Am I the only one to find it odd that in a country where rice is considered one of the three major food groups, the other two being seafood and kimchi, the only bread that is available is made of wheat
? Main dishes are based on rice, snacks are made from rice, and candy is made of pounded rice (without the addition of sugar or other sweeteners, if you can imagine that), but try to find bread made from rice flour, and you will eventually discover that you are in the wrong country for that. If you look carefully, you may be able to find rice cakes in expensive department stores or upscale grocery stores.
In a store called Shinsegae, Korea's answer to the US's Neiman Marcus, I found rice cakes. They are imported from Germany. I’m not kidding. They are labeled “Reis Waffeln” with the word "Glutenfrei" prominently displayed in several places on the package.
Apparentlly, Koreans figure that they get enough rice in everything else; why use it for bread?
(Sorry about the torn bag. It was not cooperative, and I was hungry.)
... looks like this. As you can see, I am a perfect example of a woman who has her head screwed on straight. Of course, if my family ever notices something protruding from my neck, they will immediately know that I have a screw loose.
In all seriousness, I am just a little nervous about the international travel that we have planned. Asked about the titanium plate and screws in reference to airport security, the neurosurgeon said, "TSA should leave you alone." I hope he is right. I can explain my metal-plated joints in only one language: English.
According to my neurosurgeon's interpretation of an x-ray taken of my cervical spine on Monday, August 19, I have begun official adoption of the donated cadaver bones that were placed between my vertebrae. In medical lingo, the bones have begun to fuse. That was the news we had hoped to hear. Although complete fusion will take 6 months to a year, the doctor's pronouncement meant that I could remove the foam collar-piece that had been part of my body decor for the preceding 8 weeks. Instantly, the climate in my immediate environment was 10 degrees cooler, which was quite welcome. In addition, I had freedom of movement that I had not been able to enjoy for nearly 2 months. At first I was delighted, but joy quickly turned to dismay as it became apparent that muscles which had been on extended vacation were now rallying to complain bitterly about having to work again. (Apparently, they are part of some anatomical labor union.)
It has not been an easy nine days since my release from the collar. In fact, there have been quite a few times when I have been pacing the floor in the middle of the night when pain has robbed me of sleep that I have wondered if this procedure was worth it. Eventually though, I remind myself that I need to quit complaining and thank God
that He spared me a far worse fate that might have been mine if I had not had the surgery. My physical therapist assures me that I will get better, and I am going to hold her to it.
For now, I have reinstated my friendship with the muscle relaxants and pain relievers from which I had previously tried to distance myself. “Better living through chemistry,” as my daughter
always says, and as you can see, the Frankenstein scar is not too bad.
With surgery four weeks in the past, I have discovered that I can do some sewing. The table on which my sewing machine sits has always been somewhat too high, but now that I cannot bend my head down very far, the awkward height is suddenly an advantage. Though I will not be able to tackle major projects for some time, I can do small ones. (Maybe I can get that last pair of pants hemmed for you
The sewing began as a matter of necessity. I, who am perpetually cold, have found that having my neck wrapped in a foam collar is an extremely effective way to generate internal heat. If it were winter, that might have actually been desirable; in fact, I may save this collar to wear during the winter when I cannot get warm. However, this is summer
, and South Central Texas summers are not known for cool temperatures. When I am in air conditioning, the heat-producing collar is not problematic, but my doctor’s orders are for me to walk several times a day, and as you can imagine, by the time I return home from one of my outdoor treks, I am dripping wet, especially
under my neck accessory. I decided I needed to make washable sleeves to cover the collar.
The first sleeve was solid white, made out of scraps left from a nightshirt I made for my husband years ago. The sleeve turned out to be very soft but nothing more than blandly utilitarian. I decided that since I have four more weeks left to wear my collar, I might as well make sleeves in colors to match my clothes and add bits of interest to them. It created quite a sensation at Bible study last night when I entered wearing a yellow shirt and black skirt with my collar covered in a matching black sleeve with yellow embroidery.
Now that was fun! (I love my Bernina sewing machine.) I will have to search through my fabric scraps and see what else I can find.
36-hour stay in hospital....$38,682.68*
Neurosurgeon’s fee.........$16, 200.00*
Assisting neurosurgeon's fee.........$4050.00*
Opportunity to spend a
few more years on earth
serving God with all of
my faculties intact............Priceless!
*Covered by insurance
I do not think for one moment that it was by accident or lucky happenstance that the severe compression of my spinal cord was discovered before I had permanent damage. I believe it was Providence, a gift from God so that I could continue to work for Him here on earth for a few more years. It is my earnest intention to use His gift, this valuable opportunity, as fully as I can.