Thursday, August 18, 2011

40 Days: In sickness and health (Day 14)

I spent three weeks in a Korean hospital. I had acute pneumonia and was admitted very suddenly.
For 3 weeks I got the following: a bed, doctor visits twice a day, 3 meals a day, medicine 3 times a day (12 pills per meal), an IV every day (sometimes 2) and the head nurse checking up on me twice a day. I also got a fresh set of very fashionable hospital pajamas every day. For all of this I paid the same amount of money as I would have paid for a bed in South Africa. Just the bed. In the ward. Nothing else.

Korea is famous for its cheap healthcare. If you have health insurance you pay even less. It has something to do with the government subsidizing health care. After that traumatizing experience, I fell ill quite a few more times and it was a great comfort to know that I can go to the doctor and get medicine (always 3 days worth of medicine, neatly packed in little paper bags) for the same amount of money I would have paid for a packet of chicken and a bag of apples. No kidding. Except for the dentist, pretty much everything medical is ridiculously cheap: plastic surgery, laser hair removal, IVF, eye surgeryall of these are way more affordable than in Western countries. Ive had my eyes tested for free and only paid for contact lenses and glasses.
In South Africa, where health insurance is expensive and there are a lot of extra hidden costs, I know I will miss the luxury of Koreas health care. But then again, I doubt I will get ill as often at home as I did in Korea.

Looking mighty sexy in my hospital pajamas

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