Sunday, November 30, 2008

What a Weekend

About a week and a half ago, I made plans to spend this past Shabbat at the home of my friend S., who lives in Shiloh. Shiloh is fairly isolated, and the buses from Jerusalem leave only about once an hour. I had been hoping to make the 1 pm bus, but there was so much cleanup to do after our Thanksgiving meal, that in the end I rushed through packing, put on the first nice outfit I could find (which was not really weather-appropriate, but I figured I'd be spending all of Shabbat in S.'s warm house) and left the my apartment at 1 pm, more than early enough -- I thought -- to make the 2 pm bus (the last one from Jerusalem to Shiloh on this cloudy and chilly Friday afternoon).

I'd forgotten that the traffic on Yaffo street these days is horrendous due to the construction of a light rail, and traffic heading toward the Central Bus Station was at less than a crawl. I got out and walked most of the way up Yaffo, getting to the CBS at 2:05 -- chilled to the bone. Did I mention that one of the two metal detectors at the Central Bus Station was out of service, so getting through security was a nightmare?

Meanwhile, I'd called S. from my cell phone, and we worked out that instead of the bus to Shiloh, I'd take the bus to Kochav Yaakov, and she'd pick me up from there.

(I want to say here that the people who drive through the gas station outside Kochav Yaakov are really nice -- every single driver stopped and offered "trempim" -- rides -- to those of us hanging out at the bus stop. In Israel, this is not creepy, it's just friendly.)

S. picked me up about 40 minutes before Shabbat, and we drove faster than I'm used to, through the rain, to her house, getting there just in time for me to take a hot shower before candle-lighting. For the next few hours, all was well. I was warm and fed, and S. has really cool chairs in her living room that are exceptionally comfortable. At about 11 pm I slid into a deep sleep in my bed.

2:40 am: S. was yelling "Sarah! Sarah! Can you get up?!?" I thought maybe the house was on fire.

The house was fine, but S. was not. On her way back to her bed from a bathroom trip, she'd fallen and hit her face on the corner of her nightstand. She had a deep cut just next to her eye, and there was blood everywhere. I convinced her to call for an ambulance, and we took the one-hour trip to Jerusalem in the back of the Shiloh emergency vehicle, in the company of two local medics -- a woman with a white kerchief covering her hair driving the ambulance, and a (very cute, I must say) yeshiva student in the back taking care of S. They'd taken one look at her eye and said in unison "Hadassah Ein Karem." So off we went.

At Ein Karem, we had to walk back and forth between two buildings -- in the cold -- before finally settling down in the Opthamalogy unit. The Opthamologist was upset at first that neither the medics nor the ER staff had cleaned the wound, but then he looked at it and said "Nehedar! (Awesome!) No wonder no one else wanted to touch this."

S. got several stitches next to her eye, and two in her eye. Have I ever mentioned that I'm extremely squeamish, especially about things having to do with eyes, and sticking things in one's eye? Ooooooooogh.

Also, may I remind you that just weeks ago, I went to spend Shabbat with friends, and in the middle of the night the husband got sick, and they went to the hospital and I spent Shabbat in their home with their two kids? Do you remember that a few weeks ago I spent Shabbat in Hadassah Har Tzofim with Chava, who had just been diagnosed with diabetes? And that shortly after that, I went with my roommate to the Ein Karem ER because the old fracture in her spine had become excrutiatingly painful? What the heck is goin' on with me???

Anyhow, by about 9 am, S. was released by the hospital, but we couldn't go anywhere because it was Shabbat. We found the prayer service in the hospital, and the Shabbat meals, and a room set up with a few cots for Shomer Shabbat visitors. All in all, if you are going to be stuck in a hospital for Shabbat, it wasn't so bad. But ... what the heck?

S. can see, but her eye looked really bad. And later, we returned to the Opthamology unit to get some more cream put on it, and --like I said -- I'm really squeamish about eyes, and there I was, surrounded by patients with eye injuries, and finally I said to S -- who was the patient -- "I am reaching my limit, and I need to get air or I will faint." I was sitting there with my head in my lap, taking deep breaths, and S -- the patient -- went to get me a glass of water.

After Shabbat, my friend Yael got an SMS message from me that just said "Guess where I am right now?" Yael, bless her, happened to be on her way out to visit a cousin who was sick at . . . Hadassah Ein Karem. Yael knew right away I must be in a hospital, the question was just which one. In the end I waited for Yael to finish her visit, and got a ride home with her.

What. The. Heck.

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