Tuesday, October 24, 2006

a farewell

a farewell

i have always been an open and honest person. no secrets. i tell it like it is. this blog has been for me. it has been for my friends and my family when i am too busy to return their calls. but really, it has been for me. i know they have appreciated it. there are a few people out there who have twisted it into a negative thing but they are not my concern. noach read and supported it from the beginning, and with his support, i felt i could tell people what i was going through.

thursday noach goes in for his skin graft surgery. he will be in the hospital for 5-7 days, resting at home for a week and is looking forward to getting through this next stage of his recovery.

the last two and a half months have been full of ups and downs for everyone involved. physically for noach. emotionally for him and everyone else. of course, this time is about/should be about noach. but i am a person and this affects me as well. i am a step-mother to ariel, a fine young man. i am a mother to two young children who need me constantly. i am a daughter. a sister. a sister-in-law. an aunt. a friend. i am still who i am. i have tried to be a good wife even in the most trying of times. i have tried to be a good example to my children and at times of course, lost my "cool" and my patience. who wouldn't? i am not perfect. no one is. as much as i can't REALLY know what noach is going through, no one REALLY knows what i am going through.

my dear family, friends, cousins... i appreciate all the support you have shown in the last few months. i appreciate the meals, gift certificates for meals and massages (can't wait to get a massage), visits, baskets, emails and calls. i ask you to stay in touch. life is a little less hectic these days, just "regular" hectic and i will try to call you or email you back. email is still the easiest way for me to keep in touch but i do love to hear your voices every now and then. i would be happy to update you on noach's progress, to tell you how i am doing, how the kids are doing more privately than i have in the blog.

for those that sit in judgment of me, my words, my actions, i am happy to bid you farewell. when you are perfect, when you make no mistakes and always say the right thing, when you go out of your way to help others, when you don't speak poorly of other people, when you treat your friends and family with dignity and respect, when you seek forgiveness, true forgiveness for your sins of the past, then you can look at my life. actually, that's not true. my life is my life. i am the one living it. i am the one who wakes up to it each morning and falls asleep thinking about it each night. i am proud of my life. there have been things in my past i may have done differently, but there truly are no secrets and nothing that my friends and family don't know about.

i have been told by the people close to me that i am a great friend, loyal, caring, loving. those that don't see those sides of me don't see them for a reason. you aren't taking the time to get to know me or aren't treating me respectfully and kindly.

this weekend, my "Uncle" Phil passed away. i put uncle in quotes because he was my aunt's second husband and he was very much like an uncle to me but didn't want us to call him "uncle." he was probably the kindest, gentlest man i know. those that knew him and spent time with him were lucky. he visited us this summer and i treasure the time we spent together. his manner was sweet and gentle. i hope to be that kind of person. i hope to surround myself with people that make me feel that way. that bring out the calmness and generosity and love in me.

so to the people i know and love, please keep calling and keep emailing. to the rest of you, it is time for you to find something else to talk about. time to find the bad in someone other than me. time to find the good in yourself.

i know noach will be back to himself soon. he has come so far in the last few months. after next week, G-d willing he will be able to begin rehab and begin to be fitted for a prosthetic. i know he can do anything to which he puts his mind. if anyone can, he can.

i will try to focus on being the best person i can be. i know i am not always the easiest to get along with, i know that i am not a morning person, i know that i can be moody, but i also know that i am a good person and a strong person and a person that usually puts the needs of other before my own, even if those people don't realize it. i know i can be pushed to say the wrong thing and act the wrong way, but it is hard when people are pushing you.

i had a statue in my room when i was little and it said "please be patient. G-d isn't finished with me yet." how true!

i will not be writing in the blog again but thank you for reading it. please always remember there are two sides to every story and things are not always what they seem.

please pray for noach's surgery to go well on thurs. and for his recovery to be quick and pain free. thank you for your support.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

oct. 19

haven't written in a while. just busy with the kids, everyday life, etc. noach is doing ok. he still goes to OT for his wrist 3 times a week and is able to grasp things now and put pressure on the crutches, etc. he still does not have feeling in a few of the fingers but, G-d willing, that will come back. his wound is shrinking slowly but surely. next thurs. noach will have the skin graft surgery. he will then be on bed rest for 5-7 days inthe hospital and then for a few at home as well. hopefully, after that, he will start his physical therapy and they will start getting him ready for a prosthetic.

