hospital memories

May 3, 2022, Israel 

Earlier today (actually yesterday as it is now past midnight) I happened to stop by the local medical clinic as it is in the mall and I needed to wash my hands. Everywhere I looked I felt the memory of my dear mother; here is where she sat when we went for our vaccine, here is where she sat while waiting for the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, here she sat...yes, the memories, the longing, the pain. I remember the conversations, I remember her pain and her glow. Her presence still feels very real, it is difficult to comprehend that she is no longer here.

One clinic that we visited often is called Terem, which is a Hebrew acronym for Immediate Medical Service, i.e. they operate 24/7 and you can come in whenever you have a medical emergency. We were there often, my mom and I. But this wonderful place has a tragic history. 

Terem was founded in 1989 by the late, Rabbi, Dr. David Appelbaum, an immigrant from the USA. In his capacity as an doctor he developed many emergency techniques to save lives.  In many cases he treated patients while a terrorist activity was still going on, at times he was handling patients with shots being fired all around him. He was no stranger to danger and emergencies.

But it was when he was relaxed, sitting with his daughter at Café Hillel in Jerusalem, the day before her wedding, that the terrorists got him. In a suicide bombing at the café he and his twenty year daughter were among the victims. The man who saved so many lives himself succumbed to irrational hatred. Among those he trained and treated were of course many Muslim Arabs. 

Over the past few years I have spent much time in hospitals and medical clinics, with my dear mother may she rest in peace. I can picture the doctors, the nurses, the staff, even the guys at the coffee shops, I felt that each and every one of them was part of our team, the team to keep my mother, and all those in the hospital alive and healthy. I came to know them all; the volunteers who arranged religious services and provided food on Shabbat/the Sabbath, the orderlies who transported my mother to and from the CT tests, the angelic nurses, the specialists, the men and women who served the food with such kindness, the volunteers who brought us coffee and cake during the long hours we sat next to our loved ones.

I can't believe it is all in the past, but what an effort it was, what a glorious fight, and here is the Krav Maga point/connection.

We never gave up, none of us, no matter what the odds, the doctors met and consulted with utmost seriousness, the nurses and staff provided every comfort. I think of Dr. Appelbaum of Holy Blessed Memory and I think of the combination; medical care, spiritual care, and military preparedness, and Krav Maga. We are all part of the same struggle, the struggle for life and for dignity. It does not matter what the situation is, every life matters, young and old and we must make every effort!

Just as we strive for the best medical care we must strive for the best Krav Maga self-defense training, we must never quit, never give up and never be content with "good enough". Everyone is someone special, each individual is someone's entire world. 

I am wheeling my mother into the Oncology department on the 5th floor of Hadassah Hospital. We check in and are told to wait, the process has started. We wait in the hallway and I remind the nurses that we are here, they are so busy, but yes, they will find us a room as soon as possible. My mom does not want the chair, she needs a bed to lie down. I "campaign" for a bed and finally find one. What a joy! now she can relax, I hand her her paper, the Jerusalem Post, she puts on her reading glasses, I get a cup of coffee and we wait. Soon the treatment will begin, we will spend most of the day here, sometimes longer and sometimes less, we must be patient. It is a waiting game. One part of the treatment is over, and then we wait for the next part, we must be patient but yet I must remind the nurses of her needs. We never give up. Every day is a little victory. 

We do what we can, we do what we can. We must do everything we can, the doctors, the nurses, the Krav Maga instructors. 

and now...her chair is empty but her memory will glow for ever. and what I would give to push her wheelchair one more time......

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