fiona

Feb 022014
 

By FIONA VAN TYNE

lesek surgery busan

Getting Eye surgery was something that I was thinking about before I came to Busan, not seriously but I thought about it.

The main thing stopping me before was the price. Even before I started to do my proper research I was halted to know that I would not be able to afford it later on in life.

When I came to Korea, I started playing with the idea again. I was not so worried about the cost because I was making steady money, but I was more worried about doctors that did not speak too much English shooting powerful lasers in to my eyes. Korea places such a high value on English education, and we all know that people with higher English levels are assumed to be smarter by Korean standards; its strange and horrible and I know many ex-pats do the same, of putting more confidence in people who speak better English. There is a point where everyone in Korea, just sit back and even with the language barrier, let them do their jobs.

Getting Laser Eye surgery was one of those times. I was incredibly nervous, but I am so happy I did it, it was one of the better things I have spent my money on in Korea.

I went to Neuviet Eye Clinic. The man that helped me was Mr. Seong. He is a Korean, Japanese, and English speaker, and granted, sometimes his English is a bit shaky, but our first meeting (albeit longer than normal due to my questions) went well.

As far as the consultation goes, you will meet with him and go through all the eye tests you have learned to hate at home. Look at the balloon through the machine, the focusing one with the house, and of course the hated puff of air. Though all this Mr. Song is nothing but helpful, explaining all the machines, comforting me when things were going to poke my eye. “Don’t be scared” is probably his favorite English phrase at this point. Which makes me laugh all the time, and we have to start over.

The consultation takes about 2 hours, so make sure that you secure enough time for this. The clinic is open until 7 most days and Fridays until 9. Going after school is completely possible too!

There are 2 main types of eye surgery. I am not an eye doctor so I don’t know which one is best for you, but you should know about them both, so if you do have the option to do both, you can make the best decision.

It all has to do with your corneas. If you have thick flexible corneas, you are good to go with either, if your cornea is thin or inflexible then you will most likely have to do LESEK. Before you poke yourself in the eye to figure it out, know that Mr. Seong, will tell you about half way though your appointment.

Now lets talk differences.

LASIK:
From what I understand about LASIK is that they take your eyes, open them, cut a flap on the area above your eyeball (inside your eye) remove a flap, LASER it and then put the flap back on. This is quick, kinda painless, and will take only about 15 minutes. Recovery time is about 24 hours to a week, and results can be seen right away.

There is little pain, and you don’t have to constantly be worried about using eye drops 8 times a day.

Before you are super stoked about LASIK the drawbacks are that there will be a cut flap in your eye which will definitely heal BUT this can cause problems later on in life if you suddenly fall in love with extreme sports. A major injury to the eye can be a ton worse because of the LASIK. How likely is it? I have no idea, but it is one of the risks.

Now we need to talk about cost!

LASIK for a LASER cutting the flap it will cost 1.6 million KRW. For the doctor cutting the flap, it will cost 1.0 million KRW. Granted the doctors are professionally trained to cut the flap, but its not really recommended, because “it has more risk”.

Cost 1.6 Million KRW OR 1.0 Million KRW *
Risk : Higher
Plus side? Not many Eye Drops, quicker recovery
Down Side: Not everyone can get it, more expensive, has “higher risk”
*prices change, but what I have found it it gets lower

Many people opt for this, recovery time is much quicker and there is little pain associated with this.

Personally I could have done both, I chose to go with LESEK though because its what I thought was the best choice for me.

LESEK

With LESEK eye surgery they don’t cut a flap, so there is a different process, they still use lasers to correct your vision but since they are not directly fixing it a longer recovery time is needed.

I went with this option because I did not want to deal with things coming off later on in life if I had a terrible accident, also, I had more time to recover since I was able to work some vacation days in to recovery time.

