Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Archive for January, 2011

Life in Korea – Hospital Days (3 – The Food)

One thing I remember about missions with Americans in Romania is the breakfast. The Americans liked Romanian breakfast, but after a while they had enough. It was too repetitive – almost every day we had branza (cheese = usually feta), pita (bread) si rosii (and tomatoes). [That does not mean that Romanians do not have other options for breakfast, but usually that is what we had during the summer]. This has a slight parallel to the food here in this Korean hospital. I do not know how hospital food is in other countries, but here it is very predictable.

[All I remember about the food in Romanian hospitals comes from my mother. She was always bringing me the best possible food, and that was not easy during communism when stores were mostly empty. I was drinking peach juice (nectar) etc. From all I remember, there was no food provided by the hospital. You had to bring your own!?]

There are three meals a day here and all of them have rice and kimchi. It does not matter if it is morning or evening, rice (mostly white) and kimchi are always on my plate. They always have a soup (and this is usually different every day), and two other small side dishes. There is a lot of variety for the side dishes!

Most of the food is quite spicy and real flavor (except the spiciness) is not to be found in this hospital Korean cuisine. Thank God for the food my wife brings me etc.

One thing is for certain – I am looking forward to go back home to some outstanding home cooking! But then again, like my mother, my wife is no regular cook! J

Life in Korea – Hospital Days (Part 2)

After a couple of days I was moved in the same room with 4 young guys (19 to 24 years old). They were all fairly athletic, which makes sense because this is a sports hospital. One physical therapist bragged that Park Chu-Young was here last month. Some of the doctors here have photos around the hospital with various famous Korean athletes (Park Ji-Sung etc.). At least one of them seems to be (or to have been) associated with the Korean soccer team.

What surprised me very much in this room was the almost complete lack of communication between patients. I can understand the lack of communication with me because of the language barrier (and perhaps also because of the age difference). But I was surprised to see that almost nobody was communicating in this hospital room.

This lack of communication became most evident when we watched Korea-Australia in Asian Cup 2011. While at that time almost everyone in the room watched the game and people cheered when Korea scored (it ended 1-1), again – there was almost a complete lack of communication.

This is a bit shocking to me, because in a Romanian hospital (I have never been in an American hospital) the patients would probably play chess, backgammon etc…And if there was an important football game, you can bet that they would argue about the line-up, the refs, the coach (in Romania every soccer fan is a better coach than the national coach J) etc.

Now – this is an orthopedic hospital and almost all of us are limping (a few had hand surgeries), so I can see how it would be difficult to play games. But not to argue during an important soccer game, or at least discuss the game, is very very surprising.

Some explanations from my friends:

  1. We were all too drugged! I suppose this is possible, but we weren’t that badly drugged after a few days.
  2. They were all expecting for me to open the discussion because I was the oldest!?
  3. ???

In any case – thank God that people are very friendly here, even if it is in a very silent kind of way! J

Life in Korea – Hospital Days (Part I)

Here I am at United Hospital (any relationship with Manchester United is probably intentional) overlooking the Yang-jae intersection (about 15 minutes walk from my school and Onurri Church).  I can see exits 6 and 7 of the Yang-jae subway station and KFC from my window on the 7th floor! Wave if you happen to be there! 🙂

I haven’t been in a hospital for about 30 years (I was in the hospital in Romania for hepatitis in 1982 or so).  For less than two days (right after the operation) I was in a two-person room, but I was moved yesterday in a six-person room.  I am told that my insurance covers this!?

It seems that the hospital experience is a family experience in Korea.  Under my bed there is another bed that can be pulled out and used.  One person in my room has his girlfriend (?) staying and sleeping there and one has his mother.

Beds in Korean Hospital

When I was in the two-persons room (I was mostly by myself because the other bed was empty) a new patient came.  His mother, father, grandparents and sisters (?) also showed up and they filled the refrigerator (I only had some water and juice) probably feeling sorry for me for having so few things in the refrigerator (?).

It seems that family members can come and leave any time they wish (at least here; this is an orthopedic hospital).

There is no doubt that this society understands well the importance of family in the healing/comforting/encouraging process.

How sad that the church misses many times the importance of community/family in the healing process.  It is never too late to learn and apply!

Isaiah didn’t want to visit me in the first day because he was very sad that his dad was in the hospital.  When he heard that I was feeling better, he couldn’t wait to come the second day.  He came the second day and did not really want to leave…but I needed the rest! 🙂

I finally feel that the toes to my right leg are fine…that is an improvement!