Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rocketman - A Happy Ending!

It's been so hectic since we returned from Korea that I haven't been very good at finishing the story of what happened to Rocketman in Korea.  Part of it was exhaustion from the ordeal and I think, now looking back, that part of it I wasn't ready to relive. But now that he is healthy and whole I can finish the ordeal without tears streaming down my face.  If you are new to the blog, you can catch up by reading these posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and now the final chapter. It looks like this has turned into a novel.

Where we left off was with Rocketman still rocking a pretty high fever. He spent a lot of time walking the hallways along with other patients. I had never seen so many patients in hallways.  Sometimes they hung out on the benches across from the elevators and, especially annoying, they liked to sit on a couple of empty hospital beds outside of Rocketman's room and talk on their cellphones under the "NO CELLPHONES" sign. I don't know why ajummas (older Korean women) seem to talk so loudly, especially when on a phone, but it got really annoying when it was right outside of your room.

On Saturday night, Rocketman's fever fluctuated between 100 and 101 so we made a plan to get him discharged. Rocketman was really hoping to leave on Sunday but we found out that no one is ever discharged on Sunday because there are no doctors. They also told us it takes most of the day on Mondays to get discharged because of the backups. We were determined to have this happen. So when Dr. Ahn's number one Intern came in Sunday to remove the cathedar, we also asked him if Rocketman's IV could be removed to which he responded he had to ask Dr. Ahn. It was removed later that day to Rocketman's joy.

Our friends Hannah and Jennifer came down from Seoul to hang out with us and it was so great to spend time with them especially with Rocketman feeling better. They came down as much as they could just like you would do if a family member was in the hospital and I really don't know what I would have done without them.

Monday came and Rocketman knew it would probably be 3 or 4 before the nurses would get the orders to let him be released. It was after lunch and we were watching television when a frazzled nurse came in and said to me, "Man! Man!" and beckoned me to follow her into the hallway. We had no idea what was going on and when I went into the hallway, there was my yoga buddy, Mr. Choi, being gently detained by a couple of nurses.

I was so happy to see him and told the nurses that it was fine to let Choi go. He spent the afternoon with us while we waited to be released. He was leaving the next morning for a trip to Japan with his retired government buddies. It wasn't his idea to go to Japan for a vacation since he has a very deep rooted hatred of Japan but he was going nonetheless. He had had many family members killed during the Japanese occupation.

The blessed paperwork came around 3 pm. along with Sunny, our hospital translator, and off we went to pay the bill. The total was just under $14,000.00. It was unbelievable how inexpensive medical care is in South Korea. Choi made sure we were safely in the taxi and told the driver where to take us and off we were to the Dormy.

Rocketman was exhausted and we stayed close to the hotel until Wednesday when our flight left. His first meal out of the hospital was Pizza Hut. He still wasn't ready for spicy Korean food that he loves so much. An interesting story about our Pizza Hut dinner. We were finishing up our pizza when six high school students, three girls and three boys, came in and sat right across from us. They proceeded to take out a store-bought birthday cake and the birthday girl put on a birthday hat as the group sang happy birthday to her. She was so happy and you could just see that they were all very good friends.

They really debated about what to order and we could tell that money was tight. They ordered the salad bar, one small plate which all six ate off of and a pizza. Rocketman and I looked at each other with the same idea, let's pay for their meal. So as soon as we were finished, we walked over to their table and I asked the birthday girl if today was her birthday. She told us "yes." I grabbed their bill and told her that we would be paying for their dinner as a birthday present.

You should have seen the look of shock on their faces and we made our way to the front of the restaurant to pay. Rocketman explained to the checkout girl that we were paying both meals. All of a sudden, the girls all came up to us, trying to get us to stop - to no avail. They were truly in shock and with tears in their eyes kept thanking us. The checkout girl realizing what we were doing gave us two thumbs up. They continued to try to get the bill back to no avail and I told them that I know how very hard they work and that it was something we wanted to do.

They finally realized that the bill had been paid and as we left, two, including the birthday girl, were still crying and bowing to us saying "thank you." It was one of the best things we have spent money on in years and Rocketman and I will never forget their looks of shock and then gratitude.

Rocketman's fever broke Sunday night but he was so lightheaded that when walked anywhere near the hotel he held onto my shoulder. Our last meal was galbi and it was the delicious! On Wednesday morning we made the 24 hour (from door to door) trip back home. Luckily, we had used Rocketman's last frequent flyer miles to fly Business Class.