My timetable went like this

Friday 7 PM arrive at clinic for operation.
Friday 8 PM get operation done (my doctor was super nice and supportive, and though I nearly had a panic attack with the first eye, it was smooth sailing for the second eye)
8:45 leave clinic in care of a good friend
10:00 PM eyes start to hurt, try and sleep

Saturday: All day, eyes hurt, sucks to open them, listen to a ton of pod casts, SLEEP. I could not stay awake for more than an hour this day

Sunday Spent most of it in bed, better vision recovery, still can’t look at a computer, try anyway.

Monday, first day of TV! YEY! pain has gone away, vision blurry. Eye drops suck. Tried to go for a walk this day, but got really tired about 2 blocks into it and went home.

Tuesday, feel kinda normal, went for a longer walk, got to watch more TV

Wednesday I was back to work just fine. For the rest of the week, my co teacher had to help with some things, but I did a good job recovering the rest of the time.

I did not feel 100% normal until about a week or two after, my vision has not 100% been at 20/20 Even a month later, but it gets better every time I go back to the clinic. Sometimes I even forget that I don’t wear glasses anymore and start looking for mine.

Cost 1..0 Million KRW
Risk : Lower
Plus side? Lower risk, better for people with TERRIBLE vision, lower cost
Down side? Longer recovery, some pain, and never ending EYE DROPS.

Either way I am happy I got it done, the doctors are fully trained and honestly do more surgeries than in the states, so they have more practice I feel. This clinic was amazing with the support and care. I never felt like a question went unanswered and they were all so nice. If you are hesitant, I do suggest going in for the free examination to discuss your options further.

They are good with support after surgery and you have to go in a few times to make sure everything was done correctly.

To get to Neuviet Eye clinic

From Seomyeon Station walk underground towards the Lotte Department store. Go past exit 7. Walk up the little hill past all the beauty shops. When you get to the Krispy kreme, go on the left side of the store. Keep walking until you see a staircase on your left. Go up the stairs. From there you can walk straight past the horses on your left until you get past the department store, the next building is the lotte hotel. The clinic is on the 14th floor of that building.

Oct 082013
 

Its that time of year again, where Busan’s finest breakout the lederhosen and dance to the best Russian Band while drinking fine German beer.

Thats right ladies and gentleman its time for Oktoberfest at Hurshimchung. The German beer house is located in the same building as the giant spa, attached to the Hotel Nongshim, and is quite the event when you walk in. The brewhouse brews its own beer on site, which is more than most Korean bars can say and they stock the classic german favorites. Food there is delicious (albeit expensive) but well worth it. The highlight however, is the distinctly Russian band that plays there quite regularly while drunk Koreans dance around wildly drinking and eating to their hearts content.

Oktoberfest, takes it up a notch. The cost is 10,000 KRW for a mug of beer, which you can then refill for 3,000 more. What a deal!!! The classic russian band may make an appearance and I am sure more than just Koreans will be joining in the dancing antics.

There are supposed to be live bands playing traditional German music as well, some drinking contests, accordion performances, a photo and game zone and several prize drawings are all in store for this years action!

 

The festival runs October 10-12th 2013 from 4 pm to 2 am

 

Directions to Oktoberfest:

Take the Orange line Subway to stop 127, Ochenjeong. From there, walk across the walkway outside exit 3 and 5 and walk towards the home plus building.

From the home plus building walk across the top floor (about 2 min walk) and vear to the left until you reach the escalators, go down the escalators and get to the big crosswalk. From the cross walk you should not be able to see the subway station.

Cross the big crosswalk and walk down the street on your right. Take your First major left turn and its in the MASSIVE newer building on your right side.  The brewhouse is located on the First floor behind the bakery.

 

 

Sep 092013
 

By Fiona Van Tyne

If you are interested in traveling after Korea, there is a chance that you will have to get a medical check.

For many countries where you have to apply for a visa, Korea is considered a “high risk” country for Teberlocolous. Many countries, where you need to apply for a visa, are going to want you to undergo a medical examination, but they mostly just want a x-ray of your lungs to make sure you are healthy.

Most of us got this done at the beginning of the contracts, as english teachers, if you are able to get your hands on the medical records, you can see if they will send them to the visa office you are applying to.

