Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hospital Edition

I'm going to apologize in advance if my writing style isn't up to par. I have seen far too much of this morning for my liking.

There are many things about Korea that rock. The wireless Internet in the hospital is my current favorite thing about Korea.

I showed up yesterday, and after a minimum of fuss found myself in a hospital room with four sick old ladies, two old men, and one healthy old lady. I should give credit to my friend Lisa for making my check in as painless as it was. Her small amount of Korean plus the hospital staffs small amount of English combined to create communication.

Korean hospitals are a wee bit different than the ones back home. One of the biggest differences is that they don't really care if you leave. You tell a nurse, "I'm going to run down the street/visit the hospital restaurant/take a stroll," and off you go. The hospital is also running a million tests just to make sure everything is good for my surgery.

Last night I was scheduled for a x-ray at 8pm. Lisa and I walked out to the nurses station at 7:50, leaving ourselves plenty of time for a quick pre-x-ray pee. A nice Korean woman was waiting for us at the nurses station, but all the nice in the world didn't allow her to understand 1st pee then x-ray. After a quick phone call the head nurse, who speaks a considerable amount of English, tells me that my x-ray is now moved to 9pm and if I could please return to the hospital my then. I tried to explain that I was ready now, if they'd just let me pee first, but it did no good.

My other hospital adventure took place this morning. Somewhere in the dark time of the morning I was awakened by a very friendly nurse who informed me that my nail polish just had to go. It also seemed a good time to have me change into my special surgery hospital gown, which features ties up the entire right legs. So I attend to these things and promptly fall back asleep. I had just begun to get down to dreaming when the nurse returns. She feels that now is a good time to start my IV and check my blood pressure. After all of this I have to pee. On the way across my hospital room I happen to glance at the clock. Oh ya, it's 4:55am.

I finally settle back down into sleep. Somewhere in my sleep there was the turning on of over head lights, what I can only assume was the sponge bathing of my neighbor, and the delivery of a humidifier. Yet I manage to stay mostly asleep through all of this. And then the translator shows up.

The hospital translator is a very nice woman whose English isn't really all that good. I met the translator when I came in to find out about my leg. She gave me her card and wrote a number on it that I was supposed to call if I had questions or needed help with hospital stuff. Yesterday I realized I still wasn't sure about being able to get on the Internet so I called her up. Aside for being pretty sure that the translator thought I was asking her for her computer, not much came of our conversation.

Then she shows up at 8am. She wakes me up to tell me that she's here! Hurray! Oh, and she was in a deep sleep because of stomach discomfort yesterday when I called and woke her up. Have a great morning. See you in recovery.

Ahh, the sweet vengeance of a hospital translator.


  1. Sounds like the maternity ward nurses at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. Waking you up every half hour. We literally had a nurse come in at 3:00 AM and wake us up to ask if she could take out our trash now. WTF?

    Hope you have a speedy recovery.

  2. I'm pretty sure they teach that in nursing school - wait until the patient is just hitting REM sleep, then wake them for some inane test or whatever. If you need a nurse they can't be found, but fall asleep and they come out of the woodwork.

  3. The best was that both mornings at 6am the old lady in the bed next to me got her sponge bath. Nothing says good morning like a sponge bath.