4.321 Patient Meal

Cycle 4 – Item 321

22 (Fri) November 2013

Patient Meal


at Ajou University Hospital

in my mother’s room

-Woncheon, Yeongtong, Suwon, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with Mom + Dad

In Korean hospitals, a caregiver is allowed and expected to stay by the patient’s bedside 24/7.  Rather than nurses/orderlies, the caregiver is tasked with helping the patient to/from the restroom, fetching water/snacks, etc., anything that isn’t strictly medical.  Technically, 1 caregiver per patient.  In a 6-patient room, that means 12 people, at least.  Some patients have an entourage of caregivers, sometimes just to keep each other company.

Faux wood paneling = luxury single room = 380,000 per night.

My mother has decided to go it alone in her solo room for the duration of the hospitalization.  With either husband or son in the room, both notorious snorers, she wouldn’t be able to get any sleep, she said.

On the first night, going to the bathroom by herself, she fell and banged her foot, the one just operated upon.  And then, somewhat embarrassed, she waited until the morning to tell anyone about it.  The x-ray revealed no additional damage, thankfully.

Having endured the crappy food at the student and staff cafeterias at Ajou University Hospital (see for example 2.343 The Final Cafeteria Dinner of 2011), I was happy to find that the individual patient meals delivered to the rooms turned out to be quite respectable.  Each consisted of steamed barley rice, some kind of soup, some kind of meat, some kind of jeon or fish, some kind of namul, some kind of kimchi, some kind of fruit, plus milk and water.  Very well-balanced.  In 7 meals, starting Wednesday dinner through dinner tonight, not a single repeat dish, except the rice and kimchi.  Fun to lift off the lids and see what lay underneath.  I was pleasantly surprised, .  Reminded me of the meals that W got in the hospital after IZ was born (see 3.096 Postpartum Recovery Meal).

Obviously, I didn’t eat this for dinner.  (Later with my father, we grabbed something at a neighborhood restaurant, totally not worth mentioning.)  Knock wood, I’m hoping that I won’t be dining in a hospital bed myself anytime soon, so I took the opportunity to feature Korean hospital food as a vicarious experience.  I did sample each dish, to make it official.



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