We hit the ground running as soon as we returned. That Thursday morning we were at our primary doctor's getting a referral for a urologist and by Friday, Rocketman was being seen by the urologist. There was no time for jetlag and the urologist didn't want to see any of the images or paperwork from Dr. Ahn. He was visibly shocked at how things were handled at a University Hospital. He said he wanted to do surgery immediately. He would remove the Korean stent and put in his own. He would find the fragments that Dr. Ahn had left inside Rocketman and he would see if there was any other damage.

Rocketman needed a pre-surgery exam and the blood test came back that he was anemic due to all the blood loss from the catheter. But that wasn't going to stop the surgery and he went under the knife less than a week after returning from Korea. To say I was scared to death is putting it mildly, I was terrified at what the U.S. urologist would find. He came out only an hour later with a huge smile on his face saying everything went great. He had found two fragments and removed them and put in a new stent. He was very, very pleased.

It will be some time before Rocketman's anemia is gone but he is getting better every day. He lost 20 pounds from this ordeal too. We are not sure why that happened but it's definitely NOT the way you want to lose weight. We are just so thankful that he is recovering and though at first he could not think about ever visiting Korea again, he now talks about things we will do the next time we go.

The urologist told us that Rocketman will need a x-ray every year for the rest of his life to see if he develops any kidney stones. Since he will never be able to pass a stone, I wonder if this means he will need surgery. We'll cross that road when we come to it.

Rocketman and I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this crisis. We appreciate it so very much.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Shame On You, Incheon Airport Customs!

This is a photo of our dear friend, Hellena (Hye-Ok) with our grandson, Ezra when she visited us last year. She is a head flight attendant for Qatar Airlines and gets to fly all over the world for her job. She is the kindest and most generous person I have ever met. She always, always puts other's needs before hers which drives me crazy at times but Rocketman and I love her dearly and she will always be a part of our family.

She contacted us yesterday more upset that we had ever seen her. She had a couple days off and had flown to Korea for a vacation, something she had done many times since becoming a flight attendant in 2009. She has been in so many airports all over the world and knows what to expect getting through immigration and customs - until this weekend.

She arrived in Korea and made her way through immigration only to be stopped in customs.  And why was she detained? It was because of her Prada purse. The purse she had bought in Italy at an outlet Prada store last year. It was her pride and joy. She loved that purse. They told her that she didn't claim the purse, the very purse she had been using for a year. She told them that yes indeed she had claimed it last year when she purchased it.

A couple of immigration workers nodded to let her pass except for one who then took her into a room and for THREE hours grilled her about this damn purse. She broke down crying and begging that he not take the purse.  Well, not only did he take her purse (after she emptied the contents), he fined her $200.

This was NOT a brand new purse with the tags. This was not a purse hidden in her luggage. This was not one of 10 purses she was trying to sneak into Korea. This was a girl who had worked hard, saved her money and bought her dream purse, a Prada.

She told us that this time of year is a bad time to have a Prada or Chanel purse. She has heard that Koreans go to Europe and buy these purses to bring back to Korea. That may or may not be but that was not the case in this instant.

She was finally allowed to leave $200 poorer and without her Prada purse. Right now, I'm not very happy with South Korea. Would they have done this to Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian? I think not but then that is because they are foreigners. I just can't believe South Korea would treat their our citizens so poorly.

Shame on you Incheon Airport Customs!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Last Stop Pella, Iowa!

Our last stop on the roadtrip was Pella, Iowa. We were there for only one night. Rocketman's plant was actually in Knoxville, Iowa which was 11 miles from Pella but he had heard that Pella was a great town to visit. But I was without a car and Pella had no taxis, imagine that! The hotel was 1 1/2 miles from town and I could have walked since I walk more than that every day but the location of the hotel outside of town and walking on roads with no sidewalks made me nervous so I hung out at the hotel.  But when Rocketman was done with work, and hungry, we headed that 1 1/2 miles to check out the city.
                     We were not disappointed! Pella is a beautiful town. I loved the architecture.

The only problem was that Pella runs on "country" hours which meant everything closed at 5 pm except for some of the restaurants.
                         I did want to do some shopping but we settled for window shopping.
Pella has a Dutch history and reminded me of when I visited Holland, Michigan when I was a little girl.
                     We even found a windmill which was also a museum but it was also closed.
         And if you didn't get the hint by the name of the town, Pella is also the home of Pella Windows.
We went a few miles out of our way coming home to finally, and I mean finally, eat at Hoban's. We had heard so much about how good the Korean food was and we had been anxious to check it out.
  We started with a kimchi pajeon. It was delicious and tasted very much like you would get in Korea.
And lots of banchan (Korean sidedishes). The kimchi was disappointing to me. It wasn't very spicy but still delicious.
I had kimchi jjigae and it was presented in the same type of hot pot, boiling like crazy like I would get in Korea. The taste was pretty good but again, they went light on the spice. We definitely will go again and next time I'll let them know that I am Korean (inside anyway) and to bring on the spice!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Maedeup Monday!