In the case that you 1, did not have this done when you first came here. or 2 can not gain access to the records, and you need to get it done, then here is the information that we have.

There is a hospital in Haeundae around the Jangsan area that works with international visas. This is where many Koreans go to get their health checks done for both Canada and Australia. They have a partnership with both governments so they know the process.

The information is below:

Medical and Radiology Clinic
Haeundae Paik Hospital
1435, Jwa-dong
Haeundae-gu
Busan 612-862
Telephone: +82 51 797 0369, 51 797 0370
Fax: +82 51 797 0589
Doctor(s):
Dr Dae Hwan Kim
Dr Sangyoon Lee

I tried calling a few times, there is only 1 nurse that speaks English. She is very kind and very helpful, but it took a few tries to get her to talk to me.

They usually like you to make an appointment, but you can also walk in. The clinic has strange operation times Monday-Friday 8:30-11:30 and Friday 1:30-3:00. I got there at 3:05 on a Friday, and they still took me without an appointment, but I would not suggest it. I paid 55,000 KRW for them to do the X-ray and send the information to the Australian government.

The whole process took about 20 minutes and they only did my chest examination. If you need a full health check, they also can do them at the hospital, but I am not sure about that process make sure you check with the government you are applying with to make sure you will have all the requirements.

The clinic is located in the bottom of the health center, and if you get lost, ask the information desk about “visas” they will point you in the right direction.

 

When you are applying for other visas, make sure that you meet all of the health requirements and have all of your paperwork in order. This place is able to help with an x-ray which though being slightly out of the way for some, was a simple and stress free process.


To get to the clinic

 

Take the GREEN line Subway to station 201, Jangsan. Go out exit 2. Walk straight for 1 really long block. You will pass an apartment complex on your right. When you get to a stop light cross the street and the medical center is on the left side in front of you.

 

Sep 092013
 

Book Street, Nampo, BusanBy Emma O’Flynn

Nestled in the narrow little streets just beyond Gukje Markets, is the cute and quaint, and adeptly named Book Street.  This place is all about the books.  Tiny little stores are stacked from floor to ceiling with books and magazines of every shape and size. Though the selection of English books available is pretty limited, it’s more about the ambience, then any serious book shopping!   The odd coffee shop and vintage store are also thrown in the mix.

Perhaps not something you’d make the journey for specifically, but if you are in the area, the cool shady streets and quirky shops make a welcome relief from the crazy buzz of Nampo and Gukje.

Directions: To get to this area, take exit 7 from Jagalchi Station and walk straight until you reach the next main left turn (the one with Artbox on it).  Take the left and walk up the entire length of this street.  At the top there is an intersection wish an Angels-in-us-Coffee at the other side. Cross over to the coffee shop and bear left, and you should see the narrow entrance of the beginning of the alley starting there.  Alternatively, if you miss that, keep walking and there will be a post shaped like a big stack of books, turn right up into the area from there.


Sep 092013
 

***If you are interested in finding and english speaking doctor the korean tourism website has a chart of location, kind of medicine and language spoken at each spot, it is very helpful and can be located here:

http://english.busan.go.kr/data/main/medical_services_for_foreigners.pdf

 

Of you have ever asked on a busan discussion forum on where to see a doctor you will see people praising Nurse Lee of Dong Eui medical centre and if you are still unconvinced, let me try.

 

First off Nurse Lee is the community liaison for the the medical center. Her job is to make sure that english speakers get the care that they need. In addition she is an RN so she is knowledgeable in both healthcare, and english.

 

My timetable went like this:

 

9:00 AM : Called her number

Nurse Lee “ Hello Ms. Lee speaking”

Fiona “ Do you speak english?”

Nurse Lee “ Of course I speak english, you called the english number”

Fiona laughing now “ well I would like to make an appointment”

*insert going through the process of making an appointment for later on that day*

I thought that the best part was that she was an RN, so felt ok telling her exactly what I wanted to see the doctor for and she was able to make an appointment with the right doctor.