ariel's sister, shir, has been with us for 2 weeks and ariel has been busy showing her around NY. tonight she leaves and ariel is going to peurto rico for the weekend with my father-in-law, brother-in-law and his cousin.

tal and binyamin are great. binyamin is 9 months old now and still the happiest baby around. even yesterrday with a double ear infection and a fever, he was smiling away. tal is enjoying being home. we haven't sent her to school in a while so she has been having lots of playdates with her cousin, maya, her friend, angelina, and her new friend, dahlia, who lives a few houses away. i may look into a class for her or someone to help around the house for a bit.

noach and i met with a wonderful child psychologist, katie eisenstadt, this morning. she had great advice and we will see her again next week. she thinks that we should definitely NOT push tal to go to school right now. tal is very worried about me and that, G-d forbid, something could happen to me. her world changed when something terrible happened to her abba and we need to deal with it and give her security and confidence right now. we may be able to try again in several months but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. right now she loves to be home, all the time, but i will encourage her to visit friends, go to the playground, etc.

not much new to report. hope you are all doing well and enjoying the changing seasons. i love watching tal observing the leaves turning colors. reminds me of last year when the gardeners took the leaves away and tal told me we should buy more.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

wed. oct. 4

very busy. school with tal, life, watching ben scoot across the floor, the kids have colds again, ariel's sister, shir, is coming to stay with us for 2 weeks, we just put up our sukkah...

noach went to see dr. gayle, the plastic surgeon, today. he said things look good. on oct. 26th he will have his skin graft surgery. then he will be in the hospital for 7 days, unable to move around at all. then, possibly, a month after that, he may be able to begin with a prosthetic. his arm is doing much better. he doesn't have all the feeling back in his fingers but he is able to pick up and grip things, which makes a huge difference. noach is trying to appreciate his life but it is not always easy. it is frustrating to him that he always has to rely on others and can't just get up and walk across the room when he wants something. i know that will get easier with time.

anyway, tomorrow he sees dr. helfet, the doctor who did surgery on his wrist. he continues to go to burke rehab three times a week for the arm and it is helping.

so, our lives are typical, yet not at all typical. i can't really explain what i mean. we are trying to be as "normal" as possible, even though things are far from normal. no words of wisdom today - it is not my regular late night writing session, but i did want to update you on the dr. visit and tell you that we are continuing to hang in there as best we can.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

thurs. the 28th? 27th? 29th? at least i know it's thurs!

sorry i haven't written for a while. that last entry, by noach, was hard to top and we've been busy with our daily lives. noach is doing better, thank G-d. they took him off the IV antibiotics last week so he is no longer nauseous all the time or dry heaving. they really wreaked havoc on his body. they were also able to take out the PIC line, the line that brings the IV meds from his arm up to his chest. in addition, noach no longer needs the splint on his left arm. he has been to burke rehab for occupational therapy twice already for his arm. he will go there 3 times a week. so i guess we are moving along. in a week he will see the plastic surgeon about the stump as well as the orthopedist about his wrist so we will find out more information, such as for when the skin graft surgery will be scheduled.

the other night we rented a DVD called safe men. a comedy. we watched it with ariel and it was a really fun activity. then yesterday was the most active and fun day we've had as a family. i took tal to school while noach had his bandaged changed. he had a few visitors. in the afternoon, tal's playgroup came over - my three friends and their kids. the kids played in the house and then outside as noach sat on the deck. tal was so happy. she needed it. i needed it. we all needed it. then ariel made a BBQ, with noach supervising. all the kids had hot dogs and we ate hamburgers, ribs, etc. it was so nice. like old times. a few hours later 3 good friends of noach's came over and they had a jam session. ariel played the bass, noach the harmonica and piano, mike the guitar, kenny the guitar and some stray instruments, arthur played whatever tal handed him, tal played many different instruments and sang into a microphone (it wasn't plugged in but she didn't care) and ben just rocked to the music. it was great to hear and to see. it was a bid day for noach and i think it caught up with him today because he slept really late but i think it was one of the best times since the accident.

