Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Clarifying my Costume

Anonymous asked whether my costume was like the one in the YouTube link I posted in "catching up."

Let me clarify a couple of things:
1. I can't sing like that wolf
2. I can't dance like that wolf
3. I don't have the stage presence like that wolf
4. My costume is a man's tuxedo: pants, jacket, cumberbun and vest; I gray wolf's hat; fur lined gloves and some kind of fur lined shoe.

This is a very amateur show - Just a bunch of ladies having fun on stage!!

And I get to howl! Aaaaaaaooooooooooowwwwwww!

My Mommy is coming!


I need my Mommy - about as much as she needs me!!!

Now I have something to look forward to...

I need my Mommy!

Sick as a dog

What does that mean? How does a dog get sick? And how sick can a dog actually get? And why would I compare how sick I feel to a dog? Just wondering where that statement comes from!?!

So I guess, if a dog was really to get sick and it was bad – that’s how I feel!

I haven’t been this sick in a long time. My usual regimen of Vitamin C/Echinacea/Zinc and Vitamin E didn’t seem to work. I started with a sore throat the day DB came home from the hospital. I took my regimen and felt my body trying to fight the “war.” I got a massage to relieve my tight muscles and was told I might get really sick.

Four days later, I had such horrible sinus pressure, I felt as if the right side of my face needed to be cut out! Teeth and all!

Stuffy head, runny nose and sneezing – a real cold! Even had a day of laryngitis.

Almost two weeks and I am still suffering. I sat with three clients today, blowing my nose, sneezing (or trying to), and sniffling.

Then my tummy started to bubble and cramp.

Yucky day. Came home from Jerusalem, and climbed into bed. Couldn’t move. Slept until 11:00. Now I’m up – can’t sleep.

I told DB I would help him clean his room – we already made two bags of give away clothes. He went out running. He goes back to the army on Sunday.

Wish I could fall back to sleep…

And wish I didn’t feel so yucky!

POSTSCRIPT: I wrote this Tuesday night, very late. The internet would not allow me to load the post. It's Wednesday morning now. Still feel like a sick dog (whatever that feels like). Want to stay in bed - but can't. Once my mind wakes up - I can't put it back to sleep...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Catching up

A Couple Updates:

1. DB is home – has been for a week – is feeling much better. (B”H BI”H) Had his follow-up doctor’s appointment today. Doctor said he could go back to the army next Sunday. DB went for a short run tonight with a friend. Still needs to work up his lungs…
2. I’m sick. Started with a sore throat and is now all about sinus congestion and pressure. My head feels like a lead weight and my nose is sore from all the blowing. Yes I am complaining. No one else will listen to me!!
3. Opening Night for my stage debut is in 3 weeks! WIT (Women in Theater) in Modiin is performing the Broadway musical, “Into the Woods” and I am playing the Wolf. I get to dance and sing and howl and snore and burp. Then I get killed off and don’t appear again until the finale. Just enough stage time for me!
Check out the link to get a taste for my role – although I’m not that good!!

4. MB is stressed out by school. Tests and decisions that have to be made for next year. She is making very good money by babysitting and tutoring. She has her heart set on being a counselor at Camp Moshava this summer. She’ll have to pay for her own ticket. The down side of Ari not traveling anymore is we don’t have the frequent flyer points.
5. NED is also pretty stressed out by school. My feeling with both the girls is: it’s about time! They barely ever do any work; they don’t have any idea what it means to be stressed by schoolwork. Let them feel the stress of having to work hard for school. I’m supportive but not very sympathetic!
6. ELY – bless her little soul, keeps the love going in the house. She is especially happy these days to have her Dovie around. They are very sweet together – loving both verbally and physically. She has been chronically complaining about her stomach, though. We are trying to decipher what is real and what are nerves.
7. I have given two presentations on Expressive Therapies in the last week. One at the International NEFESH conference – for orthodox mental health professionals and one for a group of retired mental health professionals. Both presentations I prepared an hour before I gave them and decided to wing it. Both presentations were easy to give and well received. I was not nervous for either of them and walked away knowing the participants had learned something. I’m getting better!
8. I’ve been thinking a lot about family relationships and relationships in general. Who we “have” to keep relationships with and who we don’t. What constitutes a relationship we have to try to keep up and one we want to keep up? Expectations, I am learning, have a lot to do with this. And, I am learning, expectations lead to a lot of disappointment. There are those I want to be in touch with, but they can’t or don’t seem to want to. And then there are those I feel I must be in touch with and I really don’t care to.
9. Money is stressful – using it, not having it, and wishing I had more. Thinking about it all the time. When to spend it and when not. Ari not wanting the kids to feel that we don’t have. My not wanting the kids to think they can have whatever, whenever.
10. Managing my house without a cleaning person. How much do I want to save the money and do it myself and how much of me resents having to.
11. Feeling pressure to be working more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

DB has pneumonia

Somehow the infection has spread, or he has picked up something from being in the hospital.
Fever and a cough

Really stinks!

