My Summer Update
Who would have thought a pair of crutches would be my best friend?
I thought I better let you know what had happened to me and update my condition. Well…, as some of you know, I was in the process of moving back to U.S, and in the meantime with summer break I was enjoying my vacation in Korea throughout July with my family. But it turns out that I have to rely on these crutches for the next few months. Here is the story.
July 12th, Friday
I took my family and my nephew to ride ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) in Gangwon province which is on the east coast of Korea. It was raining a little but still good enough to enjoy the outdoor on the hilly rural area of beautiful east coast.
The first 30 minute ride was great and we were having fun. Then we were heading to more slopped rocky area to challenge. My ATV slipped off on a ditch, and I sprang out from the vehicle and fell off like a rag doll on the ground. I landed on my left side of hip very hard.
‘Uh-oh, this is not good…’ I knew right away something bad happened to my leg because I felt excruciating pain on my left thigh. The pain was unbearable and I couldn’t even get myself up. Luckily my husband was right behind me and saw the whole accident.
I was shipped to the local emergency and took an X-ray. They found the fractures on my femur bone below the hip joint. The local doctor said that I needed a surgery soon and recommended to go to a bigger hospital in Seoul. We had to arrange a private ambulance to ship me and my families to Seoul. It was getting darker and the rain was getting heavier. With Friday evening traffic, it took 2 hours to reach to our designated hospital – the Severance hospital in Seoul. My young son thought it was so cool to see all the vehicles on the road were making a way for us to pass. Even with a pain killer I was in misery especially when the ambulance was hitting on all the bumps and turns on the road.
We arrived in Seoul very late night and went through more tests and X-rays. The diagnose was “Intertrochanter fracture”. There were fractures below the hip joint on the the top of femur bone. The resident doctor came and explained the injury and the types of surgery I needed. The surgery was scheduled to be on the next morning. I don’t even remember how I spent the night.
July 13th, Saturday
10 am. They took me to the operation room and injected epidural on my spine to make my legs numb. I finally met the orthopedic surgeon – Dr. Yang. He briefly explained what he is gonna do with the surgery.
“Please, do your very best so that I will walk with my two legs again!”. I asked him.
“Of course you will.” He smiled and affirmed me that everything will be alright.
The operation began and the doctor inserted titanium rods and screws on my femur. The surgery went for 2-1/2 hours and I was awake most of the time. Yes, I heard the sound of drilling when the doctor was inserting the screws on my bone! Listening to the horrific sound of someone inserting metal rods and screws to my leg in a very cold operation room was something I will never forget rest of my life. I felt extremely cold and they piled up more blankets on my torso.
I prayed. Prayer has an immense power to bring peace to one’s mind. It always has been a source to gain strength when I need. And it became a way to express my gratitude for what I am blessed with. I believe that humble and sincere prayers do bring personal inspirations.
What was my inspirations? Well, the very first thought came to my mind was that I would totally be destined to get caught at metal detectors in every airport. You gotta have some humor even during your lowest moment. Right? But throughout all the ordeal, I had a comforting feeling that I would be okay. And I consider myself lucky to have accident like this happened in Korean where I could get a quality medical service.
The surgery was successful according to doctor and I spent the next 4 days in the hospital. My poor husband, who came to Korea to spend 1 week of his vacation, had to spend most of his time on my bedside. 🙁
July 14th, Sunday
Since my body was linked with so much of medicines (pain killers, antibiotics, etc), I was drowsy most time and I couldn’t eat as much as I should. However the hospital care and the medical service was great.
Dr. Yang visited me every morning leading a dozen of his residents and intern doctors – quite usual scene in large Korean hospitals.
I guess the knee surgery is considered as the most painful one to recover of all the surgeries.
I shared the hospital room with an 80-year-old lady who just had a knee surgery. She was in a great pain and whining every moment I can remember. In fact the most people in the hospital ward I was staying were the elderly. Some had hip surgeries, some spine, and some knees. One lady told me that I look too young to have a hip joint surgery without knowing what had happened to me.