 

She then gives me directions on how to get to the medical center (which I will post below)

 

She also told me to call her when I got there and she would help me find everything that I needed.

 

I arrived at the center about 10 minutes after my appointment but Nurse Lee did not mind and met me in the lobby. She then took me to the section that has the correct doctor in it. I discussed everything with her that I wanted to see the doctor about, and when I got to see the doctor Nurse Lee was there helping translate and filling in things I forgot.

 

After the appointment Nurse Lee told me that the medical center had all departments except for vision which was very helpful. She also advised me that if I want things don’t for a medical examination or need to get shots for traveling then I should come to her with exactly what I want done.

 

She helped me pay, gave me her card, walked me out and sent me straight to the pharmacy.

 

The whole time while we were talking, it was so nice that I could not help but laughing a little on how simple and like home this all felt I was completely comfortable and was able to joke with her like I did with the nurses back home.

 

Nurse Lee has a great sense of humor but she is easygoing and very knowledgeable about health problems that westerns experience. Her job may be to help us, but I can really tell its something that she enjoys doing. She loves speaking english and is able to help with medical problems, which is nice when you are living so far away from home.

 

As far as medical clinics go, Nurse Lee was able to take the guess work out of much of what was happening, she is a great woman and I can see why so many ex-pats sing her praises.

If you would like to reach Nurse Lee her phone number is : 82 51 850 8941 and her e-mail is imc8941@demc.or.kr

How to get to Dong Eui Medical center

Take Orange line Subway to stop 121, Yangjeong. From there go out exit 4. There will be a blue shuttle bus on your left hand side. That bus takes you to the center front doors.

If the shuttle bus is not there and you do not want to wait, then the small bus number 8 will also take you there.

 

Getting a taxi is always an option too.

 

You can walk, but the route is mostly uphill and the shuttle bus is free.

 

Sep 092013
 

***If you are interested in finding and english speaking doctor the korean tourism website has a chart of location, kind of medicine and language spoken at each spot, it is very helpful and can be located here:

http://english.busan.go.kr/data/main/medical_services_for_foreigners.pdf

 

If you have any luck whatsoever, you will never need to visit any of the plentiful skin doctors in Busan. I however, am not a lucky person and have had troubled skin since I was a kid.

I am allergic to most anything, so fancy soaps and cheap jewelry have been annihilated from my life, and sometimes my skin just likes breaking out in random rashes caused by poor air quality, or because its Tuesday.

Without having to go into further medical detail, a good Dermatologist is necessary for my life. My guy back home was the best in the state, it took about a 3 month appointment to see him and not one of his associates and of course his office was always running behind. He was able to diagnose my problems quickly and had samples of expensive medication so I did not have to buy too much of it. The waiting was the worst part, but he was wonderful!

The first time I had to go in Korea was the first week; my co teacher was nice enough to take me to an office that was close to my house the office looked like a doctor’s office back home.  I was able to get everything sorted easily, and since I did not have my medical insurance card at the time the visit cost me a whopping 11,000 KRW. This was really a shock to me, back home, that trip would have cost about 35,000 with brilliant insurance, without it I would be looking at about 100,000 KRW just to get diagnosed. Granted many countries have a much better health care system than the states do, but as an American, this was astounding!

The second time I went, I thought I went to the same office that my co teacher took me to, turns out there is another dermatologist on the 4th floor of the building next to the one that I went to. The office was nicer, and less busy, but looked more like a spa than the other one did. I saw older women come and go and it only took them about 15 minutes to see me (I had no appointment). The clinic seemed to specialize in more “beauty” aspects of dertmology, but they were able to help me with my dermatitis easily. The language barrier was ok, seeing as the doctor knew most words that he needed to communicate to me “ Cold shower” “no jim jill bang” “put cream on arm twice a day”. When I went to pay they told me 35, so I pulled out 3 10’s and a 5. She ended up taking the five because with my insurance the trip cost 3,500 KRW I was more than pleased.

Having insurance helps in Korea, but if you do not, its really not that big of a deal. Going to a dermatologist is easy, there are so many in Busan and the doctors are really friendly and helpful.