I want him to come home!

I can't do this much more - so I really feel bad for DB!!!

Just gotta get my boy home!


Writing from the hospital

It's Tuesday.12:45 PM.
DB has just climbed back into bed for his early afternoon nap. Took him less than 3 minutes to begin snoring! He didn't sleep well last night, so I am giving him this rest. Since I have been here this morning (9:30ish) I have not let him sleep. It's a hard balance. His body clearly needs the rest and the antibiotics are knocking him out, but he has also contracted a case of pneumonia from laying in bed all day.
I got him up - made him take a shower. Made him breakfast (a roll with egg and melted cheese, yogurt and fresh fruit from his roommates orchard). Took a walk outside, caught a couple sunbeams and breathed some fresh crisp air. Climbed 6 flights of steps and daavened (prayed). He deserves a rest!

He is no longer eating the hospital food. Since I have been bringing him food from home, he won't touch the stuff! But thank Gd he is eating! His throat is still scratchy from the surgery, and it is aggravated by the new cough, but he is much better than before. All his roommates that he has been with all week, have left. New incentive to get out of here!

I am on autopilot. Dad says I will not fall apart, so I guess I won't. I will leave here in an hour to see clients. The distraction will be good for me. Even tried to get a manicure, but they were full today.

Day by day now. Wait and see. Each day DB feels better, I feel better. Yesterday was a bad day. I was emotionally drained. Today, so far, is much better. so my spirits are better.

Day by day - moment by moment. Life is so fragile and I take so much for granted.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The morning after (copied from Facebook note)

It's a surreal experience to be in the hospital for days. Only looking out the window to see the world go by.

It's a new day. Dov has been moved back to the ENT floor, he's taken a shower and is sipping a cup of hot chocolate.

He will be here until the doctors feel the swelling in his throat is gone and they can take him off the IV antibiotics. I will stay with Dov in the hospital over Shabbat.

As to how this happened, I told the docs that I am the daughter of an infectious disease research doctor and they will not get away with saying, "it just happened." We want to know as best we can know where this bacteria came from and how to possibly avoid meeting it again!

I am tired. I need a head and neck massage and a healthy meal. Emotionally I am still on automatic. I fell apart when he went into surgery, but quickly recomposed myself in order to finish the night.

For those of you who know me, you know I have been thinking alot about the hows and whys of this whole experience. Everything happens for a reason. I will need to take some time to figure it all out for myself.

In the meantime, I thank everyone for their love and wishes and thoughts and prayers!

And I want us all to appreciate our ability to swallow without pain or interruption!!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The short story…

Dov got sick on the base on Saturday – couldn’t move his neck or swallow. His neck began to swell.

The army put him on a bus on Sunday from Ber Sheba to Jerusalem, Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. A 2-hour ride.

Ari picked him up at the bus station and brought him to the hospital.

He was admitted and underwent many tests. Trying to figure out the problem.

Monday morning they diagnosed him with parapharyngeal space infection. A fancy term for a bacterial infection of the deep throat area.

The docs were concerned that the swelling would obstruct his airway. So he was admitted to ICU to be monitored.

Tuesday morning he was better, less swelling, responding to antibiotics and steroid inhaler to reduce swelling.

Discharged from ICU and brought to a room on the ENT ward. Allowed to eat, although it hurt to swallow.

Wednesday – today – swelling again. Docs decide it’s time to operate to drain the infected abscesses deep in his throat.

It is 5:30 PM, we have been waiting all day to be taken to surgery…

That’s the short story.

I’m writing more. soon.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

It's always something!

AS I worried all daylong about my friend's sons in Gaza, little did I know wthat my night would end with me worried about my son in the hospital!

