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Day ~8 of sore throat (tonsilitis)


I am a 20 year old male from the U.S. Last week on Tuesday, August 11th, I began to feel a post nasal drip on-coming. Then promptly the next morning I had a sore throat. The severity quickly increased that day and into the next morning when I decided to call my doctor. I easily noticed that it was my left tonsil that was extremely swollen and the other was either normal or just slightly enlarged. My doctor decided I definitely had tonsillitis, no tests were done, and prescribed me amoxicillin 500 mg for the normal 3x/day. The most important thing here is that I was kind of in a hurry to get better because on the 17th I was flying out to Seoul, South Korea to begin my semester of study abroad at Yonsei University. So I took the amoxicillin along with ibuprofen for the pain and swelling for 3 days, with no results. My tonsil simply got larger and more painful to swallow. Sleeping was difficult. On the 16th, the day before my flight, I decided that I need to see another doctor. I headed to a clinic nearby my home and was checked out again. The doctor said he wouldn't have prescribed me amoxicillin, which I thought ok maybe this guy knows what he's talking about. We did a mono test, came back negative, but did not do a strep test because he convinced us its results are not very reliable. He then prescribed me a 5-day azithromycin antibiotic, 250mg per dose i believe, where you take 2 the first day and 1 the following 4.

Unfortunately, either Sunday or overnight the back and side of my mouth became more swollen and tender, probably my tonsil as well, and talking became painful and my voice sounded nasally and terrible. So here I was on Monday, my flight at 2:00pm with barely sleeping for days, barely eating outside of liquids, and talking was painful and taxing. I almost didn't take my flight because frankly I was scared about getting treatment in South Korea if my condition didn't improve. But I took the grueling 14 hour flight and made it to South Korea, where I am now.

Once in South Korea, I decided that I need to see another doctor. I am studying at Yonsei University, and the program I'm doing has various orientation things this week. One of these things was a medical briefing at Severence Hospital, right on the campus. My plan was to see a doctor after that briefing. Well on Wednesday afternoon I made a mistake by eating a normal meal of korean food because the pain was somewhat numbed from ibuprofen. Well quickly after that I had terrible pain because there must have been great irritation. So I asked my program coordinator about the ER and she offered to have to someone bring me to the international clinic right then (since it closes at 5:30pm daily). So I went to the clinic, and was seen by an English-speaking Korean doctor. I told her my situation, and she prescribed me two antibiotics, tylenol-er and a gargle. She gave me Suprax (cefixime 100mg), Fullgram (clindamycin hcl 150mg), tylenol-ER 650mg and a 10% betadine gargle. I had hopes that this new round of meds would actually make a change, where the previous two seemed to have little effect, even though I only gave the amoxicillin and azithromycin three days before i returned to the doctors due to worsening symptons. I asked the doctor if there was any indication of a perintonsillar abscess, which she said she can't tell without imaging. She said to come back if it doesn't begin to improve in 3-4 days, and she'll refer me to the throat specialist at the hospital at Severence, where I'll probably get a ct scan and iv antibiotics. I really hoped that these would be my cure and I wouldn't require any actual treatment.

Right now it is about 24 hours after meeting that doctor, and I have taken 3 doses of everything except for only 2 for Suprax since it is twice a day. Gargling is extremely difficult, making its benefits probably limited. At this point I would say my symptons haven't gotten worse since Monday, which would be about three and a half days. Swallowing is still difficult, the tylenol and ibuprofen help with the pain but I cannot eat actual food and am limited to smoothies and yogurt currently, which I have been buying at the convenience store and small cafes in my dorm building. Since I am not resourceful in South Korea yet I don't know where to get what I would need or what I need, especially since most food labels are in only Korean. Sleep has been a constant struggle, where I can only sleep for two hours at the most usually until I wake up in pain and feel intense swelling in my throat. Each night/day I usually sleep in these two hour stints about 2 or 3 times, so i guess thats 4-6 hours of sleep but I haven't been very diligent about keeping track.

Sorry for dragging the story out, but I felt the details were necessary to get a better idea of my situation and sickness. So basically I was just wondering if anyone could provide me any advice about this. I haven't had a horrible sore throat from strep or whatever it is for awhile, it definitely has been a few years. I'm hoping that these antibiotics do help me and I will recover in the next week, but I am not completely confident since that is exactly what I thought about the last two antibiotics. I'm nervous about getting further treatment in South Korea; a ct scan and iv antibiotics, or if they find an abscess possible draining or worst case having to get surgery to have my tonsils removed or something. The hospital at Yonsei, Severance Hospital, is supposed to be very good and who knows, it might even be better than what I would be getting back home in the U.S. I'm just nervous about medical costs and being somewhat incapacitated from having to undergo some type of treatment and missing even more of my orientation and class if it continues for that long. Yesterday I thought that if it doesn't get better after this set of antibiotics that I should just try to fly home. I think I'm feeling better about trying to get treated in South Korea now, but medical costs might prove to be a barrier since I don't have a credit card. I will definitely give it the next 2-3 days to see if it improves, otherwise I will head straight back to the hospital to see what else can be done. I am just truly sick of not being able to eat, sleep, difficult swallowing, and it being impossible and painful to speak. As I speak I am planning on spending all of today and tomorrow simply resting in my dorm while all the other students are exploring Seoul.

Any advice or support is highly encouraged. Message boards about people in similar situations has been probably the only thing keeping me going the past few days as I suffer alone.

Last question: does anyone have any idea if the hospital would accept a credit card over the phone? My parents have a health debit card that they said I could use, but I just don't know if they would accept it. I know no one probably knows the answer to this and I should just ask someone here but since I'm throwing everything out there I might as well stick this in as well. In South Korea they don't bill you but instead make you pay right then and there. On the plus side it seems that medical expenses are much cheaper, considering it was about $70 to see the doctor and only about $34 for all the medications I received.

Thank you.

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