Sunday, July 13, 2014

An insider's view on being attacket by Rockets from Gaza... and a medical update

Life goes in so many tangents these days. I don't even know what to write about.

I'll say a little about what it's like living in this situation again where Gaza is firing rockets directed at us. We have air-raid sirens 5, 6 times a day, including one usually in the middle of the night. It's a bit nuts. We've lived through this many times before, though- it is *almost* normal, but isn't that crazy to say? It seems that Gaza attacks us with rockets that actually reach Be'er Sheva like once every year and a half or so. You should know that while there aren't always rockets to Be'er Sheva, there are almost always a steady stream to the smaller towns closer to Gaza, on the outskirts of my city. They constantly live with air-raids. We have states of emergency, as I said, it seems, every year and a half or so. There is so much I can say about it, but I am tired. I can say that day camp for Azriel has just been indefinitely canceled. All day camps in Be'er Sheva were canceled last week, but since Azriel's camp is just outside of Be'er Sheva, they didn't cancel right away, but, the call came tonight that it is canceled. There were already a few times that the mini-van that takes the kids to and from the camp was caught in the road when a rocket attack happened. With no safe room to go to, the kids went to the side of the road, crouched down, far from cars, with their hands covering their heads until the "booms" happened, and the coast was clear. That is scary. Azriel was scared for a while after that, but tonight, when we were having an air raid, we were in our safe room (in the house) and he said "hey, I'm not shaking now. I'm not scared anymore". He's been sleeping in our bed since the three older kids went off to sleep-away camp. He is scared to sleep on the other level of the house where the kids rooms are, and he's the only kid home. It's cozy.

(The other three kids are having an *awesome* time in camp, and are very safe, nestled in a northern enclave near a beautiful part of the coast. *BUT*, tonight we did get word that the camp got an air raid and a boom nearby. I can't believe it. They are very far from Gaza, but this one probably came from the Hezbollah in the north. Well, let's hope it is a fluke and the kids will carry on having a great summer....)

I wrote a letter to my parents tonight expressing some thoughts about the war here, and I am going to just paste some of that onto here. Hope you don't mind, Dad & Mom!

If tonight is again interrupted by sirens (last night we had one at 4am, each night around 1 or 2 am also), I am going to start sleeping in the safe room. It is hard to do all the stairs all the time for me. [we have a house where the parent's bedroom is the attic level, and the safe room is four flights down in the basement]. The bed in there isn't as comfy as mine, and there is no air conditioning in there, just a ceiling fan, so that is why I haven't done it yet. It is just a balance of what you are willing to cope with, you know?
Anyway, after I've said this all, I want to say, Dad, that *I am not scared*. At all. We can cope with whatever comes our way, and I am not scared.
So yeah, we keep going on with our lives.
I am recovering slower than I was hoping for after the cellulitis hospitalization. I have been feeling weak and not able to do much. It really threw my body for a loop, I guess. I'm still taking antibiotics, and haven't had a fever since I got home from the hospital, which is good. We did go to friend's today for Shabbat, and that was just so awesome, to be with so many people I love so much! We had two air-raid sirens during the Shabbat meal. During one of them, we were in their safe-room all together, and I decided to sing a Shabbat song. Everyone joined me, and we drowned out the booms which came after the siren. I was really emotional about that, I was actually crying from the beauty of singing a Shabbat song while sheltering from rockets being showered upon us by our.... enemies?.... cousins? I can't figure out what we are to each other. We are their enemies, but are they ours?

By the grace of God, and the ingenuity of the Israel Defense Forces, there have been very minimal damage to property or person during all these rockets. Many of them get destroyed mid-air with our anti-missile launch system ("Iron dome"). There have been injuries to two or three people, but compared to what could be happening every day, it is only a miracle.

Since I am so tired, I just want to skip to my next subject here... I could write so much more on my feelings about living in Israel during times like these, and bringing up kids talking about kidnappings and murders, bombs and Gaza. Here, we live in an alternate universe than America. It's not scary, but it's not OK, either. We live, and we sing, and our kids laugh and play the same games your kids play. It's just... an alternate universe. If you want to come here and see what I mean, my house is your house. :)

Going on....

I have the MRI tomorrow for my left leg. It is kind of a story how it came about. I'll abbreviate it. If I waited for the MRI to be convenient in Soroka, I'd have waited another two months. Since I want to be able to make a decision about surgery, I need the MRI ASAP. So, I called the "mobile MRI". It is just that- a mobile home with an MRI in it. They move around and park in different hospital lots. They go to the hospitals which don't have MRI's in them. I wanted to know when they will be in hospitals within an hour drive for me. There are two hospitals. Turns out that they were going to be in Rechovot, an hour away, this Sunday (tomorrow- today if you are in this hemisphere with me). So, great, I took an appointment. Robert would drive me, since I have had to completely give up distance driving because of the meds I take. (It is another huge loss of freedom stemming from the NF 7 years ago.)

I got a call on Thursday from them telling me that because of the situation that missiles are able to reach the mobile MRI unit, they are moving the unit to a hospital further away, in Holon, near Tel Aviv. Rockets have reached Tel Aviv this week, so I'm not sure why that is better, but that is what they decided to do. OK, so I'll go to Holon, an hour and a half away this time. They made my appointment earlier, also. Annoying, but OK, we can deal.

