Consultation & The Beginning

Around May, I ended my therapy with a doctor who practiced a hybrid Korean/Japanese kind of thing. I am not sure how to describe it other than he used mallets. They looked painful but did not feel so. His last suggestion to me was to stretch every day, and to walk often. Little did I know, this was just a temporary solution. Fast-forward to August, and I began talking about pain in my upper back, primarily around the C6-C7 (cervical/neck vertebrae) region as well as my T1-T2 (thoracic/upper back vertebrae) region. It wasn’t your run of the mill muscle soreness. At times, it felt as if someone was pushing a knife into my shoulder blades and neck. I had also been having issues where I wake up in the middle of the night and both arms are completely asleep. This is still going on. So, I asked my husband if we could call our health insurance provider for a suggestion of a place I could go that would be able to take my private insurance.

Insurance in Korea doesn’t work the same as back in the States. Everyone must enroll in government healthcare. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking about Obama Care, and well, Obama Care, from what I have read is based on the Korean system or this was a source of inspiration. It’s about fifty or sixty bucks a month, which I think is pretty cheap. This covers basic needs. Not to mention, healthcare is so affordable here. I love being able to go to the doctor for ANYTHING and sometimes only paying around two to four dollars for medicine. I have even paid around $315 for an MRI, which was not covered by insurance.

Now, if you want extra coverage, that’s where private insurance comes into play. There are a lot of options, and you can even find someone who speaks English who can set you up with a plan as well as look into various types of cancer insurance. Chiropractic is covered by insurance, but you have to be careful as it can be tricky when you submit all of your receipts for payout. They often do not pay for those diagnosed with chronic pain. We haven’t done that yet and will do so in about a year, when the treatment is finished. (*fingers crossed that we can get a refund through health insurance*) My husband and I are looking at it as a savings plan because I am looking to get 80 to 90% of what I paid back. Quite surprising isn’t it? Healthcare is great here. Even if I go up to Seoul, I’m still only going to pay a fraction of the cost.

I am getting away from the point, but anyways…we get the name of a doctor that is conveniently near one of my schools, and we go in almost before it closes. The doctor isn’t annoyed in the least bit. He’s more than willing to help me. He efficiently diagnoses my condition and gets an x-ray to confirm it. He then lays out the cost of each visit for me and directs me to the head of physical therapy to set up a reoccurring appointment for physical therapy once a week. So, here I will give a basic breakdown of what one visit could cost. Mind you, prolotherapy injections vary in price depending on the location, but I want to give you an idea of just how much money I am saving by doing this.

Korea:

Consultation Fee: $3.00 (That’s not a typo).

X-Ray: $2.50 (Again, that’s not a typo either).

First Physical Therapy Session (Rolfing Technique): $90.26

UV Light Stimulation: Included in PT cost

Electrical Stimulation Therapy: Included in PT Cost

 

United States:

Consultation Fee: $150 and up

X-Ray: (Without Insurance) $100 – $1000; (With Insurance) $260 – $460

Physical Therapy (Rolfing Technique): $80 – $120

UV Light Stimulation: $25 – $100

Electrical Stimulation Therapy: $132

So, as you can see, the numbers speak for themselves. Even if you cannot get a working visa here, you could come into Korea on a tourist visa and get three months of care for a huge fraction of the cost that it would be in the United States, even without insurance! Later in the week, I will recount my first injection and what to expect as well as some tib bits on my physical therapy. (It is SUPER PAINFUL but worth it.)

Mountains

I live in Daejeon, South Korea. It’s a city surrounded by mountains. The entire peninsula is mountainous terrain. So, it’s a bit difficult to escape not only the mountains but also the sea which is accessible by driving west, east or south. I have been thinking a lot about mountains lately. What do they have to offer us? Well, that’s a rather loaded question; however, the answer is simple, and you already know it. They give us our life’s breath. (I can think of a million more clichés to give as an answer.) Mountains here are dense. The sides of mountains that lay bare in this area have rocks that look as if you cold just scrape off a piece and take it with you.Whereas, in other parts, they are so dense with trees, I imagine that someone has taken a cake and just piped on little tufts of icing, just bouncing around and putting them here and there until it is completely filled with green.

A typical word to describe feeling and color in Korean is “verdant green” 초록색 (chorok saek). “Verdant” typically signifies lush vegetation and a vibrant green that gives the feeling of life in abundance.It’s not the same lush green that I found in Louisiana and that I so deeply connected myself to for the first thirty years of my life, but, nonetheless, it’s a hue of green that I now find myself drawn toward in the last thirty years of my life and yet, I still have 24 more of those next or last years to go. And so it goes, green must be the color of my life.

Now, most people associate the color green with that of envy, yet it reminds me of the constancy of nature, the ever-turning circle of life as so demonstrated in the plant kingdom. And, of course, plants get their green hue from little chloroplasts that produce chlorophyll. I think to myself, “Plants have it all. They can make their own food and can sustain given the proper amount of sunlight and rain. They do not need the help of another to live.”

So, what is all this talk of plants, and why do I ramble? Plants live on the mountain, a large fortuitous being that allows them to share space with it. They cohabit together forming their own little ecosystem and their own little world, and then I bring myself to the idea of marriage. I am a wife, something that even after three years I feel hesitant to call myself. I cohabit with another person, but we are by no means symbiotic. Nor are the plants and the mountain. We can easily transport the plants to another place, and they could easily thrive–given that it isn’t desert or tundra. (Or maybe I am wrong and full of crap here.)

I am a married woman. I have a husband, but what is this little thing we call marriage? I feel the need to write again, and from time to time, I hope to post here as a means of catharsis. Some tend to think that marriage is like climbing a mountain. Once we get to the top, we realize what we have gone through to get to that peak, and yet, we inevitably have to go back down and into the valley only to try to climb high again. I often feel that love coincides with that amount of effort that we put into climbing a mountain. We cannot stop and sit down for long. We just have to keep going.