Thursday, January 28, 2010

Doctor Korea!

I braved my aversion to going places and doing things to try out the health care system on the ROK. You see, about six months ago, I came to the startling realization that one of my calf muscles was smaller than the other.

Being the hypochondriac that I am, I was pretty sure that it was only a matter of time before I would be moving my wheelchair around via a high-tech straw in my mouth and speaking through a Stephen Hawking-type monitor.

Although, much like the imaginings I have about my daily life, that whole scenario is completely illogical as nobody in my family could afford/know where to get/bother with buying any of those things, so in reality, I'd be parked in the corner somewhere out of the way, unless they needed to store something on me.

I arrived at the hospital and explained my symptoms to an orderly. He relayed the information to the doctor who decided, that it would be a wasted opportunity to have a troublesome Waygook in her grasp and not take the time to torture her a little bit. After all, what's the fun in pleasant, pain-free medicine? The Hippocratic oath is for weak-stomached pussies!!

So first things first, they had me change into hospital garb. Let the torture begin! I was fitted into a fun-sized shirt and capri pants which were meant to be neither fun-sized nor capri, then I was told to wait amongst the fully clothed bug eyed natives. I sat next to some old guy who probably nearly died of a heart attack. Good thing he was already in the hospital.

After a few minutes, I got called back to the dungeon Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies room. Now the party was about to move from the light drinks and idle chit-chat phase to the cocaine and group sex in the basement phase.

The assistant hooked my leg up to strange wires and buzzing machines.

"You might experience discomfort or pain. I think you can tolerate it."

She then proceeded to shock the shit out of the nerves in my leg.

"Ok, this time stronger."

More of the same, only worse.

It was horrible. It didn't hurt, it was just extremely, completely unpleasant. There is not anything much higher on the list of things-that-should-never-happen-to-me than being shocked. That and over-inflated balloons are the two things I enjoy least in life.

Next she decided to up the ante. It was EMG time.

"I told you before we were doing EMG?"

I obediently nodded, wondering what horrors were about to befall me.

"This more discomfort. More pain. You can tolerate?"

I obediently nodded, wondering if anybody would do anything if I just got up and left.

"I put this needle in muscle, OK? I do five muscle. I insert needle now."

Before I had a chance to carry out "Operation Get the Fuck Out of Here" she had popped the needle through my skin. I could feel my heart-rate spike, my hands get sweaty, my throat dry up. I was expecting a jolt of electricity that would cause my whole leg to seize up at any moment! I could hardly stand it!

Then the electro part happened and a burning sensation seared through my muscle. I can't tell you how thrilled I was. Relief washed over me. Everyday searing kind of pain I can handle. Compared to the shocking I was actually quite enjoying this. Even the part where she moved the needle around inside my muscle did nothing but please me.

All the tests came back normal.

Diagnosis: Sometime or other in my past, I injured myself and didn't notice.

Don't panic family, your patio chair can stay a patio chair. For now.

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