DB called Ari at 4:00 to say he wasn't feeling well and the base doctor was sending him to Hadassah Ein Kerem in Jerusaelm. He was on a bus and would be in Jerusalem in 2 hours, but had no battery left in his phone.....

phone dead

Ari somehow met up with DB at the bus station and got him to the ER at Ein Kerem. As I write this after midnight, we are still unsure what is going on.
What we do know is that DB is in a lot of discomfort. His throat is so swollen he can't swallow and he can't turn his head.
Ari is with him at the hospital. I am going to sleep so I can take the day shift...

I will keep in touch.

Never a dull moment!

Friday, January 02, 2009

My 10 P.M. phone call

Every night from 10 P.M. on, I have my cell phone by my side waiting for DB to call.

He called tonight while we were at the wedding, so it was hard to hear.

He told us that last night they had a punishment for some reason I didn't hear. His group had to sleep in their full uniform, coats, helmets, bulletproof vests and boots - this was their punishment.

I asked how he slept, knowing full well what his answer would be.

"Oh, I slept fine, Imma. No problem with that. Some of the other guys were mad at me cuz I fell asleep so fast."

That's my boy. He never has a problem sleeping - never has. Can sleep anywhere, anytime. Thankfully that's not his problem.

Being frustrated with the lack of personal time is one of his problems. Their time is so regimented that he has no down time. Barely even to call home. DB likes his down time. It's part of his laid back personality. So the structure of the training, although very good for him, makes him frustrated sometimes.

Ari very supportively reminded DB that not being allowed free time was part of the army mind game. They want to make sure he can handle all of it. He can't let them know how frustrated he is. That is how they weed the boys out. He has to play the game.

DB appreciated Ari's reminder.

And I was just comforted in knowing he still needs us!!

Takes One to Know One!!

I never really liked it when my father would say how much my mother and I were alike. He sometimes still does. So does Ari for that matter.
I want to be my own person. And so what if I have a similar personality to my mother. There are things I like about our similarities and things I don't like.

Of course now that I am a mother, I get to see myself in my daughters all the time! And I understand how mothers and daughters can really be very similar.

MB has many of my traits - outgoing, personable, responsible, good with kids, creative, and more.

But sometimes, when NED says something or turns her head in a certain way - it scares me. Sometimes I feel as if I am looking in the mirror with NED. We are so much the same.

Tonight I had to drive to Jerusalem to attend the wedding of one of the kallahs (brides), I had the zchut (merit) to learn with. Ari and MB are also friendly with the chatan (Groom) and his family.

I was not feeling well today and really did not want to go. But I pushed myself and got dressed.

As I walked out the door, NED said to me, without any sarcasm, "Imma, remember not to wear your 'I don't want to be here' face."

I chuckled. How did she know that's what I was going to do? I was literally draggin myself out the door!

She knew because she does the same thing. Often. And I have to remind her before she goes out, not to make other people uncomfortable because she isn't in a good mood or doesn't feel well.

It takes one to know one.

P.S. I left my 'face' in the car and tried to enjoy being there...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The case of NED's missing Tanach bagrut

First, a quick explanantion for those of you who are not familiar with these words:
Tanach is the hebrew abbreviation for the English word, Bible. How do you say "roshei tayvot" in english?

Bagrut are the series of exams taken here by high school students in order to enter college. Like the SATs, but not really, like the NY State regents, but not really.

OK, so last June, NED took her bagrut in Tanach. Because she is an Olah Chadasha (new immigrant), she and her other olah friends are entitled to some leniences on these tests. One of the leniences is to be given more time on the test if needed.

NED was one of 5 or 6 girls last June who needed more time and were taken by the principal into the principal's office to finish their test. When NED finished her test, she asked the principal what she should do with the test. The principal told NED to give it to her, which NED did. In her hand.

Fast forward to Septemeber. The students are all given their bagrut grades for Tanach except NED. It seems as though they had lost or misplaced hers! But not to worry, they would find it.

About 4 weeks ago, the school informed NED that they had not found her test and she would have to take it over again.

BAD CALL! Especially for NED!!

This past Tuesday morning, their first day back to school after Chanukah, I decided it was time to advocate for my daughter. I called the guidance counselor, who thankfully is patient with my Hebrew, and was told to call the school to speak to the principal and a women named Michal who is in charge of the bagrut for the school. I left a message and waited.

Next morning, yesterday, I called again. Thankfully Dalia (see post Dec. 17) came yesterday!! She is really my angel! Michal called and began in very very fast hebrew to explain to me the issue at hand. I interrupted and asked her to speak more slowly. As most Israelis do when give that request, she said the first two words slowly and then went full speed again.

Did I already say, "Thankfully Dalia was there?" I put the phone on speaker, explained to Michal that I had someone here that helps me with hebrew and she should continue.