Seeing these elderly people suffering from their injuries or illnesses caused by old age made me ponder of the later stages of our lives. No one can avoid from getting old, and your body will deteriorate as you get older. I think I gained a great deal of understanding and compassion to elderly people. Taking care of our health and our body while we are young is extremely crucial to obtain better life in the later stage.
I was encouraged to move around with crutches but every move I made I felt so much pain especially with sitting up and down.
I left hospital and stayed in a hotel with my family to recover more before flying to U.S.
Spending most of time either on the couches or on the bed, I became THE couch potato. I think I’ve watched more Korean TV shows in this week than I did in my entire life.
First few days, walking was painful even with crutches. I tried many different types of pain killers that doctor prescribed but none seemed to work except they made me drowsy. I had to get self-injected blood clot shots for 10 days (with a help of my husband). I had a visiting nurse checking on me every few days to sterilize my wound and make sure it didn’t get any infection.
I think the worst part was that I was not allowed to take a shower for 10 days to avoid any possible infection caused by water. Please, don’t try to imagine how I would look. I felt extremely gross. I had my husband wipe my body with a damp clothe, but my hair? Luckily my hotel was a serviced apartment so there was a kitchen sink. I managed to wash my hair like I would wash the Korean noodles.
Because of my unexpected accident, I had to make many changes to our family’s summer plan. My initial plan of traveling around many places of Korea and taste the local foods (and I was going to blog about it… ) had been cancelled. It will be a few more years for me to get another chance to travel in Korea. What a bummer!! I am sad. Very very sad. 🙁
My families and I flew from Seoul to Denver. I am so glad that I didn’t pass out. I lied down and slept most time.
July 25th-August 13th
I am staying in my in-laws in the suburban area of Denver.
The pain is subsiding slowly and I can handle about 50% weight bearing on my left leg with a help of crutches. I have seen the orthopedic doctor here and he said I might need at least 12 weeks not only for the fractured bones but also the damaged muscle tissues and ligaments to heal. It has been 4 weeks since my surgery, which means I have 8 more weeks to go, at least. Arrrrgh!!!
According to my research, this type injury might take 3-6 month to heal, and some even needs 1 year to recover fully to go back to normal everyday life. Thinking about the whole recovery process plus being a couch potato myself at this moment is not exciting at all.
Please, allow this quirky petite middle aged Korean lady to be depressed for a moment.
Okay, I am done feeling blue…
Denver is great. I always have loved this beautiful place. The air, the mountain, and the food (especially the Mexican food)… “Me guesta la comida Mexicana!!!”
As I am sitting in front of the computer to recall the past one month of my unfortunate event, I see many birds flying outside of the window. They all come down to feed themselves on the bird houses and bird baths in the neighbor’s yard. I so envy these birdies right now. Being able to move your body freely is a precious gift that we should be thankful for.
I am praying that I will get on my two feet on the ground again soon and do the things I do without the pain and the discomfort. The time will come eventually. I just have to be patient and be active. Hopefully I will be able to go pick some apples and patch some pumpkins with my kids in the fall. I am crossing my fingers!
I will try to post some pictures I took in Korea next time, if I can manage. I hope you all are having a great summer and getting ready for a beautiful fall.
Just found your blog…..hope you have recovered by now!
Sorry about your accident. I can totally empathize ’cause 1 1/2 ys ago I broke my kneecap and have been dealing w/it since then. Like you, I got very good medical care, so we are both very lucky. Like you, too, I had my moment(s) when there didn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. Things are better, the same and not all mixed up! I’m back to being quite independent (yay!) = better; my life is like before = the same; I can drive, but no longer enjoy doing it = not. In the end, I’m very grateful that I have my limbs and can move ~ sometimes like a peg leg pirate and not graceful, but, hey, I can still move!!! Thank you for sharing through your blog AND your English is quite terrific!
