Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bronchitis & the Pharmacy

I am not ok.  I see stars everytime I cough. And I cough like an 80 year smoker, though I've never been a smoker.

I've diagnosed myself with bronchitis. (Thank you WebMD) I've never had it before but several people who have had it, agree with me.  I think I've actually coughed so hard that I've fractured a couple of ribs.  It hurts.

I went to get meds today.  At home, I would just run into Target and grab something over-the-counter.  While Korea has OTC drugs, you can't just go buy Tylenol or Benadryl at the local Home Plus.  Or at least I've never been able to find it. For any and all medicine related things, you need to go to a pharmacy. 
(not my picture)

You just have to look for the word 약, which literally translates to medicine.  There is usually one for every few blocks.  Or if you live in my neighborhood, you might even have some set up directly across the street from one another.  There is never one too far away.  Most all of them look like this-floor to ceiling boxes of different medications for anything from chapstick, to cornpads, to birth control.

After my benadryl induced coma wore off this morning, I waited for the pharmacy to open at 10.  Most of Korea doesn't open until 10, by the way.  It works well for me.  When I finally got out of the apartment, I made sure not to forget my cell phone because of it's English-Korean dictionary.  I walked directly up the counter, said my Korean "hello!" and handed her my phone that I had already set to bronchitis.  It's easier for everyone this way.
(Side note: As I was sitting at my desk taking somewhere near 100 pictures of my phone trying to get one good image, I can't help but wonder what my director must think as he is likely watching me through CCTV.  -All Korean classrooms are set up with security cameras and I must look really strange some days.)

She handed back my phone, walked over to her wall of medicines and came back with these two.

The only word I can read on either box is cough, but really, I don't need to know what it is.  She told me that for each medicine I should take one pill three times a day with lots and lots of water.  Got it. 3 days of medication for 5,500 won, or about $5.00.  Thanks Korea.

Sick person update:  I wrote this blog on Thursday, but just got around to adding the pictures to it today.  I still feel like I'm dying.  This might be the worst cold kind of sick that I've ever been.  It feels like it's passing which is good, but it's taking it's sweet little time doing so.  Today is the first time in a week that I've been able to eat so I made myself homemade chicken noodle soup and brownies.  They both made me feel better.  Charlie and I are being quarantined for the weekend though.  We (really, I) need to get better.  And he's a good little attendant.


  1. Feel better soon.

    - sleepy

  2. the pharmacy is easier... It seems to be clearing with the meds I have. If it gets worse I'll go to a doctor.