Thursday, September 7, 2017

Summer Vacation, Part 2: Getting My Wisdom Teeth Removed in Gangnam--and Flying to Jeju (23. Aug.'17)

Wait, what?
Are you serious?

Yes, I am.

Early Wednesday morning, I took the KTX to Seoul and transferred through the labyrinth that is Seoul's metro system to get to my dental appointment in "The Oaks Dental Clinic" in Gangnam.

Initially, the idea was to see if I needed to have my wisdom teeth removed.
In the States, I was told I had to have all 4 of mine taken out (for USD 3,000+). In Korea, however, I was told that I didn't need to have any taken out.
Let me get a 3rd opinion. Third time's the charm, right?

At least there was a Canadian (NOT the actual dentist, but he was the middle man, apparently the interpreter), so language wasn't an issue.
They said I needed to have my 2 right wisdom teeth taken out as a preventative measure. Let's do it now.
I asked a ton of questions. Fine, let's get this done and over with.

It took the dentist about 20 minutes to get my lower wisdom tooth out (with anesthesia, drilling it in pieces, and pushing/pulling with all his strength). The upper tooth was out within a minute. Oh, did I mention my wisdom teeth weren't out? Yeah, getting the bottom tooth was basically surgery. I even had a stitch. The upper tooth was coming out, so that may have helped to get it out quicker.

Just to think, this was my first major dental operation, my first surgery, my first time receiving anesthesia . . . And I was flying to Jeju within 5 hours later.

As soon as I was done. See? My right side was swollen already.

So, I suffered a bit (I think my jaw was more sore from the dentist's pushing and tugging than from the wisdom tooth itself), but my wallet didn't suffer so much. With the national health insurance every Korean employee receives through his employer, all of this (check-up, x-ray, operation, anesthesia, removing 2 teeth, then prescription afterward) came up to \134,800 KRW (convert to your currency here).

And this was done in Gangnam: the most expensive area in Seoul/Korea!
Compared to the States, this price is pocket change!

In case you're interested.

With my mouth's right side going from numb to sore, a printed list of instructions, and a small gift bag; I automatically wandered back to Seoul's metro, auto-piloting my way to Gimpo Airport.

I made it with hours to kill, so I relaxed as best as I could (given the circumstances) and made some mental notes for when I would fly back.

Like seeing where to find my bus back to Cheonan.

and the times when the Cheonan bus would leave Gimpo.

Being in Gimpo, I realized there was something I forgot. Oh, true, I did forget my umbrella at the dental clinic, but I meant something else. (I called them, and they held my umbrella there until I returned 10 days later).
Gimpo Airport is an old building. Guess who was remodeling?
Also, Korean airport security doesn't care about how much liquids you carry in your carry-on. As in, I have a 700 ml water bottle that was halfway full. I started drinking it like crazy when I was in line at security. I was going to take out my liquids, but they didn't say anything. I left them in my backpack to see what would happen. Nothing.
Apparently, since it's a domestic flight, no one cares about how much liquids you carry on board with you.
So I chugged a bunch of water (with a sore right side) for nothing. Well, I need to drink more water anyway.

Walking towards my gate in Gimpo. Recently remodeled.

I board, fly, doze off and on, and land in Jeju.
Oh, it's so sweet to not have any checked-in bags. I can literally walk out without anyone or anything stopping me (other than doors that won't open).

Jeju Airport has a new parking garage! Just a matter of time.

The first person I met was a former-colleague from Jeju SDA Language Institute. We ate, walked around, and got caught up with each other.

Practical bridge railings.

Organic shop selling local, packaged items.

Smallest shopping carts I've ever seen.
Afterwards, it was off to my hostel (Hostel Lyndon) to get some rest after a full, intense day.

Next: meet other former-colleagues and students, and try to get more glimpses of the changes that have occurred in Jeju since my last visit 2.5 years ago. 

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