I check back often in hopes of hearing good news in your recover. Be well.
so sorry for your injury. Its been months since your post. Praying you are ok and will return to us soon!
I just got introduced to your website through a good friend of mine in Cambridge, ON, Canada. Today, I made the meat ball soup and my husband and I loved it so much. It was a great success! Then I read your recent update about the surgery and moving back to Denver. I feel so sorry about the pain you had to go through. I really really hope you get better soon.
so far 7 people ,including both of my daughters, have started making kimchi thanks to your site. I feel like the Johnny Appleseed of Kimchi..this stuff is not only wonderful in flavor but I truly believe it adds to over all health and certainly is a wonderful aid to weight loss. please let us know where you settle in the U.S….did you know Duluth , Ga has an enormous Korean population?
It’s a joy to have found your site, I thank Google and my being into Korean food or basically anything Korean. I find your post engaging, entertaining and refreshing. So far I tried two of the recipes posted in here and it’s awesome and really easy to follow although i have to admit that finding the ingredients turns out to be a scavenger hunt (I am from the Philippines but I’m UAE based for the time being.) It’s worth it though. 🙂
I’m sorry to read about your accident and I pray that you’ll get well soon.
Lastly I want to thank you for sharing your time with everyone with these post. God bless you!
Holly, I am so sorry to hear about your accident and wish you a full recovery. You’ve said it will take a while before you can get back on your own 2 feet but in the meantime, I guess you can take the chance to slow down and do what you don’t have time for usually. Maybe read some books, watch movies, do some crafting, and start discovering more blogs online to read and follow so that you are fully inspired for when you are ready to run around and cook again =)
hope you’re getting better…klutz that i am I had forgotten this…look forward to you posting again.
Oh Holly! I am so sorry to hear you got hurt, I would have loved to see pictures! I can only imagine how painful that was, you being able to update and write about what happen is enough! Please get better…
Oh no! You are so brave! Hugs to you, Holly! Hang in there! xoxo
I don’t know you but feel very sorry for what happened to you. And I am glad that you are getting better now.
I had intensive foot surgery almost 4 months ago and while I can move around quite well, I am still struggling with swelling and pain.
However – it’s all about getting better. I pray that you will be able to enjoy life without crutches again very soon!
So sorry to hear about your accident Holly. Wishing you a very speedy recovery. You are a brave, positive woman. Thank you for sharing your ordeal with us, looking forward to reading about your home-cooked dishes in the near future…
Oh dear….. so sorry about your injury, wishing you a speedy recovery. From your post I could tell that you are such wonderful person with beautiful soul and positive attitude. People like you are getting lesser in today’s society, so good to know there are still some handful of beautiful soul like you. Take care, God bless. 🙂
I just found your page and soooo happy I did because I fell in love with it right away <3<3 I am sorry to hear of your accident and hope you are recovering well:)) After reading your entire story you sound like a wonderful person who is full of life and I love that . Yes I totally agree that it is crucial to take care of our bodies and minds while we are younger so when we get older we can prevent a lot of medical issues:)) Take care of yourself and looking forward to your wonderful recipes<3<3
Oh no, poor you!! I am sorry to hear this!!
What I love the most about your blog (besides the truly fantastic recipes!) is your spirit — it is such a relief to read that this terrible accident has not spoiled that. This is an unfortunate turn of events, but I have faith that you will keep your head up and stay strong through the journey of recovery! My thoughts are with you and I wish you a speedy recovery.
Since you’re mostly sedentary now, you may be on the look out for interesting reads online (I know I am — I’m merely sick in bed, but I’m already running out of things to do!) You may have already seen this, but just in case you haven’t, this is an interesting article about MSG and the unami flavor: http://www.buzzfeed.com/johnmahoney/the-notorious-msgs-unlikely-formula-for-success
H! Get well soon.
Wishing you a full recovery. Give your body all the time and everything it need to heal. Our bodies are resilent when you give it all is need. Take good care.