If you have something that you are sure you need an English speaking dermatologist for, then ask a Korean friend or Co teacher to help you find one, but if its something simple or obvious, then find one close and don’t hesitate on going. Many places are open until 6 and all of them allow you to just walk in and wait.

I thought I had a good doctor back home, but I am not sure it could even compare to the wonderful experiences I have had here.

 

To go to the one that I had visited its by PNU

Go to the orange line stop 127 Jangjeong Walk out exit 4 and go left. Take your first right down a major street and walk up a block and a half. The buildings are the ones right before the lotte mart and the dermatologist is on the 5th floor of the first bulding, and the 3rd floor of the second. Both speak enough English!

 

Aug 262013
 

Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and deep tissue, need I say more?

 

Company Logo

Company Logo

In Busan there is a wonderful man, named Dr. You. He is trained as an oriental medical doctor as well as a chiropractor. If you ever are having issues and want to try eastern medicine this is your guy.

 

He has gotten one of this medical degrees from Australia, so his knowledge of English is superb. He is also on the stronger side of things, so adjusting Western bodies is easier than say some shorter (smaller) Korean Doctors.

 

Going to his clinic is easy, granted you can call and the receptionists speak Korea, however, they do not take appointments, at least on Saturdays. There is steady business but the most I have had to wait is about 30 minutes. There is a TV in the waiting room, where random Korean shows play, and the room has a nice smell and a comfy couch, so if you bring a book, for the wait, you will be perfectly fine.

 

I was really hesitant at first because I have never tried acupuncture before. I knew I wanted to in Korea, but 1 was afraid of the doctor not speaking too much English, and 2 not really knowing what was going on.

 

When I first got there, he asked why I was in, I told him that I would like an adjustment and I was interested in acupuncture. I have been to a chiropractor for adjustments before, and by golly I adore them. There is nothing better than feeling that place in your back pop that you are not able to get to loosen.

 

Dr. You has a very unique way of adjustment. Unlike my doctor back home who is more focused on the position of the bones, and constant visits, Dr. You takes time to work out muscles as he is adjusting. So, there is an element of deep tissue with it. This is not for the hot stone massage enthusiast. Even with no prevalent ailments, he still managed to work out knots in my back I had been rubbing at for weeks.

 

After, he set me up with a 10 minute session of Acupuncture. I was nervous about this part because it was my first time. Each time a needle went in I could feel a small pinch, nothing to what I was expecting. I only felt about 1 of every 4 that went in too.

 

I laid on my stomach and waited. 10 min went by fast. I was given 10 minutes of “electrotherapy” which I have had before, and it does not hurt. It feels like there is just some slight buzzing but nothing is painful. Finished with 10 minute heat pack and I was out in about 45 minutes.

 

Now, cost. For people without health insurance, for the deep tissue, chiropractor, acupuncture, electrotherapy, and heat pack, it will set you back 50,000 KRW. Coming from the states, I do say, it was fairly inexpensive. Now, I did have health insurance, which take that number and cut it in half. Yes, that’s right, all of that for 25,000KRW.

 

I have to say that  I will for sure be coming back.

Directions:

From Suyeoung  go out exit 10. Walk straight about 200 m and on the corner there will be the clinic on third floor of that building.

http://www.byhand.co.kr/

Aug 262013
 

By Hannah Aauger

mediHyundaeNear Haeundae station hides a very good “통증의학과,” meaning roughly “pain medicine.” This particular specialization focuses solely on muscle pain, combining medicine and science you may find in a hospital with the more holistic massage and electro-shock therapy.

When you first enter, the small, unassuming office is clean, but quaint. Make sure to looks around the corner to your left just after you enter, as a cabinet full of indoor shoes is hidden from plain view.  Luckily, the office does not require any kind of appointment, so you can pop in whenever you are free. Some days you might be ushered straight into the doctor’s office, and on others you may wait around fifteen minutes. If possible, it would be very helpful to have a Korean along, as the staff’s English skills are minimal. Still, the doctor will likely know enough to comprehend your situation; I, personally, have seen him without a Korean-speaker and had no issues.

