My back is incredibly tense and, cute doctor aside, I do firmly believe that acupuncture makes a difference. The fact that the oriental doctor I visit happens to be an absolute sweetheart and cute is simply a bonus and one that I thoroughly enjoy. Since we are currently working semi-flexi-time at school, I ask to leave school early on Thursday afternoon in order to have a doctor’s appointment. It’s only been about three weeks since my last visit but I really miss chatting with the cute doctor. The coordinator/translator at the Medical Centre seems to think that I only make appointments with the cute doctor because I like him but she’s more than happy to oblige when I text her with a request to make the appointment for me.
I arrive at the Medical Centre’s Oriental Medicine Department and am greeted in the usual friendly manner. As I chat to the coordinator, the nurse joins the conversation saying that she has the same symptoms as me which, honestly, is something of a relief to hear. We probably only chat for about 10 minutes as I sit with the suction caps on my back which, I’m told, draw blood to the surface and help to improve circulation. While chatting, I’m aware of the fact that cute doctor is in the cubicle right next to me treating another patient. As he finishes with that patient, he seems to also become aware of the fact that we’re speaking English in the very next cubicle and I hear the curtain behind me move as a rather excited Dr Kim exclaims something in Korean followed by my name over and over again. I don’t have to understand much Korean to know that he’s asking if it’s really me who’s back and he soon changes to English as he greets me while struggling to contain his apparent enthusiasm. With the suction caps on my back, I’m hesitant to turn around lest I accidentally loosen them so I simply lift a hand an wave while saying hello. Within a minute, he’s gone around to enter my cubicle from the front and seems to have regained his composure slightly; this time he greets me a little more calmly with a "Long time no see" as the nurse leaves with a huge smile on her face. I get the impression my visits to cute doctor are something along the lines of an entertaining Korean drama for the staff in this department.
Long Time No See
As cute doctor asks the usual questions about my symptoms, the translator tells him that the nurse mentioned that she has the same symptoms as me. He seems surprised and calls the nurse over to tell him what her symptoms are because, clearly speaking Korean, it’s easier to hear this from another Korean person than from a foreigner via a translator. He decides that my qui is blocked and hurries to fetch a larger needle than the usual ones for acupuncture. With increasing trepidation on my part, he explains that he is going to use this larger needle to try and unblock my qui which he thinks is causing the tension and pain in my back; I’m not too happy about this new approach but I trust his judgement despite the cautionary voice somewhere inside of me that tells me that this is going to hurt like hell. The voice is right….
Each stab of the needle feels like a hot knife being pushed into the most painful parts of my pain and then wiggled around a little bit to help unblock the passageways that are currently obstructed. I understand that this is not a deliberate attempt on his part to hurt me and cause me further pain but I can feel the tears rapidly springing to my eyes. Pride will not allow me to cry in front of cute doctor but when he starts prodding around my neck with the big needle, I can’t help but freak out a little. I’ve always been sensitive about things done to my and particularly when they involve needles – even more so in the last two years since going through a biopsy for thyroid gland problems leading to surgery to remove my thyroid gland just over a year ago. The neurotic part of me decides that even if this cute doctor, he’s still not going anywhere near my throat with that needle and I sense his hesitancy when I try to express this.
Before I know it, the appointment is over and I seem to have offended him in some way. As I get dressed again, I can’t help but feel a little despondent that today’s appointment has ended so abruptly with him once again returning to the sanctuary of his office. It’s quite a surprise then that the translator insists on me saying goodbye to him on my way out, and even knocks on his office door to tell him that I’m leaving. I’m rather relieved to discover that he is still friendly and happy to chat to me despite my earlier hesitancy with the treatment he recommended. I leave the Medical Centre with a spring in my step and head to the ESL bookstore next to the CGV cinema to purchase our Korean grammar books for our lessons thinking of how much I enjoy just chatting to the cute doctor and wishing that I could see him outside of the hospital sometime.