each morning ben and i bring tal to CHABAD preschool. she is having a hard time separating. so each day, i sit outside her classroom while she joins the class for some activities and stays with me for others. she seems to always warm up after playground time. i am one of the very few moms that stay but tal seems to need me there. she is unusually attached to me lately. i guess a lot is going on in her life. things she doesn't understand, things she may be afraid of, new experiences and a new family dynamic. when i ask her if she likes school, she first replies yes and then says, "not so much." it is a warm, wonderful place and i hope she begins to feel more comfortable there. she comes home singing all the songs they teach, which is amazing, because many times she is with me in the hallway when they are teaching them but i guess she is interested enough to pick them up.

and ben is his typical smiley self. he is working on his 2nd tooth coming in, sits by himself and has started to do the combat crawl. he is really fast. i can put 10 of his toys in front of him but he will always scoot across the floor for one of tal's toys or for a remote.

and ariel is an amazing help. emotionally and otherwise. little by little, he is making the room downstairs his own. he brings a "coolness" and sense of style to everything he touches. i have ot say that last night during the jam session, i realized that ariel looks like a real rocker. he has a unique sense of style as well as the way he carries himself. i am proud to be his step-mom and impressed that he puts up with all of us and does what we ask of him without question. tal and ben have really bonded with him. soon ariel's sister will be visiting for 2 weeks and that will be great, i am sure.

so i am off to relax for a short time before i go to bed. tomorrow is another day. i will try to update you soon but not daily - it is too much for me and things don't change that much from day to day.

these are the ten days of repentance - when we ask for forgiveness and examine our past behavior. we pray to be inscribed into the book of life for the coming year. noach must have done a great job praying last year during the holidays because G-d saved him on aug. 11. may you and your loved ones be inscribed into the book of life and may you have a sweet, peaceful New Year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