Oh dear! Sorry to hear about your misfortune, Holly. Have a speedy recovery, plenty of rest and take it easy.
Have a speedy recovery! Take care
Hope the recovery is coming along well. No doubt you are itching to get back to 100%.
I’m so sorry to read about your accident, I wish you would be my neighbor so i can make you a caldito de pollo (Chicken soup) for your prompt recovery, that’s how my grandma and my mom used to care for a sick child back in Mexico. Anyhow I hope as every day pass your ailments diminish and get a full recovery pretty soon. Greetings!
oh my! and I thought having carpal tunnel release and not being able to cook was bad! Sending good vibes for a speedy recovery… and yes, Mexican food is awesome, but I can’t say I like it more than Korean, 50/50! My Mom is Korean and my Dad is Mexican.
Oh dear Holly! I’m very sorry to hear about the accident and your injury! I hope you recover well and soon! I know it can be depressing but keep pray and hold on to your positive sprit! Blessings! Xo
So sorry to hear what had happened to you. Only glad that going forward, it can only be better for you. Reading your blog, i felt your amazing spirit and strength. Take care and speedy recovery!
wow what a vacation u’ve had ma wee friend .. Sorry to hear of ur injury .. glad you are on the mend .. remember slow n steady wins the race .. it will take time so be patient .. Enjoy Denver sending hugs n luvs across the miles <3<3
Aigoo!!! Get better!!! I’m sorry this happened, but (like everyone else) I’m glad it wasn’t worse!
I feel so sad reading what happened but you are a positive & cheerful person that you can even make a joke out of what happened to you. Wash your hair like how you wash the Korean noodles ? haha….Everything happened for a purpose and I’m sure GOD allowed this to happen for a reason. But GOD will take good care of you as you look upon him. My prayers are with you and you will be well again ! 파이팅 !
Hope you get well soon.
Oh no, Holly, what a stinker of an accident! Sending you many good vibes for a speedy recovery.
You have an amazing attitude and spirit…it inspires me and I’m sure others around you 🙂 Hope you have a full recovery!!
You poor thing I am making kimchee today and was checking the receipe then I saw your story. I feel so bad for you , pain is the worst. (I have shoulder pain problem). Anyway, I wish you a smooth and quick recovery.
I’m so, so sorry to get your news. I wish you get better every day! Be strong !
I learned a lot about korean cooking from your recipe, I really wish I can help you to cook now, but I live far from Denver, sorry again.
Your blog funs who miss you from Montreal .
May you fully recover from this injury, Holly. When you don’t know what to do, watch some episodes of Keeping Up Appearances, it always cheers up!
Wondered why your blog was so quiet. So sorry that you had to go through all that. Get well soon. I hope and pray that everything will heal well.
Praying you will fully recover, be as good as new, and up and about very soon..God Bless you..still cheerfully sharing and making so many of us smile despite the discomfort you have had to endure.Thank you Holly.
Sorry, to read about your accident and injury. Hope, you’ll fully recover soon!
I wish and pray for your fast recovery. Stay safe always!
I was wondering about you, Holly! I’m so sorry to hear your accident and injury. I pray for speedy recovery and send you positive energy and thoughts on your way! Welcome back to the US! 🙂
I am sorry to hear about your accident. You were dearly missed! Get well soon.
Here’s to your healing well and soon.
So sorry to hear what had happened to you. Hope you have a speedy recovery and back on your feet again.
I noticed you hadn’t posted in a while and was just wondering how your move went. So sorry this happened! I am glad you are healing well.
Oh, dear! so very sorry to read about your accident but am glad you got patched back together and you’re able to complete the move to Colorado. I’ll be sending healing prayers your way. Since no one can do ‘everything’ all the time, relish this time of recuperation; look for and rejoice in even the littlest signs of healing you feel and see. Don’t worry about apples or pumpkins or birds – you’ve done those things before and you’ll do them again someday. This autumn you have new ‘gifts’ to discover and delight in. No rushing beyond your limits or pushing just that little bit more; treat yourself carefully, as the precious child of God that your are.
