Friday, May 11, 2012

Conversations in the emergency room

Chance has found me once again in the emergency room with a friend. My friend is running from department to department and I am just staying put.
The 65-ish man next to me sits in a wheelchair talking to a woman. While at first I think they are married, I soon hear (not on purpose) her conversation with a third friend. "Poor Yitchak," she says. "He was coming to have coffee with me, and the cars weren't used to the new traffic light, and he got hit by a car."
So their date ended up being in the emergency room.
A 25-ish Chareidi girl had come in at noon and was still waiting twelve hours later for some antibiotic drip. They didn't have it yet. So she said, "I'm going home! I'll come again tomorrow." I would have thought they'd be happy to have one less person in their overstuffed ER, but they told her that if she leaves now, she'll have to start the procedure all over again tomorrow. She stayed put.
An older lady, traditional grandmotherly type, walked around with sandwiches. The lady is from Ezer MiZion. 
She said she will be here all night if I get hungry. It's already 12:30 AM. And then I see my friend coming over with a tuna sandwich on a roll, courtesy of Ezer MiZion.
 The waiting room is packed with a cross-section of Israel - young, old, Arab, Jew, rabbi, soldier, settler.
People pace back and forth. Others nod off. Then, using Disneyworld's method of people movement as an example, nurse call out ten names and move a small group inside the emergency yet another waiting area.
It is a long night, and filled with the sounds of coughing, moaning, older folks shuffling, heart monitors beeping.
Through the night two conversations stand out above others. An old man in his eighties keeps screaming, "What have I done that makes you treat me so? I'm calling the police." The staff answers him calmly and with patience. "We are trying to help you. Do you have any family who might be concerned about you?" they calmly ask him. He answers that he has no one at all. His screaming continues through the night.
Another voice rings in my ears - that of a son speaking to his hard-of-hearing elderly mother.
"How are you now, Ema. The doctor wants you to move a little. You can do it. Do you need anything?" He stands over her all night, never stopping talking to her or helping the doctors witomorrow. She stayed put. An older lady, traditionalth her.
Somehow B"H the morning comes. There is lots of talking in the area of the old man. He does have children - a grown daughter and son that, he said, did not  exist.
As we all depart, I tell the boy that he should be blessed for all the chesed (loving kindness), he has shown to his  mother. He blushes. Throughout the night it was evident that his natural devotion to his mother was very great.
It was an honor to witness this interaction.
B"H we left the hospital feeling thankful for being in  good health. And we wish good health to you too.

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