Friday, September 18, 2015

Hospital-a-thon... never a dull moment.

OK, I have officially spent too much time in Soroka hospital, and too much time with medical stuff in general. I'd like a change of scenery. Or a pay check... one or the other.

Yesterday I wracked up eight hours on my invisible time card at that place. All of those hours, except for sporadic times in between, were spent walking around. Any sitting which happened was in hard, uncomfortable chairs, and limited time periods. Needless to say, my leg is acutely hurting, and I am tremendously exhausted. Did I mention that yesterday was a day of fasting for the Jews (it wasn't Yom Kippur- it was a "minor" fast day- the fast of Gedaliah), so I was fasting the whole time, too?

About three hours at Soroka were with my friend who I try to see as close to daily as possible, and the other five or so were in the ER with my lively and adorable son, Ya'akov (15), who managed to break two fingers flying off his bike yesterday. Never a dull moment around here, no sirree!

I arrived home from the hospital after visiting with my friend, and after 10 minutes of being home I got a phone call from someone who I don't know, telling me that he was with my son, who had a bad fall off his bike, and I needed to come. First I asked "which son?" You see, Dov (16.5) had taken a bad fall from his bike the evening before, and I patched up his cuts and scrapes, so this phone call less than 24 hours later caught me off-guard. The man told me where they were, and I came five minutes later; thankfully I was at home when this happened! I arrived there to find five or six adults with him (people had come out of their houses to help), glasses of water, a bowl of Moroccan cookies (Israel!!), and my son shaking, crying, and bleeding. Poor guy.

After hiking hither-thither-and-yon to the different departments of the emergency room, the final result is that he broke two fingers, and got pretty banged up, but he's doing OK, thank Gd.

A few interesting observations about this "adventure" yesterday:

It was the first time since I had NF that nobody in the ER recognised me or knew my history, and that it wasn't about me. It was awesome to feel that I am just another concerned mother taking her son through the ER. My kids have never broken anything (till now), and haven't had any trips to the ER since they were babies, and that was a *long* time ago. It was freeing to be anonymous in that world which is as familiar to me as my own home, strangely enough. Even though my Ya'akov was a mess, I felt oddly light-hearted and, well, anonymous. Usually that is not a good thing, to be an anonymous person in a big hospital emergency room, but in my case, it was a rare blessing.

Second thing is, that it was the first time that *I* handled the bureaucracy and hiking around to different departments. All the times I have been in the emergency room it was *me* who was the one in trouble and Robert dealing with the what, where and who of it all. I was usually being wheeled or carted around wherever Robert directed us. Yesterday I honestly didn't know where the next "stop" is in the emergency room maze- check-in, nurse, doctor, x-ray, back to doctor, orthopedist, back to admission, etc. It was interesting asking for exact directions. Even with directions I messed up with not giving our name to one of the clerks, and had to wait a longer time because of it. I thought the name would magically show up on their computer. Nope. Who knew?

Third thing was the affirming feeling that I can be the person who handles trauma well. It's like when I am a doula for a laboring women- I have no trouble, and don't panic when medical things get hard, heavy pain is involved, or a bloody situation, or a person in shock. I'm right there, not at all squeamish  about, really, anything medical. Even with my own kids. Approaching the scene where Ya'akov had his bad spill off his bike, I saw lots of blood, his bike and broken glasses all over the pavement, and a shaking, shock-stricken kid. The adults around him said to me "don't panic, he's OK, don't get scared" in their own panicky voices... they obviously didn't know who they were dealing with. I was cool as a kitten, taking an inventory of Ya'akov's body, assessing how much blood is coming from where. I was completely not panicking. Just trying to comfort him, and get him to the car to go to the ER. A nice man there put his bike into the car for me.

Gd somehow knew that I'd be the right one for these medical challenges. My own, and recently my friend's difficulty story of three months in the hospital, and many others. I am easily drawn to assist when the most difficult of medical situations presents itself. My own growth, on so many levels, happens in these situations. Got a crisis? I'll help!


About my own upcoming surgery: October 19th is the day.

Speaking with my doctor's secretary, discussing the options as far as available dates, she said "I have to find large spaces in the schedule- it is a big surgery you are having- hip arthroscopy is a major, big surgery". I said "really?" I told her I had it already twice on the left side, and compared to all the other surgeries I went through aside from those, they were fairly quick regarding time in surgery itself, and the recovery was about 6 months until I started to feel actual improvement. She said "I don't know your surgical history, but yes, we consider this a big surgery". I guess it's all relative. I have been seeing large, open abdominal wounds for months now with my friend in the hospital, and my own Gapey in all of it's stages, going from large, deep, gaping wound to healing skin grafts, to the stage it is in now, which is pretty stable, thank Gd. It's all about perspective. But I gotta say, all heroics aside, the secretary did made me a little more nervous about the surgery.

My friend is home from the hospital. I brought her home this afternoon. She is grateful to be at home. We are all a bit nervous about her still tenuous (but improved) situation, but she needed to be home. Too long in hospital. I can relate to that! She lives alone, so it makes us (her friends) nervous, but she has a phone if/when necessary. Her daughter isn't yet coming home. Probably in about a week. One day at a time.

I'm going to sleep... exhausted out of my mind and in acute pain. But I still am, and am constantly moreso, grateful for what I have, and what I am able to give.

Looking forward to Shabbat tomorrow night!!
Shabbat Shalom to all, and to all a good night.


  1. So, continued progress. Let's make a date for sushi before the surgery date. Jeff will be in the US for our niece's wedding. And just for the record, you are a cool, amazing Ima.

  2. Just wanted to say that I liked the way you described everything in this post.

    Love you!