Thursday, December 22, 2022

Never Say "Never," Happens to Us All

“ Emergency Room ”
Well, that's me under that blanket photographing the Emergency Room of the Jerusalem hospital Shaare Tzedek. That's the same hospital where I gave birth to all of my Israeli born kids. OK to be more accurate, the two eldest were born in the old building on Yaffa Street between Machane Yehuda and the Central Bus Station. 

For years I'd been bragging that I subsidize most everyone else in terms of health spending. As a senior citizen, the government pays for basic healthcare, and in addition for more services we pay extra each month. Rarely do we use any of them.

Besides getting a hefty subsidy on my hearing aids, just a few months ago and basic periodic tests and vaccines, I've had no need to take advantage of Israel's excellent healthcare. Think of me as a "cheap date." That is until barely a couple of months ago...

My chronic cough suddenly morphed from a bad cold, runny nose to breathing problems. I began to panic and contacted a daughter who lives just a quarter hour away. She took me to our local clinic where suddenly the entire staff joined in to get me ready, with IV port in my hand in case needed, for an ambulance ride to Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem. Strapped into the wheeled stretcher, breathing oxygen and Ventolin, watching a screen showing my "vitals" I hadn't a clue as to what awaited me. 

Three days of rest and tests, extra oxygen plus...

Each night I slept in a different room- first a "private room" in the Emergency Room "annex." Just a year or two earlier these rooms were for isolating COVID patients. Now lucky patients like me waiting for space in the wards are assigned rooms. Doctors and nurses visited from the various wards.

Second night I was in the "Waiting Room" of "Internal Medicine." My daughter managed to convince them to give me a window spot in the six-patient "holding area." From the looks of the other patients, I was in some advanced Geriatrics ward. This was reinforced when the following morning an aid asked if I needed a "diaper change." Really, I couldn't have made such a thing up! It didn't help that I was given a "soft meal," as if toothless. Considering that I love the crust of bakery bread and still chew bones...

Dawn from my window in 
Shaare Tzedek Hospital, Jerusalem
Thankfully, that afternoon I was transferred to a nice room for two with a roommate younger than most of my children. Soon after that, a lung specialist MD came in and told me that my oxygen levels were acceptable and I no longer needed to be "hooked up."
"Get up, and walk around" she ordered. That was really good news.
After that I couldn't be kept down, thank Gd. But I had been  labeled "asthmatic," and the staff kept asking me about my oxygen supply/equipment at home. They had taken for granted that I have a history of asthma, which I don't. 

Finally, three days after entering Shaare Tzedek I was released, though with a supply of inhalers plus some fizzy pill to attack that cough. I think that my return home is best posted as Baile Rochel. So stay tuned...

Finally leaving Shaare Tzedek thanks to their great care and 
also my local Kupat Cholim Leumit Clinic