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.

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