Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A rash of divine intervention

Man what a day. It was day two, of rash two on my hand. I went to my doctor to show her, and to talk about what is going on, and how am I going to heal my poor sprained wrist if I can't splint and immobilize it. She was also not sure if the "shingles" was actually shingles. If it was shingles, it wouldn't come back.

Either way, it became clear to both of us that the priority was to heal my sprain.
My doctor sent me to the occupational therapy unit at Soroka, where I have a lot of history, when I got my scar therapy (silicone + pressure garment) for Gapey six years ago. Occupational therapy has many different aspects to it, and one is treatment of injuries using devices, usually custom made for the patient.

I faxed the referral to the hospital. Then I decided I wanted a yummy ice coffee from the cafe at the hospital. I got a great parking spot (important!) and the ice coffee, then went to the second floor of the "old section", where the occupational therapy unit is... right next to the ICU, where I once was a patient.

I told the secretary about the fax, and that I came in person specifically because of the unique problem that I cannot splint my sprained hand, and needed help. The secretary told me there is a TWO MONTH waiting list for people like me, whose limbs are not mangled or freshly operated on. I told her that at this rate, if I wait two months (It's already *been* two months since my last fall!), I will be one of the ones who need surgery.

Just then... one of the main therapists came out to look at her appointment book.
She had a cancellation which she hadn't known about.
She looked at me and asked what I needed there. The secretary explained to her briefly what I needed, showed her my referral, and told her about the expected two month wait. Then I took over, telling her about the rash problems I've had. I showed her the pictures on my phone camera I took last week when the rash was really bad, and how my arm looked now, after having tried to splint it again.

She said that I should quickly call my health clinic- it closed in five minutes- and have them fax over a payment approval for a custom made splint with special materials. (!)
I got through to my clinic right before closing time, and they faxed over the payment approval. It worked smoothly!! It's amazing when the free-health care system runs smoothly.

The OT I was speaking to then had me come into the casting room. She took measurements of my hand, cut pieces of special anti-allergenic plastic, then put it into a big square basin of hot water to make it flexible. At that time, while she and I were talking, another OT came over to me and said "oh! I totally remember you! You were the one who had a very grave illness, and then I started your treatment for your pressure garment and silicone!"
Her face wasn't familiar to me. She told me that she went on maternity leave shortly after we started scar therapy, and I was in pretty bad way, so she said she isn't surprised I wouldn't remember her. I do remember the one who came after her, though. I worked with her the most.

That OT even remembered that I played french horn and am a doula!! She said I was very unique to her, she remembers me very clearly. She was so happy to see me doing well (except for the hand, which is unrelated to the NF). It was a very healing sort of experience for me. Whenever I run into a doctor or therapist who was helpful to me at that time, and that person remembers me well, it is very healing for me. Confirming.

Then the OT who was making my custom splint got interested in the story, and I told more of it. I also told her, as I will tell you, that it is TOMORROW (Wednesday) when I went through my five hour skin graft surgery. This day is a day in modern Jewish history called "Yom Yerushalayim", (Jerusalem day). That is how I always know it was my pivotal graft surgery, having been on a holiday. The OT's were both listening with such caring eyes that I, myself almost cried there, while the warm plastic was cooling off, molding to the shape of my hand.

I remember the morning of the graft surgery.
The nurse came in to tell me I needed to go to the operating rooms. She came in with a sedative for me to take to calm my nerves. I told her I wanted to pray the morning service first, and I needed about 15 minutes. She looked displeased, but agreed.

I started the prayers lying in bed with my prayer book.
When the most important parts of the service came around, one normally stands and continues praying standing, honoring the Creator.

Although for extenuating circumstances (I'd call mine extenuating!), one is completely permitted to stay seated, I decided at that moment I *needed* to stand. I gathered all my strength, turned over to lie on my side, hung my legs over the side of the bed, and slowly got up while all the time holding my belly so all the packing of the gaping hole (aka Gapey) would not shift. No easy feat. But I wanted to make sure my prayers were heard, and that I am willing to do anything to survive this surgery, and on the incredible day of Yom Yerushalayim.
I stood, one hand holding the prayer book, one holding my belly together, leaning on the bed railing.

At the end, I pressed the nurse call button. I was ready. With tears in my eyes, being wheeled down the corridor, and into the elevator to the operating rooms, with Robert by my side (he had just that minute finished taking all the kids to their various schools), my sedative started to take effect. Next thing I knew, I was waking up after surgery; my right leg, where the donor skin was taken, burned like a torch. Robert was right by my side. I was alive, not in ICU, and the surgery was a success.

Speaking of ICU, back to my stupid (but serious, it seems) wrist problem...

I walked out of the OT clinic with my new casted splint, wrist and thumb immobilized (what a relief!) with hard plastic and velcro, into the corridor, directly facing the ICU.
I peeked into the window of the door. You can't see sick people through that window, but I knew. I knew.

Hashem got me through NF, skin graft surgery, and so much more thereafter. It seems on a much lesser scale to talk about being able to jump the long waiting list for OT assistance, and a custom made cast the same day, but it's all a gift. All of it. Even when it doesn't seem so miraculous.
When something feels, in your soul, that it happened only because God must have intervened, you can know that He did. He does it all the time.


  1. what a beautiful, spiritual post - and how wonderful when we have the added gift of seeing G-d's hand helping us - it is SO connected to Yom Yerushalayim, the miracles of the Six-Day War are so hard to ignore, that people have to make a special effort to do so - you are blessed that you see and do not deny Hashem's miracles, large and small.

    1. Bracha- yes. To it all. Miracles come in may different size packages. I feel honored to feel that true for myself, and to write about witnessing them. Thanks for the confirming and strengthening words!

  2. Latex allergy looks a lot like ur arm!

    1. Google latex allergy and hit images. It comes in all forms and some look just like yours and some even worse! Oh and it said its common in ppl eho work in medical or have a lot of exposure to medical procedures...ahem...

    2. one of the things an article said is that "you must have repeated exposure to latex to develop a latex allergy. Ahem, indeed...
      oh, then it goes on to say that a contact dermatitis rash from latex usually occurs 24 to 48 hours after exposure. Fits the bill exactly here.

  3. Wow, what a perspective you have on all this and what sincere faith. And so glad that it wasn't shingles.

  4. What a great story! You were obviously very clear about your intention and it all "fell into place". Glad to know your wrist is again in a splint.

  5. יום ירושלים שמח! רק בשורות טובות והמון בריאות!