Tonight, just as Shabbat ended, the phone rang. It was the mobile MRI staff telling me that when they moved the machine across town, some piece got damaged in the machine. I can still have the MRI tomorrow, in Holon, but I have to come much earlier, so that the repairman can come fix the part, by noon. So crazy, right? So, instead of having a leisurely 4pm appointment an hour away, now I have an 11:30am appointment an hour and a half away. Because of the war. "and the rockets red blare, the bombs bursting in air... " It's not only for the fourth of July anymore! We live that, here, on the other side of the planet. Alternate universe.

We are so small, they are so big. We are strong, they are.... getting stronger each time we agree to a cease-fire and give them more time to gather more ammunition and design better launching systems. OK, I gotta stop. I don't like spurting political stuff on my blog. It's just that sometimes life here in Israel is *inseparable* from politics, or religion. It is the most intriguing place on the earth. It's not only civil, not only military (but soldiers and machine guns are on every street and bus stop), not only secular, and not only religious. Go figure.

I'm not scared.
Just tired.
Gonna cuddle with little Wazi next to me here and go to sleep.

I'll update tomorrow about how the MRI went (if that isn't going to be canceled, too!). Also I want to continue with chronicling what happened the next day of the hospitalization last week. Never a dull moment.

I pray for a quiet night. We all need it desperately.

Just one more snapshot I just remembered that I want to share with you:

Azriel and I were out picking up an order of sifted flour I get from "the flour lady"... it's a long story, not relevant here....

We were on our way to a friend's apartment to pick up the order, and there was an air-raid siren. It was Friday afternoon, about three hours before Shabbat. It was the first time all week I went out at all- I was in pajamas all week since I came home from hospital. Each time I tried to make it past showering to go out, I got terrible weakness and got into pj's instead of dressing to go out.

I digress....

So, I was on the cell phone with the lady with the flour, getting directions to her apartment. While we were talking, the siren went off. I asked her where to go to take cover, she directed me to a stairwell in the building next to hers. Not a safe room, but the stairwells are considered safe.

So, we went into the building, and everyone directed us up to the second floor, where it was considered safest. Families were filtering out of their apartments in various degrees of Shabbat preparations. It was pure *beauty*. Children coming out, wrapped in towels from their baths, dripping on the stairs, mothers with aprons, father's holding babies wearing only diapers, teens with no shoes on and their hair tousled. The pervasive smell of chicken soup and challah baking. That magic smell. I know this doesn't sound like a beautiful picture, but to me, it was a snapshot of Am Yisrael on a Friday afternoon. Cooking, bathing, taking care of the babies, teens getting rest for the first time all week. Religious or secular, this is Friday afternoon here. With and without being bombed.

Since we are usually only in our own safe room in our house, I haven't been caught outside much with the air-raids. It happened one other time a year ago when I was walking Emma at the park, but we went to a wall and crouched down there. Anyway, OK. I know I could go on. I gotta get my fingers- and my brain- to stop.

Leaving early for the MRI tomorrow, and who knows if tonight will be quiet or not.

Good night from... a kinda war zone, but kinda just home. :)


  1. Good luck with the MRI, keeping all of our Beer Sheva and southern friends in our thoughts and prayers, shavua tov!

  2. your final words here - just home - sums it up! we ARE just home, in the ONLY home for us, like fish, they have their optimum habitat, can survive, but just, elsewhere. This is our home, our optimum home. May G-d of Israel keep us all safe, civilian and soldier, and continue swatting those pesky rockets off course, and into "open territory". hugs to you, and hope you get to do the MRI, and that its results give you clarity.

  3. Keep snuggling with your boy. It is the best thing in the world for both of you. I read an article recently, that children who were sent to the countryside during the London Blitz in WWII were more emotionally damaged than those who stayed in the city with their parents. They were physically in much greater danger, but emotionally felt so much safer because they could snuggle with Mom and Dad. So, snuggle and sleep well Sarah. My thoughts are with all of you in Israel, and with those in Gaza too. I wish all the killing could stop. How is it that they haven't figured out that it doesn't work? Love to you.

  4. Good luck today! BTW, I love your mistake in the lyrics to the anthem. Rocket's red Glare (not blare). Though, here, it is a blare of sirens. Sending you kisses!

    1. It has been so long since I heard or sang that song, I didn't even realize the mistake! ha!

  5. Oops, that was from me, Miriam!

  6. XXXXXXXXX OOOOOOOOO don't know what to say......

  7. I hope the MRI goes easily for you. Great that you were able to get an appointment this quickly. Hopefully it will help you decide what to do now.

  8. Safe travels sweetheart. And a special hug to Azriel.

  9. Thinking of you Sarah! Be blessed, my love!

  10. I always think about you guys in these trying times, since my first was with you. I still remember Azriel being terrified each time you would take the dog out that there might be a siren while you were gone and you wouldn't be able to make it to the "boom boom room". He was only 3 then. I hate that this is his (and all of ours) reality.

    1. Wow, Tess, it was that long ago? He is 8 now... 5 years ago you worked with us? Wow. It doesn't seem so long. We still call it the boom boom room, because of when he was small. He named it. It is a kind of insane reality, but it could be worse. I just hate that our options are limited because of what the Gazan's are doing to us. No day camp, it's not advised to go to the nearest beach from here, Ashkelon, because of missile attacks. Well, we chug on. The good thing about life is that as long as you live it, it always changes.

  11. Read this just today. Very well written and a good glimpse of life under fire. I shared it.