Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Long Time, Sweetie

The weekend after I was released at the hospital I went to stay with my friends Galia and Steve. I was simply exhausted and depressed-as much from the challenges of getting used to handling the crisis as from my injuries themselves. Of Friday night Shabbat dinner I have only the foggiest recollections. Saturday morning I woke up, hung out with Galia for a bit and then went down for a nap. I woke up around lunchtime and joined Galia, Steve, Galia's mother, Michal, and their guests for Shabbat lunch.

The meal was a disaster. The damage to my ears made it very difficult for me to participate in the conversation. (It would be two months until I got hearing aids, and a few months more until I learned the essential trick to managing group meals: sit on the end of the table—good ear in, bad ear out.) Beyond that, I was tired and spaced-out. Midway through the Shabbat meal I had to go lie down. Doing so, I felt that my friends and the other guests were rather taken aback by my excusing myself; how come I wasn’t well enough to sit through a meal? I was not offended, rather I agreed with them. It had been two whole weeks. What was wrong with me?

Galia and Steve do not use the phone on Shabbat, and I did not want to disrespect them, but I had to talk to someone. I closed the door to the guest room. I dialed my cousin, Talia. She picked up. I told her that I would have to hang up if anyone came in. Then I started to cry.

"I don't understand. I am so tired. It has been two weeks. I should be better by now".

"Gila, you are being ridiculous. You just went through a bombing. Of course it is going to take a while. You are just an overachiever ".

"But is has been two weeks. I thought I would be a lot better".

"Motek, sweetie, it is going to take a long time".

I don't remember what I said next. I think I may have just cried on the phone.


sparrow said...

Your friend was totally right - and it must have been hard for you to come to terms with the aftermath and how long it takes back to some kind of normality. Heck, I got pushed out of a train in India 14 years ago and I only broke my foot. It took me two years to go near a train again and I'm still pretty jumpy in crowds. You had a much worse experience. You continue to inspire - please keep the posts coming

Yehudit said...

Also physical: coma! did you have surgery in the hospital at first? surgery! also: blast damage! I am going to guess cellular or tissue blast damage taking longer to heal, or even your lungs still not complete, even though you didn't feel it on the outside. Not to mention mental fatigue, and understandable depression which makes most people want to sleep a lot.

Also your body went through a lot all at once, which would be more than the sum of its parts in terms of lasting chock to the system.

Also crying is normal. I would have been crying on and off for months just to let the feelings out.

Yehudit said...

Also trying to hear is fatiguing, especially if you are not used to having that problem. And your eyes were still not back to normal, right? So you had to work hard to see and hear, plus the angst of having your senses dulled, maybe for life.

And you had two new temporary disabilities and you didn't know how permanent they would be. They say it takes 7 years for someone disabled to finally be completely accepting and competent and at home in their changed body.

Baila said...

You do understand now how irrational it was for others to expect you and for you to expect yourself to be back to normal in two weeks, right??

Even two months, and perhaps, two years??

TeacherLady said...

If you had felt better after two weeks, I would have been more concerned. We all know how wounds of the heart and soul take a hell of a lot longer to heal then wounds of the flesh.

kleine Maus said...

Der Rebbe predigt: "Eine Frau muss sparsam, sittsam und verschwiegen sein. Dann ist sie die Rechte."
Meint Schwartz:" Die hab ich! Sie ist so sparsam, dass sie sechs Wochen die
Handtücher hängen lässt.
Sie ist so sitszam , dass sie den ganzen Tag auf dem Sofa sitzt.
Und so verschwiegen ist sie, dass sie mir bis heute noch nicht gesagt hat, von wem sie unsern Dovidl hat."

Sisyphos said...

I just discovered your beautiful blog. Over here in Europe people do not realize at all what you are going through. I admire how Israel remained a civilized country with high moral standards despite the permanent attacks. Thank you for your contribution to it.

Tzipporah said...

Oof. This reminds me of how I reacted to being two weeks post-partum.