Saturday, May 30, 2015

In-patient surgery in Korea: Same Same but Different

You probably heard that Jim slipped in our bathroom and dislocated his elbow and broke his arm. We went to the ER at Samsung Hospital last Saturday and it was confirmed that it was a bad break and would require surgery. 

In the ER, we met Dr. Han the resident who seems to live here. He checked Jim out and said we'd need the final word on the time of surgery from "the professor". It was a holiday weekend, so after waiting a while, they called the professor again and then just wrapped Jim up and told him to come back on Tuesday. 

The famous Professor!
The professor said it was a bad break and confirmed that he'd need to operate. The surgery was scheduled for Thursday. Jim had to check in Wednesday night for a Thursday 12pm surgery. By Thursday at noon he was so bored and hungry, that it was pretty bad news when he found out surgery was pushed back to 2:00. 

Samsung texted me information about start and end of surgery
Jim coming out of anaesthesia was full of nice things to say about me. 
Who wouldn't say nice things to a person who takes their
picture as they're coming out of anestesia?
Jim has a room with just one other person, which is "VIP" since typical is 6 people to a room.
Jim did not fit in the bed
We found out through friends that, in Korea, it is expected that a family member stay at the hospital to help the patient-the whole time they're here. I wasn't prepared for this, but was told by a friend the day of surgery that I needed to be there. (Interesting fact: You can hire an ajumma to help take care of you if you don't have family to care for you).

Friends really rallied. Rides, sleepovers, and food for the kids; clean clothes and toiletries, and visitors for me and Jim. If you want to feel warm and fuzzy, you should dislocate and break your arm so badly you need surgery-you'll get that feeling either from your friends or from the morphine.

This is what we used during the first night when the
first pain medication didn't work

Gross. Jim had this drainage thing hooked up to him for a couple days
two screws in there-see them?
there they are
woah. There's another cut like that on the other side too

We went for days without being near the kids, which was unsettling to all of us. We got a call from school that Ruby was distressed, so the assistant principal pulled them both into his office so we could skype.

 We finally got to see them when they showed up with friends of ours and a huge assortment of treats from Starbucks!
Friends visited and brought us so many treats

Jim's roommate's ajumma shared her tea with us
Hospital selfies!

The view from the room (Jim got the window side!)
Behind every Famous Professor, there is a resident who doesn't stop working...Here's Dr. Han!

It's been a very difficult week, but it's really been great to have this terrific sense of support and community.

Friday, May 8, 2015

We should take this on the road

All three of the Farley children showcased their talents at the talent shows at their schools.

Grace (2nd grade) did a sweet hoola-hoop routine:

Ruby (2nd grade) and friends did a silly person dance (Ruby is in the back...just watch it):

And August (Pre-school) was an "American Comedian" (his title):

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A short trip to Taean, South Korea

Right now we have what I like to call "2nd Spring Break". Friday was Korean Labor Day and Tuesday is "Children's Day" and our school has lumped them into a nice long weekend where we have Friday, Monday and Tuesday off of school. Awesome!

We decided to check out Taean. I can't believe we've been here 3 years and never gone to the coast. There is a lot of talk about the beaches of Korea-but mostly people only mention Jeju and Busan, and we've visited both, but I liked Taean so much more.
Here's a map showing you roughly where we went 
We left Thursday as soon as school was over.

The drive was fairly simple: 3 highways and we seem to have left early enough to have avoided holiday traffic. The drive was beautiful!

Let me tell you about getting a hotel in a country where you don't speak the language-it's not that easy. There were a few places on airbnb and other English sites, but not much. My Korean friend helped and within a few minutes she'd found a nice "pension" (guesthouse) for us. As we got closer to our pension, the map became less clear, while highways are easily and clearly marked, the small roads are more difficult to figure out. That is how we ended up in the rice fields. We were suddenly on a very narrow road with a drop off into a saturated rice field on either side. We pulled over to let a truck go by. The driver of the truck recognized that we were obviously lost. I got out and showed him the address. He called the pension for us and decided it would be easiest for us to follow him.

Thanks to the farmer, we made it to our pension. We asked the owner about where we could get Korean bbq for dinner and he pointed to just down the street. We checked out the shore and looked for food.

There were several restaurants, but they only served octopus. 

Check out this guy-he almost escapes the tank!

Here's something else we learned about staying at a pension in Korea. Most people bring all the stuff you need for Korean bbq with them and the pension sets up a grill for you. After coming back without having eaten at any of the local restaurants, we had some questions about where to go for food, the owner of the pension had us get in his car.  We weren't sure what we were doing, we thought he was taking us to a restaurant, but we put the pieces together when we arrived at a grocery. While at the grocery we got our bbq things, drinks and food for breakfast.

When we got back, the owner set up the grill for us and we cooked our dinner right next to our picnic table.

After dinner the owner showed the kids how to set off fireworks.

The next morning, we packed up and headed to the beach. Not far from our pension, we found a trail head at Taeanhaen National Park. The trail is 9km and goes into the forest and along the shore. It was so beautiful.

The beach was beautiful too. Too cold to swim in, but the kids waded in and played in the water anyway.

We explored more of the island, and eventually ended up at the Resom resort, which basically has a variety of hot tubs and pools outside, right next to the ocean.

The kids swam until they were a little blue and very wrinkley. We got back in the car and headed the 2 and a half hours back to Seoul.

This sign is for the "Seasoning Vegetable Research Ins"

We were sure we would see this tip, but it didn't
Look at August, fast asleep within a few minutes.

I can't wait to go back to Taean. I can't believe more people don't talk about this place as a top location to see when living in Seoul. It's beautiful and easy to get to. We'll definitely be back.