wed. the 20 - dictated by noach

i was impressed with jo's choice of a name for the blog. i don't know if jo knows about my relationship with the book zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. i'll share it now. in 1977, i was 17. in an effort to resolve the endless questions on the mind of a rebellious 17 year old, i purchased the book. i studied its pages carefully. i carried the book around with me and it fit snugly beneath the seat of my orange, early 70's honda CD 175. my disappointment with the lack of information, relating to motorcycle maintenance in the book, was second only to my inability to understand what i believed to be the book's hidden, secret messages about life. eventually i set the book aside. i have read the book 2 or three more times since i was 17. most recently, in 1996, when my office-mate at the public defender's office had it sitting on his bookcase beneath his flourescent jimmi hendrix poster. i was impressed with his choice of reading material and convinced that he could guide me to finally understanding the book. we spoke about it often. he admitted his inability to understand it as well. and again i set it aside. i believed that there must be zen in the art of motorcycle maintenance but realized i couldn't learn it from a book. i found satisfaction in that realization after setting the book aside for the 3rd time in 20 years. on august 11, 2006, i was riding my ducati 620 monster into work. i loved that bike. my schedule for the day was to arrive at my office, say my morning prayers, catch up on some office work, change into a suit and go to the southern district court to be sworn in. i was about to be retained on my first death penalty case which was pending in that court. at about 7 that morning, i had an accident. the witness describes it as follows, "i heard a screech and a boom and knew something bad had happened. i saw a motorcycle go by with nobody on it. after that, a man just fell out of the sky." that man was me. i saw my leg fly by as i was falling ot of the sky. i recognized my jeans and my boot and didn't understand why my leg wasn't attached to my body. i remember being scared that i would land on the highway, get run ovrer and immediately killed. i was grateful when i survived the first few seconds on the highway where i saw many cars swerve dangerously close to me. i sat up and looked down to where my left leg should have been and saw the very frightening remnants of shattered bone, muscle and skin that was left above where my knee had been. blood was quickly draining out and i realized that there was a high probability that i was going to die in the next few minutes. i took my belt off from around my waist and tried to get a tourniquet around my upper thigh. i was having difficulty. my left hand was useless. i was growing weak and starting to have some strange visions. miraculously a man came running up, yelling for me to lie down and be still. i didn't listen. i remained seated, handed him the belt and asked him to please tie it tightly around what remained of my thigh. he told me there was not enough there to get a tourniquet around. that scared me. i thought a tourniquet was my only chance for survival. he reached into my groin and knew exactly where to apply pressue and i could tell by his touch that he knew exactly what he was doing. i asked him if he was able to stop the bleeding and he said he was able to slow it down a lot. by now a crowd had gathered. his girlfriend was standing above me crying. with my right hand, i took my cell phone from my inner jacket pocket and handed it to her. my vision was fading and i couldn't see the names as i was scrolling down and trying to find jo. i asked her to scroll down to jo for me and she did. my only thoughts of this time were of jo and all my children. the thought of dying was really not scary. the unknown that awaited me did not plague my mind. my only thought was that i can't believe, i can't accept, it just can't be that i never see jo, ariel, tal and binyamin again. that thought echoed in my mind. i couldn't come to grips with it, i couldn't accept it. i finally got through to jo and in the calmest voice i could muster, told her i had a bad accident, that i love her and the kids, that i'm sorry for any wrong i may have done and to raise the kids right. i was growing very tired now and gave the phone back to his girlfriend. i started seeing strange things and thougt this was it, i was going. i started saying the Shema, a Jewish prayer one is obligated to say twice a day, that is also said in moments of distress. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is G-d, the Lord is One." i was repeating it over and over in Hebrew. i thought myself fortunate that my death was not instantaneous and i had the opportunity to say the Shema at that moment. by now, the police and fire department had arrived. i looked up from the ground and saw their long, square faces, in black and white like something out of a norman rockwell painting. they were nodding their heads "no" and i could tell by their gestures to eachother that they didn't think i had a shot. one of them retrieved my leg, put it in a bag of ice and brought it close. people were yelling at me to "stay with them," not to slip away. promising me the ambulance was getting close and i would be all right. i saw a few people crying. i started talking about my family. i think the words came out slurred and in fragmented sentences. the ambulance arrived and as we raced to the hospital, i heard one of the EMT's tell the driver that my blood pressure was 30 and my pulse was faint. i didn't understand how i was still conscious. i know that when somebody's blood pressure is 30, the nurses run to get the family to say goodbye. i struggled to stay conscious during the ride and tried, with difficulty, to talk about my family with the EMT's. before i was halfway out of the ambulance, it seemed as though i had 10 tubes stuck inside of me. bags of blood now hung over me and i was grateful for that. it was obvious the trauma doctors were in a race to save my life. i was asked questions about allergies and the like and told i was being brought into emergency surgery. i asked if they could wait 10-15 minutes until jo got there but they said no. the next day i awoke and was so grateful to be alive. i had a new outlook on life. the blog well describes the ordeals of my recovery. it is now nearly 6 weeks since the accident. i can't believe i am home. my wife and all 3 children surround me and care for me. my return to life and recovery is possible only because of G-d's graciousness and them. the questions about life that i sought to unveil in a pink paperback book in 1977 have finally been answered.

Monday, September 18, 2006

so hard to watch the one you love in pain. nauseaus. dry-heaving. not being able to eat or even talk about food. not having the energy to get out of bed. despising the IV meds he gets twice a day. feeling hopeless. worn out. scared. hating our bedroom where he spends so much time. feeling frustrated. medicated.

but there are also times noach comes downstairs, sits on the deck or on the couch, takes his second shower in 5 weeks, asks for food, laughs, tells jokes, tries to have a normal few hours before he goes back upstairs.

my birthday was saturday. as you can imagine, it sucked. i think i turned 38 but am not 100% sure. got some balloons, a few cards and a cake from the family. plus some flowers, friends, spa gift certificates from family and friends. i was exhausted all day. my parents joined us for cake after Shabbat, which was nice. yesterday, my friend, felicia, and i went to the mall. i got a haircut and we got pedicures. relaxing. i could have stayed and talked to her for hours. and when i came home, i felt guilt for thinking a pedicure was important. how can i enjoy a pedicure when noach is so sick at home?

