Monday, November 16, 2009

The warm blanket

(This is for Miriam M.- you inspired me to record this hospital episode)

This is a good memory of the appendectomy day. It may be the only one, so it is noteworthy just by the mere fact that it exists in my world.

Here's the scene:

I am scared, cold, wearing only a thin hospital gown, and I have just said goodbye to Robert at 2AM. I am being wheeled by an unpleasant, impatient orderly down to the operating theater. I'm cold, and I'm praying for the surgeon's hands, and mind, be directed by Gd.

I get into the operating room, and I am lying down, completely unclothed, as the day I was born. It is **freezing** in there. I asked why, and was told that since bacteria don't thrive in cold settings, this is the best antiseptic. (OK, ya sold me on that one!)

But... the cold, the scary exposure... only a thin sheet covering some of me. I started shuddering, mostly from the temperature, but also from the fear, which was starting to take over my prayers. My arms were being connected to the arm boards (not unlike a sort of crucifixion, actually), and needles were being stuck into me.

I looked at my surgeon, and I said "I...a m... s o o o... c o l d".

The surgeon then asked the nurse to get me a blanket. I couldn't believe what I heard; respect for the patient, without even having protectzia! (having an "in" with someone by name dropping.) She brought me not just a blanket, but a pre-warmed one. A thick, oven-warmed, blue and green blanket. With satiny edges.

I blessed her with saying "Hashem yivarech otach" (Gd should shine his blessings on you). She put her open palm on my shoulder and smiled. I couldn't see her mouth, but her eyes said it all.

I was warmed, and my davening returned to me. Then I went to a dreamless sleep.


  1. Just sending you the website we spoke of once again.

  2. Your post brought tears to my eyes. It is so, so cold in the OR and I'm glad the dr. was sensitive enough to help you. That's what they're supposed to do of course, but they're often distracted. I think we need to ask for what we need and to not take no for an answer. Israelis are used to other people being proactive -- demanding what they need, when they need it. They may presume that if we don't ask, we don't need it. So it's up to us to be our own advocates, something so difficult when we're not feeling well.