Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cool Random Things

Speaking to my normally sarcastic, slightly acerbic sister on the phone and having her burst into a paroxysm of giggles when I described how I gave myself a dizzy spell when I accidentally smacked myself in the face with my teddy bear. (My inner ears were really out of whack).

Plotting with my friend Debbie as to how we were going to disguise ourselves as Dr. Gila and Nurse Debbie, go prowling the hospital for cute guys and give them physical exams. My father was here for this conversation. I am pretty sure that he did not enjoy it.

Asking my father, while I was still in the ICU, whether the IV drip I was on was dietetic. I may be wrong about this, but I suspect that this rather typical (for me) question probably made him feel much better about my chances for a full recovery. Much to my disappointment, he said no. Nonetheless, I lost weight.

The day after I left the ICU, I asked the nurse if I could take a shower. Sure, but she would need another family member to help. Unfortunately, the only family member there was my father. However my friend Debbie was visiting and she immediately announced that, after five months of dorm life-there was nothing we hadn’t seen. I was covered with scabs, wounds, cuts, stitches-she didn’t bat an eye.

Even better--being able to take a shower on my own.

Walking around in slippers for two days after I left the ICU until it finally dawned on us that 1) I owned no slippers (or rather, I did, but they had been blown up) and 2) no one had brought me slippers and therefore 3) clearly, I had someone else's slippers. When I was transferred from the ICU, someone else's bag was inadvertently sent with me. My friends bought me lovely green monster slippers instead.

A friend of mine came to see me in the ICU. At the end of her visit, she told me that she would come back the next day. I told her to wait till next week. I had been told I would be hospitalized for a several weeks, and I figured that the visitors would taper off, and I would be lonely. It never happened. Every single night I had a crowd of friends come to visit me.

Blissfully bobbing around in my bed to and singing along with a Benny Goodman CD…and then opening my eyes to discover my bed surrounded by what appeared to be every last medical resident at Hadassah. Glad you liked the show, boys!

Receiving books of get-well pictures drawn by children from the pre-school I worked at during ulpan. I still have them (the pictures, not the children).

The hospital social worker, Barbara Jacobson, walking in with my mother's class ring the very morning that it occurred to me that it had been removed at some point, and that I should try to locate it.

Chatting with my aliyah shaliach (immigration representative), Gabi Raubitschek, about how the hospital food had not improved since the days when she was a child, and her parents worked in the hospital. (As an update, I have been hospitalized several times since the bombing and I can attest to the fact that the food has still not improved. Fortunately for me, however, they built a mall next to the hospital and the mall has all sorts of places with edible food.)

At my request, my bosses bringing an assortment of office supplies to the hospital to help me get organized. They had already figured out I was a bit of a control-freak; I don't think they realized it was to quite this extent….

After days and days fantasizing about flossing my teeth, (or rather, nights and nights-it kept me occupied during those hours when I could not sleep and could not do anything else) my friend Nomi bringing me dental floss.

Two of my friends going to the police station to collect my beloved Franklin planner and then sneaking into the hospital long after visiting hours were over to give it to me. One of the two had a broken leg; they pretended that he was a patient in order to get past the guard.

My dad telling me that he was proud of me.

BG (Barbara Goldstein, head of the Hadassah Organization for Women office in Israel) showing up at the hospital with a milkshake minutes after my father had left for the airport. It was 10:00 at night, and she must have been tired, but she knew my dad was leaving and wanted to make sure that I was okay. I was not okay. I was curled up in bed, holding my teddy bear and crying.

My friend Vered noticing that my lips were cracked and dry and rustling up some Vaseline to that I could do something about it.

The moment my friends finally managed to make it clear to me--after about a week and a half of my insisting that I must have been far away from the bomber because, look! I was really not that badly injured--that I had actually been very, very close to the bomber. Three meters away (ten feet), to be exact. My head literally started spinning.

Finally being able to read see well enough to start reading my Dave Barry book. After all the hordes of visitors had left for the day, sitting in the open area of the ward with a cup of tea and my book, and pretending I was a normal person having some quiet time before going to bed.


Shoshana said...

Wow - it sounds like your friends were really there for you. I'm so glad, I'm sure it helped your recovery along to know that so many people cared.

sparrow said...

Gila, you just made my day with your post.Why? Because you are a woman with so much character - you made me laugh and cry with your memories. The next time I'm in Israel, I'd love to meet you in person and give you a big hug!

Unknown said...

"...I have been hospitalized several times since the bombing ...."

The eye stuff? BIG shrapnel?

(BTW if I come to israel can I be one of the people who gets to watch you remove it?)

RivkA with a capital A said...

Hey Gila,

On a particularly fun chemo day, I got fuzzy green monster slippers too... (keep meaning to post about that particular visit)

If you ever come for Shabbat, bring your slippers!

I relate to the idea of "pretending to be normal"

Shabbat Shalom,

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Gila - you should DEFINITELY go to RivkA for Shabbat. So should I. LOL

It was great glimpsing you today as I ran from one meeting to another. Sorry I freaked you out with my business hair. :)

Unknown said...

Hospital Food - a very painful subject. It stinks. It always stank, and it always will stink.
If you think this is by chance than you are mistaken.
There are two reasons that the powers that be will it so:
1. So that indigent patients don't try to get hospitalized for the food (sounds surreal doesn't it?)
2. It gives the staff something to complain about so that they won't notice the horrendous working hours and the insulting salaries.

Sarah Likes Green said...

I'm glad there were the good things that stood out and helped youu along during those rough times.

Gila said...

Shoshana--the friends helped, though sometimes the random people caring got to be a bit much....

Sparrow--thank you!

Yehudit--eyes and thyroid cancer. No big shrapnel. Now the stuff that comes out just looks like a little zit until it finally pops out or whatever. I had one on my neck yesterday--appears to have moved on...

Rivka--I do have to come for Shabbat at some point.... I no longer have the monster slippers, but could get a new pair. You know, for solidarity.

Ye'he--no problem--I think I will recover from the trauma. :p Good to see you as well!

Quietus--are you serious??? Oh my--I always suspected that there was some sort of plot....

Sarah--you take what you can get.

Jack Steiner said...

This is more proof that good friends are pricelss.

JoshN Pro said...

What ever happened to the piece of shrapnel 1cm from the major artery in your neck?

You were concerned about it in early writings, but I don't think we ever got an update. It come out okay?

Batya said...

Wow, you're lucky to have such good friends.
One of my sons was in Ein Kerem at age 9 for 2 weeks after a bicycle accident. Once they let him eat, it didn't take long for him to cry when he realized that he got the same food twice a day every day, and in 1990, there wasn't much to be bought in Ein Kerem.

Anonymous said...

i was hospitalized in the states a few years ago-- cancer -- and was pretty fuzzy for my first real meal after the surgery ...but not too foggy to notice that it wasn't kosher, as requested. i was rather upset, and when i compained, they actually sent in a psych team to check me out. would an israeli hospital think i was crazy to want kosher food?

Gila said...

Josh--so far as I know, it is still there.

Muse--yes, the mall has made hospital stays that much more enjoyable.

Anon--Israeli hospital food is kosher. Tasty? No. Varied? No. Kosher? Yes.

Baila said...

I have been to Hadassa with my daughter for check ups several times since we made aliya. That mall is unbelievable. It is a brilliant idea, and I kind of wonder why noone in the USA thought of it.

Unknown said...

Gila, I'm sorry I missed the great heyday of shrapnel, but I'm glad those days are gone. Very sorry you had cancer also, I hope everything went ok with that.