 In fact, it only took about two minutes for him to discover the cause of my problems. He wrote a prescription for anti-inflammatories and pain killers, and promptly sent me to the next room.

        The second room is equipped for a variety of treatments. For me, I first had my legs elevated and a hot pack strapped onto my knees; after this, I had two stone-cold panels attached to side of my knees. Suddenly, the panels started vibrating and buzzing, and I got a little scared. I quickly realized what I felt was awesome. This electro-shock therapy is intended to help muscles move back to their original place, and break up the knots. At times, the spasms were annoying, but never painful; in fact, my biggest complaint would be that it tickled and my attempts to stifle laughter confused the nurses, all of whom were very accommodating. They even seem excited to have a wayguk in their midst. They often came by just to ask if I was alright, or if anything needed adjusting.

 After a half hour or so of treatment, I was passed back to the front desk. With insurance, it cost anywhere between 5,000 to 8,000\ for treatment, prescription, and diagnosis. Given how cheap and easy the whole experience was I would recommend this place to anyone with muscle pain. If you are scared you may have something funky going on in your joints, this guy can tell you what it is in no time flat. On top of that, any prescriptions you need can be filled just downstairs. Walk downstairs, outside, and to your left (in the same building) is a pharmacy. Look for the green awning with the word “약” in the window.

Directions: From Haeundae Station (exit 2) walk straight to the next three-way intersection. The office is in a cluster of buildings on your left. Go through the door marked “Medi Hyundae” and up the stairs.

The sign is a bit obscured, so also look for the pharmacist (again, green awning, “약” in the window.

Aug 262013
 

By Daniel Benner

 

This decent little gym was pretty close to where I was living in Gaegeum.  While not having a whole lot of amenities, it suffices well enough if you live in the neighborhood and don’t want to do a distant trek for some place further afield.

 

The place has a few machines, all the necessary free weights, about a dozen treadmills, a few stair masters, and also those silly, what I thought were 1950s era belt machines that are suppose to shake out all your belly fat.  Not being too crowded and having a jimjilbang attached is another much appreciated bonus.

 

The place is rather steep, in my opinion, for a monthly membership at 60,000\ a month, but since you can go for a day for only 5,000\ (not including the jimjilbang), I just opt for the daily rate and use it when it’s convenient (I do plenty of other sports and group exercises so I don’t go more than once or twice a week).

 

Directions: From Dong-eui University Station off of the green line 2, go out of exit 7, walk straight until you reach the three way intersection with a stop light, then turn left up the hill (the road is called Gayagongwon-ro).  Walk up until you pass the entrance to a massive apartment complex, and then take the next left down a small, one-way alley.  You’ll see the 사우나 signs about 50 meters down the road on your right.

Aug 262013
 

By Emma O’Flynn

2013-08-15 12.13.57

The Gudok Stadium is within short walking distance from the subway, and offers a pretty decent selection of sporting facilities.  The sports complex has a swimming pool with public swims available throughout the day (swim hat and goggles compulsory attire!).  It is also host to a gym.  The stadium itself, offers free access to the running track, available whenever there are no sporting events on.  It also has an indoor basketball court, and a baseball diamond, though access to these is more controlled.

2013-08-15 12.11.54

The stadium hosts local football (soccer) games for the Busan Transportation Corporation Football Club.  They usually occur on Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons, and are free to attend.  Information regarding game schedules is listed on the Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/events/151294788402845/ .  You can bring any drinks or snacks you like into the stadium.  There are no marts in the stadium, but plenty available on the walk up, so stock up there.

 

T2013-08-15 12.14.09o get to the stadium, take line 1 to Dongdaesin (stop 108), and exit via 1 or 2.  From each of these you walk straight ahead for 3-4min, until you reach the top of the hill, the stadium is directly in front across the road, you cannot miss it!  The sports complex/swimming pool is easy to access by bearing right around the edge of the stadium.  You will see a blue arched roof, aim for that.