10 (Tue) April 2012
Postpartum Recovery Meal
at Hosan Women’s Hospital
-Sinsa, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
In Korea, women who’ve just given birth are expected to eat miyeok guk as part of their postpartum recovery plan, or they’ll die, a medical phenomenon that I’ve discussed before (see 1.257 Tofu with Crab).
At the hospital where W and baby boy IZ are staying for a week following the c-sec birth last Friday, seaweed soup is served 5 times a day: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, late evening snack. Same when she moves next door to the postpartum recovery center (PPRC) this weekend (more on that later). Same for another 2 weeks at home after her release, and another 6 months on a less regular basis. The theory, or “fact” as they would have it, is that the iron in the seaweed rebuilds the damage to the mother’s body caused by the delivery process.
We signed up for the optional deluxe meal plan, which isn’t covered by health insurance and requires us to pay out of pocket – at the moment, I don’t have specific figures, but I believe it’s somewhere in excess of 50,000 won per day. Supposedly, the difference is in the quality of the side dishes, as well as the quantity of beef in the soup.
While getting ready to check into the hospital on the night before the delivery last week, I realized that the excitement was not just about the baby but also about the opportunity to have an extended slumber party. The rooms in the patient ward had been renovated with hardwood floors, making them more like bedrooms. I was packed gear, pretty much the same stuff that I take on camping trips: folding tables and chairs and sleeping bags and burners and pots and pans and cooking implements – the only thing that I didn’t pack was charcoal. I kept saying to W, “I told you that this crap would come in handy someday.” I also packed a ton of food that I was planning to cook in the room, even if cooking is strictly prohibited and a terrible idea even if permitted.
Maybe it was the stink that I was causing at dinner time, but the head nurse turned to me in the elevator yesterday and offered to provide extra rice and soup for me and DJ at every meal upon request. I accepted the offer. However, because the side dishes aren’t enough for the three of us, I will still need to cook a few things.
(See also FOODS)
(See also PLACES)