Read 2362 times

kidney transplant medications/general questions?
« on: October 23, 2011, 12:56:52 am »
Hello everyone,

A friend that currently teaches in Korea recommended me here for information and questions. I must say, I am very impressed with the amount of information on this site. I have recently been looking at getting into teaching myself. I have a concern maybe my kidney transplant medications will be really expensive or hard to get. I am hoping someone here might have some information on this as I can't seem to find any on here or from general websites.

The medications I am worried about are the immunosuppressant meds that are REALLY expensive. I currently take Rapamune and Myfortic if it helps to know which ones.

I guess some questions I have would be:

I assume it isn't very tricky to get them or anything but could it possibly be hard to get them? I go through Iowa City to get the prescriptions out at the moment. Is it possible doctors in South Korea would connect with the ones I use in Iowa City? or would this not be needed anymore?

This isn't regarding the meds, but I connect my local blood draw labs with Iowa City as well. How would this work?

I think this is my biggest question. How affordable would these medications be? Does the health plan cover these? (They are extremely expensive in the states w/o insurance so I'm not sure it will). If not, would I need some kind of private healthcare and is that affordable?

Thanks in advance to everyone providing any type of information. I'm still in my mid 20's and hope I won't run into any major problems in this area because South Korea is very appealing to me.


Re: kidney transplant medications/general questions?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 06:19:52 am »
I think you should put your health before your career right now.  It might make a lot more sense if you come to South Korea as a medical tourist rather than an English teacher right now. 

I am not familiar with the medications you mentioned, but you will have to go to see a kidney transplant surgeon here to even get a prescription.  That means first you have to start off by going to a clinic, like the International Clinic at Severance Hospital, which is considered one of the best hospitals in Korea, and then they would help you get an appointment with a kidney transplant specialist.  You won't be able to walk into a general physician's clinic here, be examined by him or her and then get prescriptions for the medications you need. 

You also need to know that the EFL market here for Native English teachers is rapidly changing.  At least two of the public school organizations, which place people like you and I in their schools as Guest English Teachers (GETs), are  downsizing for various reasons.  It would be difficult for you, new to teaching EFL, to get a public school job in Seoul, or perhaps even in Gyeonggi do, which is the province next to Seoul to the West and South west. 

Teaching EFL can easily be difficult to do (well), culsture shock, language differences, official observervations, working with Korean co-teachers, preparing for classes, doing open classes, or dealing with parents can be very stressful at times.  Stress is often counterproductive to healing.  Heal thyself first and the rest will follow.


Re: kidney transplant medications/general questions?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2011, 07:16:55 am »
I echo what MTBman said before.  To add to what he said about it being difficult to get a job, schools will be resistant to hire your since you have a medical condition.  Even if you're capable of fully performing your job, they will most likely discriminate.  Their thinking: "Why hire this person who's a potential liability when we can hire someone else who's not."  There's loads of people coming to South Korea to teach ESL now; schools have their pick.

I know it sounds rough, but it's unfortunately the truth.  I hope you have a good recovery and good health.  Best of luck.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


Re: kidney transplant medications/general questions?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 01:17:11 pm »
I'm into my 4th year post transplant and everything is great. I definitely wouldn't be looking into a huge move and adjustment like Korea if I wasn't comfortable with my health and feelings toward the culture there =)

I kinda figured things would be similar to how getting my meds works here. I currently have 3 month general checkups for common medications that go with transplants and yearly checkups with the team in Iowa City to get continued scripts for the anti-rejection meds. The thing I can't seem to find much information on is the medical coverage expenses of my anti-rejection drugs. Also, if the ones I take are common for kidney transplants there (I think they probably are (hope) but I'm just not sure they're covered.

I think you answered it best with the main international hospital being the option for most of my needs though. I would feel most comfortable dealing with a great specialist anyway. I expect things to be a bit more expensive in general for people in my position too which wouldn't be a problem. I've also anticipated that finding teaching work in Korean would be rather difficult as you said, but I can't see it being as bad as things are in the states currently.

Thanks for the replies and I'm hoping I can make this work =)


  • Jozigirl
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1045

    • May 03, 2011, 07:37:47 am
Re: kidney transplant medications/general questions?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 05:01:02 pm »
I imagine the meds would be covered by insurance.  I'm on chronic medication after having had my thyroid gland removed and it's covered by insurance but it's a pain in the rear to get it checked as often as they require in order to keep giving me meds.  Would it be possible for you to bring meds with you for the duration of your time in Korea?

I echo what the previous posters said though.  Teaching jobs here are getting harder to find - especially public school jobs.  Employers are hesitant to hire someone who has had major surgery (I didn't get hired initially because I'd had major surgery despite being able to prove that the surgery didn't affect my job performance). 


Re: kidney transplant medications/general questions?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 07:42:47 pm »
There's another thing you should know about Korea and your health.  Every couple of years, NETs are often asked to go for a health check up.  I went and did it and then my co-teacher opened up the sealed envelope in our English classroom, and read it all silently in front of me.  So, if you do get a job and come to Korea, don't be surprised if there is not a lick of confidentiality regarding your health check ups. 

A guy I used to work with has a curved spine, which is readily noticeable if you really look at him.  He guards his personal health information like a hawk.  It helped that one year his co-teacher was also his girlfriend, whom he married a couple of years later.  I think if you should contemplate doing the same.

I think you should go for it.  You have nothing to lose and all to gain.  Best wishes.


Re: kidney transplant medications/general questions?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 10:48:56 pm »
There's another thing you should know about Korea and your health.  Every couple of years, NETs are often asked to go for a health check up.  I went and did it and then my co-teacher opened up the sealed envelope in our English classroom, and read it all silently in front of me.  So, if you do get a job and come to Korea, don't be surprised if there is not a lick of confidentiality regarding your health check ups. 

A guy I used to work with has a curved spine, which is readily noticeable if you really look at him.  He guards his personal health information like a hawk.  It helped that one year his co-teacher was also his girlfriend, whom he married a couple of years later.  I think if you should contemplate doing the same.

I think you should go for it.  You have nothing to lose and all to gain.  Best wishes.

I tend to be fairly open about my past kidney problem if someone were to find out. When it comes to my atrocious luck w/ that whole ordeal I just try and keep people safe/educated. I'm honestly not incredibly shocked either based on what you said. I think the teacher to teacher relationships seem to be good friends in most cases yes? Koreans also seem to be quite upfront about most things too. It was nice of you to bring it to my attention for sure. Anyway, thank you for the positive outlook and I hoping things work out as well. =)