted us into a room. The doctor came in right away and wanted the specifics as to why I wanted a Vitamin D test. He then ordered the test and we left his office. The hospital worker that had brought us up to the doctor's office said that we needed to pay before they could take the blood sample.

The cashiers are on the second level and you need to take a number then wait your turn. It goes pretty fast. We paid for the tests and the doctor's visit then we were escorted to the hospital lab. We had to take a number in this area too.
I panicked when I looked around to see about 20 or more people waiting for blood tests and they were sitting with a clear view of the area where your blood is drawn. I'm used to my blood being drawn in private not with an audience. Our escort saw that I was upset but I thought I would have time to get used to it but our number came up immediately. I was thinking, "What about these other people?" I told the escort the reasons for my hesitation as we approached the nurse. She was surprised at my reaction since she said they see a lot of U.S. military and they never acted like me. It didn't make me feel any better.
As a sat down before the nurse, I was resolved to go through and not think about the Koreans watching me cringe. My escort was speaking to the nurse, explaining my situation. She immediately scooped up the vials and we went into the next room.
We entered the largest laboratory I had ever seem. It looked like 50 or more lab workers in front of all sorts of machines. By then, I was embarrassed, scared, humiliated, you name it. She took us to a tiny room and had me sit down. She quickly took the blood samples and that was it. I thanked her profusely and also our escort. Now I think back on it and wonder why I made such a mountain out of a molehill. You would think I would be used to surprises that come from living in another country.
We went back a week later for the results which we are still trying to decipher. They measured the Vitamin D level in a different type of unit. The doctor said that my Vitamin D level was too high. Curt looked at the results and then mentally did the math and it came out that I was 1/1000 of my initial test back in the States. So Curt and the Korean doctor were both doing the math to try to figure out what the discrepancy was until I finally called a halt to it. I said, "I either have too much Vitamin D or less than 0 so let's go with too much." I got a copy of the results and off we went.
I emailed them to my doctor to see if he can decipher them. It's funny how the same exact test can yield contrary numbers. It's all how it is measured. Tomorrow, the story of my trip to the dentist.


CreekHiker said...

OMG! I can't imagine! I pass out giving blood and must lie down! I certainly couldn't do it in front of other people!

mbarnes said...

If you are interested in the effects of vitmain D take a look at www.vitaminD3world.com it has some good summaries of the data especially on cancer prevention

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