What's the Constant Crafter going to do while on a roadtrip?  Maedeup!!! I brought a bunch of bracelets that I had cut the cording for and hadn't taken the time to make. I'm one of those girls that has to keep my hand busy doing something. I had so much fun making these.
                                       Rocketman was blown away by the colors.
You can find them in my Etsy store and in honor of Rocketman's amazing recovery I am have a sale until the end of June. Everything in my store is 20% off with the code ROCKETMAN. If you want a specific color, email me at beckymeverden at gmail. com and let me know. I've got just about every color of the rainbow.
See what I mean.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Nevada Missouri's Bushwhacker Jail

This was one of the only buildings that survived the fire that the Union set in 1983. This building served as a jail from 1860-1960. It was closed due to the many complaints about the condition of the jail. The jail not only housed prisoners but also the sheriff and his family. It was not a large building and even from the outside I could not imagine it being being both a jail and a home.  The curator led me to the side of the building where we entered the jail.  He said that just next to the jail was where the kitchen had been located, separate from the building.
This was the living room.  I was told that all the furniture was donated and used to recreate what each room would have looked like in the 18th century. The furnishings were all antiques.  The photos were of sheriffs. The wooden frame over the fireplace was actually made by an inmate and given to the sheriff as a gift.

The two bedrooms were on the second floor and we had to use a very steep and narrow staircase to get to the second level.

This is a photo of Fred and Sephronia Dawes. He was killed in 1919 and his wife became the first woman sheriff in Missouri.

                     This is the men's jail. The women's section was on the second floor.
                                                         Nasty, nasty conditions.
The sheriff's wife was responsible for feeding the prisoners.  These are what were used to serve the food to the prisoners.
                                            Here were some of her cooking utensils.

                    There was one toilet since removed and one sink to be shared by all prisoners.

This is the doorway into the jail. You would enter the jail from the side of the house. I was surprised how short and narrow the door was.
This is a photo of the women's jail upstairs.  It was much nicer then the men's. The museum was now air conditioned and I couldn't imagine being confined there in the summer heat. It would have been brutal.

I really enjoyed stepping back in time and when Rocketman saw all my pictures he was so jealous that he was not able to visit with me.  There is always next time.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nevada Missouri and the Bushwhacker Museum

We left last Sunday after the family reunion and drove to St. Louis, MO which was the halfway point to Nevada, MO.  We got to see the Arch from the highway on our way to the motel. We were trying to outrun a bad storm so we didn't stop for pictures. Then the next morning we left for another 4 hour trip which would take us to Nevada, MO. The hotel was about a block from Rocketman's plant so I dropped him off Monday morning and decided to do some exploring.  I found these really cool murals in downtown Nevada.
 The only shopping was a Walmart which was sad because the actual downtown district was so beautiful with cute little storefronts mostly abandoned. I did find a museum which was under the library and decided to visit that. I'm a sucker for history so a museum was right up my alley.
A gentleman greeted me and introduced himself as the curator. He invited me to watch a 12 minute history of Nevada where I learned all about the Bushwhackers.  They played an important role in the Civil War which also led to the town of Nevada being burnt to the ground May 23, 1863 by Union forces.

                     These two pictures are wedding gowns that were donated to the museum.
                                                    This is a view of the museum.
 Dr. Hornback's family donated what looked like their entire household. It was like a step back in time.

There were also several donations by other doctors.

                                  I even found some Indian trade beads. I thought they were so cool!
                                  Lots of uniforms from all the wars were donated.
                       Even some wooden sandals from Japan from a U.S. solder.
This one really got to me. I wondered if that was how Mrs. Marquardt was informed that her husband had been hurt in the war. It seemed really cold to me but it was probably the best they could do at the time. I could not imagine receiving a postcard like this about Rocketman.
This is the artificial arm the Mr. Marquardt wore until from 1945 until his death in 2002.

So many wonderful things and when I finished, the curator asked if I wanted to see the jail which was a block away. Of course, I said yes and he got the keys to the jail and off we went. It was about a block away. More about that tomorrow.

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