Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Running around Daejeon to get a tetanus shot

I’m cleaning the drain in the bathroom yesterday and when I go to remove the drain cover, it doesn’t budge at first. I try again and too hard this time because I end up cutting myself on one of my fingers.

At first it didn’t look too bad and a Band-Aid was all the cut really needed. However, it had been over 10 years—in fact, 17 years—since my last tetanus shot, so to play it safe I decided that today I would get one.

How hard can it be to get a tetanus shot in Korea, right?

Wait a minute. This is Daejeon and even though I have been here for a year, I still don’t my way around the city too well.

Where the heck am I going to get a tetanus shot?

I’ve only been to the doctor one time here in Daejeon and that was last year when I had come down with a nasty cold. So, I decided to pay him a visit.

Now, the nice thing about having to see a doctor or dentist in Korea—at least in Daejeon or back when I was living in Yonhui-dong in western Seoul—is that you don’t really need an appointment. You just walk in and wait your turn. Sometimes you don’t have to wait long at all.

And then there’s the cost. Not much at all. It’s no wonder that when Koreans get sick they immediately go to a doctor or hospital no matter what ails them. After all, with national health insurance, it only costs a few thousand Won to see a doctor, and in some cases, maybe nothing. That’s what it cost me to see the doctor today.

However, the doctor who runs this internal medicine clinic across the street from Woosong Language Institute was not the doctor I needed to see. I stopped in after my 9:00-10:30 class to see if I could get a tetanus shot. After waiting about 30 minutes to see him, he told me that I would have to go another clinic.

Great. It wasn’t going to be that easy after all to get a tetanus shot.

No problem. The clinic that I had to go to—an orthopedic clinic—was just down the street, about a fifteen-minute walk.

Strange, I could only get a tetanus shot at an orthopedic clinic (or a hospital had I elected to go that route).

So, it was off to this other clinic where I ended up having to wait almost 45 minutes before I finally got my tetanus shot. Fortunately some of the staff spoke a little English and the doctor spoke pretty good English, so I was in good hands when it came to explaining what I needed.

The doctor told me that I could expect some side effects like sweating, soreness in my arm, and a fever. He also advised me not to take a shower until tomorrow. What’s that? I can’t take a shower until tomorrow? Hmm… I have never heard of that before. Any doctors out there want to respond to this kind of injection after care?

And, as it turned out (because this was an orthopedic hospital) the doctor I talked to can also help me with my carpal tunnel syndrome. Cool. Now I don’t have to worry about trying to locate a doctor.

Although I didn’t have to pay anything for consulting with the doctors, I did have to pay for the tetanus shot—25,000 Won, about $25.00.

Well, in the end it wasn’t that much running around after all. I got my shot and was back home around noon to rest up an hour before teaching again in the afternoon.

1 Comment

  1. Hey there!

    I’m also a Daejeonite and I just happened upon your post. I’ve been suffering from tendonitis and I want to see a an orthopedic doctor. Where was this doctor located? I’m pretty desperate at this point since I can’t even raise my arm is hurts so much.

    I’m located in Kwejong-dong by Yongmun station.

    Hope you can help me out!

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