I’m so sorry to hear about your accident; particularly during a family holiday! How disappointing… but I am glad you found strength in prayer. What a blessing to know God is on our side like the best friend you could ever have! I’ll pray for your speedy recovery… and enjoy being a couch potato… perhaps you were meant to have a good “rest”… 🙂
So sorry, what a disappointment but a what a blessing to have a wonderful loving family with you! Hope the mountain air and beautiful scenery aide in your recovery. My family was there for action for the first time this summer. You are so right– gorgeous area and yummy Mexian food!
So sorry about what you’ve been through. Praying for your total healing very soon.
So sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you get well soon!
Holly, so sorry. Don’t get rid of those crutches – we are superstitious about this in our family; as long as you keep them, you’ll never need them again! I got rid of mine when I moved from Seattle to Silicon Valley, and I ended up a few months later in the hospital and came out on a walker! Believe me, I’m keeping that walker forever – I never want to need it again!
If you are bored with being a couch potato, tune in to Drama Fever on your computer and watch Jejoongwon (제중원). It’s a great drama and all about Severance Hospital, sort of. You’ll be glad they’ve kept up with the times.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
Thanks Judith. I will take your advice and will keep my crutches. 🙂
What an ordeal; so sorry to hear. Here’s hoping that the mountain air turns the usual “3-6 month” time-frame into half that, and that you’re up and about and back to yourself in no time!
Oh my, soooo sorry to hear this! It is a big bummer indeed and I can totally understand that you feel a bit down at times. I am glad that you are ok now, just think that it could have been a lot worse still.
Good recovery and enjoy Mexican food (lucky you, I love Mexican food but it’s hard to find some good one here!).
Hi Holly! I am really sorry to hear about your accident and what you have been through 🙁 I actually was thinking about you knowing you were on vacation and I missed receiving your post. Best of luck on your recovery and hope to hear good news from you soon. Thank you for the update.
Oh my dear, You are a very strong person! I would have crushed. I really hope you recover soon. I will pray tonight for you! Hugs!
My goodness! I am so sorry to hear this, Holly. This is a bummer indeed. I’ve read the knee surgery is the worst joint surgery – sounds like you can confirm that. I hope you have a speedy and full recovery (and I do realize it’s going to take some time). I’m so sorry, but look forward to you healing and feeling better. And, of course, blogging! Do take care.
That is truly not ‘FUN”.
Yes! You will recover!
My love and prayers are with you!
GOD bless you!! Cheers!
PS: I fell and sprained my elbow two months ago.
Well… That was really not “FUN”
Never having been injured like you have, I can only sympathize with you. But having had to spend some inactive time to recuperate from other surgery, I can only suggest you rest so your body can heal itself. I put together puzzles, and did a lot of reading.May the remainder of your summer be uneventful and I will pray for your speedy recovery.
Oh so sorry to hear this. You made me laugh and smile. Will be having surgery myself this week and been to that cold hospital you talked about so many times this past week. But yes, prayer is my strength and peace. Praying for your recovery!
What surgery are you getting? I hope it goes well and wishing you the quick recovery. Thanks for your prayer.
Oh Holly, I am so sorry to hear of your accident, but it is a delight to read about the good you find in the midst of it. By the way, I’ve been to Yonsei-Severance hospital for work and know you were in good hands there–what a blessing! I pray for speedy recovery and continued good spirits as you wait for full healing! Enjoy the Mexican food while you’re in the States (that is something I’m truly missing while living here in Busan!)!
The Severance hospital was great. I didn’t know you worked there. How long will you be in Busan?
so sorry to read this all happened. god speed with your recovery!
Holly; I read your entire story. I am so sorry to hear of your accident and lingering problem with such lengthy recovery. Your positive attitude will makes all the difference. Take care and God Bless.