Well, Gd bless my angel Dalia. She argued my case (and NED's) with as much passion as if it were her own chiuld. There was no excuse and no real apology. Just, "The school messed up (the hebrew slang word is 'fashla') and it doesn't really matter what or who. NED would have to take the test over again."

Now, if it had just been me, I would have been terribly upset, and not known what to do. But because my angel Dalia was here, she told Michal that we would take this up with the Misrad Hachinuch (the school department) and get back to her.

Dalia called the Misrad Hachinuch and was told that the child should not have to take the test again, but we would have to write a letter describing what happened.

And so we did.

And now we wait.

And that is the story, so far, of NED's missing tanach bagrut.

ELy's sensitive head and belly

I think I might have fugiured out why ELY complains of headaches and belly aches every day in school.

She called today (again, as she does almost every day) to say she didn't feel good and wanted to come home. So I asked some questions:

Me: What are you learning right now?
E: Nothing, the 6th grade girls are teaching us. The teachers are in the office talking (I assume - and hope - she means they are having a meeting. Why they are having a meeting in the middle of the day, I don't know?)
Me: So the teacher is not in the classroom and the girls are being wild?
E: Yeah and when they scream it gives me a headache (She has expressed this complaint before) And my tummy hurts.
Me: What are the 6th grade girls doing?
E: They are just writing on the board.
Me: And so you want to come home because all the noise and craziness is hurting your head and tummy?
E: Yes.
Me: Ely, is the office where you are calling me from quiet?
E: Yes.
Me: Then I want you to get a book to read and stay in that office until the teacher comes out of her meeting. You tell anyone who asks you, that I told you to do that. OK?
E: OK. Bye.

She seemed relieved not to have to go back to the classroom and content to stay in school on those conditions.

Mommy detective work. I love when I figure it out.

Now the question is, how do I deal with it in hebrew? With whom do I speak, and who will listen?

The classrooms here are infamous for being uncontrolled and undisciplined. ELY needs more.

Although we have a busy home, it is not a loud one. She is the youngest - not alot of babies screaming or crying. She is not used to it and clearly very sensitive to it.

Now I undertand better and can try to work with her school and teachers to deal with the situation.

I hope.

Happy 2009, by the way

Yeah, It's a new calendar year. We all have to remember to write 09 on our checks.

MB will be a graduate of 2009, please Gd.

ELY turned 9 in 2009. DB is 19. And NED turned 16.

2009. Our 6th year living in Israel.

Ari and I toasted 2009 with a special bottle of Muscat we had been saving for an occasion. Last night seemed like one. MB and NED shared with us. Nothing too special. Just being together.

Woke up this morning with the yucks - Beginning?

2009, another year in my life, in my married life.

Happy 2009.

Feeling I should be doing more

Family and friends from the US keep emailing and calling wondering how the situation is here.

According to the news, there is a war going on about 1 hour south of here. But I would never know it.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I am just going on with my trivial day, complaining, laughing, cooking, cleaning, living. No real fear.

I send my girls off to school and my husband off to work - without a thought. My son is somewhere in the desert learning how to shoot a gun and live like a soldier and I am doing my thing - without a thought - that there are families - Jewish families - suffering. Scared. Unsure every moment of their days.

I want to be doing more, but honestly, because of the language barrier, am afraid to. I want to take in a family from the south. My parents would have done it. We always had exchange people coming through our house when I was a kid. But I seem to have a block about it. I am afraid of what??? Of making a full out of myself? Of not being able to communicate, when I "should" be able to? When I could be doing a huge mitzvah - how ridiculous!

What is wrong with me?

And I don't just have to take people into my home - I can bake cookies - which I love to do - I donate candies and treats. Clothes. toys.

But I haven't. Why not?

I keep my head in the sand. I won't read (as we have no television) the news, or watch the clips on the internet. I don't want to know. It upsets me. I get stuck in real emotion when I know too much. I get scared and I can't manage. So I choose not to know. So I go along in my life as if everything is just fine.

I want to be doing more, but I can't or won't or don't want to?

Sounds horrible.

**UPDATE** Because I wrote about it and it made me feel bad, I pushed myself to gather together all the candies in the house that have not and would not be eaten, a couple unused toys and a sweater or two, and called the woman on the yishuv who collects and distributes to needy people. In this case, she was specifically collecting for the children of Sderot. I feel a little better now that I made that effort, but it still doesn't feel like enough...