For the last three to four months I’ve had some pain extending my big toe backwards and putting weight on it. I’m not sure how it happened, but I assume it was while BreeAnn and I were training for the 10k. I had asked my friend Justin, who’s in medical school what he thought, and in his opinion it was turf toe , an injury that is cause by hyper-extending the toe. I trusted his opinion, but it just wasn’t getting any better. Since medical care is pretty cheap in Korea, I thought that I should get it checked out before returning to American. I’m hoping to exercise some since I’m planning on eating about 90% of the time.
So on Friday after school I went to the only English-speaking doctor I know of. After having a brief chat about natural disasters in America he took a look at my toe. He asked me some questions in his office but then led me into a separate room with several beds and patients in them. And then I remembered.
Last time I came here with some back pain he had me lie down and get a shot in my back that I was pretty reluctant to get. And in the end, it didn’t really help. He attended to the other patients with a nurse and when he got to me I saw his cart of needles and I knew what he was about to do. He asked me to remove my socks while he moved my toe around. After poking around he found the source of the pain and told the nurse to get a shot. Before he even started preparing my injection I decided to voice my concerns, “Umm, I’m not really sure I want a shot in my toe.” To which he replied, “Why? Is it because you are scared?” And honestly that wasn’t really the reason. I grew up with my dad getting shots in his back and feet all the time, and he told me they were somewhat painful but nothing I was really afraid of. My questioning came from my experience in America that pain is first treated with medication and exercises to stretch and/or strengthen that area. Here is seems like everything is solved with a shot. “Where does it hurt?” “Here.” Boom there’s a shot.
After talking to me for a while about the benefits of an injection he left me. Like a good car salesmen he left me to think about my decision. Would I trust the doctor who as a degree or trust myself? In the end I decided to trust him. And hey, the shot would be about $12, so no big loss.
The nurse held down my leg while the shot was being administered. Afterward the doctor, speaking like he was at a healing ceremony immediately to stand up and get into a position that causes the pain. I got into a push-up position. He asked me on a scale from 1-10 how much pain I felt. I said, “Probably about a 1.” But in my head I thought, “Of course I don’t feel any pain, I just got a shot directly into my foot with pain killers in it.
We stepped back into his office, the doctor very happy with himself. He then asked me why I was so nervous in there, that I should relax, and that “many old women come here, get shots, and have great strength.” “Good for them”, I thought. I’m in a foreign country, where I don’t understand the language, cultural differences, medical practices, and I had questions like, “What’s exactly in that shot that’s going into my body?”. So yeah, I’m a little nervous
It’s been a couple of days since my doctor’s appointment and my foot is actually feeling better. I have more range of motion and less pain. And what can I say? No matter how stressful or painful of a time that it was, in the end, it’s hard to argue with results.