Wednesday, November 21, 2012

swirling thoughts #221 - oops (written but never posted...til now. i blame the valium)

A sense of humor only takes you so far. And then you need valium.

How could I even say such a thing? Because I can. I carry valium in my wallet. When Bob had to go for an MRI of his back (Bob is a veteran of back surgery and, as we discovered during a tour of the underground Kotel tunnels, extremely claustrophobic) we requested an open MRI, which, incidentally, you can get in NY as easy as a slice of pizza. In Israel, the wait for open MRI is one year. And so we opted for the closed MRI, for which we got a middle of the night appointment 3 weeks later. The doc gave me two tablets of valium and told me to give Bob only one.
So why two?
In case things get really bad.
Bob was working hard on ‘mind over matter’ and got through the experience with the one tablet. And so I’ve got mother’s little helper in my wallet, sandwiched between my 2 licenses – the Israeli and the expired NY. In case things get really bad.

Any mother who’s missed several nights sleep with a baby running fever in the 40+ range knows how hard it can be to maintain a sense of humor while fighting off hallucinations of sleep. Add to that the stress of zig zag-ing between branches of the health clinic to catch the lab guy on the eve of Sukkot (read: streets blocked with sukkah parts, lulav vendors, bajillions of school children not in school) and the only laughter you will hear is that scary nervous laughter of a person on the brink of insanity.

When life was really hard…
There’s a story my husband tells about my father in law when he wants to illustrate the Israel of his father’s youth. It was Yom Kippur in 1947. Not unlike Yom Kippur in 2012, while the grown-ups were inside the shul praying, the kids were outside the shul running around. Except that my father in law, then 11 years old, and his friends stumbled upon a shell of a bomb. Not unusual in southern Tel Aviv in those days when tensions ran high between Jews, Arabs, and British. As the boys were playing with the shell, my father in law realized it was warm. He turned to tell his younger brother to get back, that it was going to blow up. As his brother ran, the shell exploded, killing two of his friends. My father in law, with his back still turned, miraculously, was okay, but his brother was standing just far enough away to be hit by the arc of shrapnel coming out of the bomb. As the story goes, my husband’s uncle, young and full of shrapnel, almost died. He needed life-saving antibiotics but there were none to be had. My father in law went to the black market and got the antibiotics. And saved his brother’s life again.

Things are different now. You can get antibiotics. But don’t be picky.
Not wanting to sound like that mother who thinks she knows better than the doctor but, inevitably, sounding like that mother, I said, “She was on penicillin two weeks ago. Isn’t there something about changing up the antibiotics?” Turns out, Israeli doctors know all about the changing up of the antibiotics. Except, “the antibiotic I want her to have has been unavailable for the last two months.” Unavailable at the local pharmacy? But I knew the answer. Unavailable in the whole aretz.

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