and then, today, the kids are sick. both have colds and tal has a low grade fever. the dr. said to keep her home from school for a day or two. so they were cranky this morning. i know, thank G-d, they only have colds, but what else will G-d throw my way. i know He has a master plan but he has thrown me some curveballs. i thought that when we lost the twins, that was the hardest thing ever. i still have no gotten over it. but i know that we then had tal and we were meant to have tal and she is a true gift. and binyamin is delicious. but what we have faced since aug. 11 is unimaginable. the accident itself was horrifying but now, each day is just so hard, so tiring, so overwhelming. yes, there are joys. like when tal comes skipping into the room singing, or running across the living room floor yelling "ballet!" or when ben smiles or starts to dance to music. and having ariel here is... indescribable. i love knowing he is here as does noach and the kids. he is an amazing man. a man of few words but the words he does say are just what you need to hear. i haven't known him his whole life but i love him and he is my family and i thank G-d for him.

so i always thought that you have to look at the big picture. that tv and such are a big waste of time. now i realize that it is the little things that make life "normal," that almost seem like luxuries to me now. like i am being spoiled because i am able to do them - the trips to the supermarket, reading a magazine, cooking pancakes for my family, talking on the phone, making a new friend at tal's school who recently moved just a few doors down, surfing the web, holding the kids, meeting an old friend for coffee, pushing the kids on the swings... all things we take for granted but that make us feel sane. and make us understand that noach can't do many of these things right now. but one day he will. one day, G-d willing soon, he will walk hand in hand with tal down the street and they will sing, look for airplanes and play with the puppies they pass along the way.

i have already taken for granted that noach saw the orthopedic surgeon's team today. his wrist is healing very well. he does not have to wear the splint as much and in a few weeks, he will be bale to use the crutches without the special arm support. it will be much easier for him when he can put weight on that arm. i know this is a big thing but it gets lost in the business of our day. thank G-d it s healing properly.

the end of this week is Rosh Hashanah. if i have done anything to upset or offend anyone this year or in years past, please forgive me. if i haven't been a friend when you have needed me, if i have been grouchy to you or impatient with you, i am sorry. and please forgive noach for anything he may have done. truly, in your heart, please forgive us. if you have done anything you don't feel right about, now is the time to ask for forgiveness. and next week, when the New Year comes, may it be a year filled with sweetness, kindness, health, love, respect, laughter and peace for us and for our brothers and sisters in Israel. Shanah Tovah!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

thurs. the 13th? 14th? not sure.

yesterday we were in the city most of the day. we met wih noach's plastic surgeon as well as a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases. the surgeon said the wound looks good. we will return to him in 3 weeks and at that time, hopefully be able to schedule the skin graft operation. he gave us the number of a pain specialist we are supposed to see. the infecious disease dr. was more complicated - he had very little paperwork on us and did not want to commit to noach's case until noach has a primary care physician (which he will have tomorrow). the dr. talked a lot about the infection, the IV medication and the side effects, explained that noach would be on this medication for another 4-5 weeks (noach was hoping he was finished), told us to see a GI dr. to treat the side effects of the meds, took blood... we were in his office about two and a half hours. he willw ork with noach's other doctors. while we were busy in the city going to see the doctors, ben was home with noach's sister, niece and then monther. tal was at school and had a hard time. she knew i couldn't pick her up and knew we wouldn't be there when she got home. she cried and was sad. last night they asked me to stay at school today which i did. she was stillhaving a hard time. crying a bit and telling me she wants to go home. we will see how tomorrow goes. i will continue to stay there with her. i know she has so much going on in her world and she is really used to spending her time with me. so that's us. noach is still in a lot of pain. i broke down at the docto's office - he has already been in a horrible accident, he is in pain all the time and we were told that the road ahead is long, there is still risk of infection, he has to do the IV antibiotics for several more weeks... it is all just so much and we can't seem to get a break. i feel like noach has suffered so much and there is no end in sight right now. i know we are lucky and i know tomorrow is a new day but the days are tough on all of us, especially noach. anyway, off to get hooked on the new season of survivor.