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.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

received several emails about the comments posted to my blog on tues. 9/5 (feel free to read them. i posted responses to the comments there as well). many people offered support but the best words seem to come form my aunt mimi, her son al and daughter alice, the cousin to whom i have always felt closest. i asked alice permission to post her email on my blog and she said it was ok:

Hi Jo and Noach:

First of all, Noach, I hope you had an easy time today on your birthday. I guess, even through all the pain, the blessing is that you were able to spend the day with your beautiful, wonderful, awesome wife and your amazing, gorgeous and unbelievable children!

Jo, I just read your blog and I am absolutely astounded that anyone would have the nerve to tell you not to write it! Of all the things you are doing, writing the blog is probably the best coping mechanism I could ever imagine. It gives you a way to keep all of us interested relatives (and friends) posted on Noach's progress. But, the blog actually tells us so much more. Those of us who know you and care about you, can read between the words and get a true idea of how you are coping. I am so proud of you in so many ways. And today, I am proud that you told those out there who do not support you wholeheartedly to find another way to spend their time! I have a few more colorful words for them, but I choose to keep my big mouth shut this time.

Know this, my family (and not just the five of us, but our entire extended family) reads your blog religiously. Every day we hope to hear of improvement. Or we hope to read about a really nice thing that happened in your lives. Or we cry when we read you are exhausted or Noach had a tough day. But, through all it, we ride your ups and downs beside you, with 100% support every step of the way to Noach's recovery.

And, above all, we take your inspiration to heart. We are all thankful for our easy lives and for our healthy families. So, when you wake up or when you go to sleep or when you are stressing through your day, know that we are here reading your blog and praying for your family.

I love you,


Monday, September 11, 2006

Mon. Sept. 11

i can imagine that my blog entries will become less frequent as we get into the regular routine of our lives. ariel, my step-son, arrived today from israel and has already been a huge help around here. tal had an open house at the chabad pre-school today. she was the last one in the room - she didn't want to leave. as of tomorrow, she will begoing five days a week and i know it will be really good for her. noach has been having sushi cravings which are fulfilled with the huge amount of sushi his mom brought over yesterday and tonight by the gift certificate from my best college friends. today, 9/11, noach turned 46. he doesn't celebrate on this date anymore but instead, celebrates his hebrew birthday, which coincidentally, started tonight and ends tomorrow night. tal and i baked him a cake and gave him lots of fun pajama bottoms and lots of dvd's, mostly israeli. noach felt lousy this morning. he had fever and was very nauseous. the fever still comes and goes, almost daily. but by tonight he felt better. so now we will go about our daily lives, just as you do. i will take tal to school, give noach his IV morning meds, put ben down for a nap, pick tal up, make lunch, play with the kids and maybe see a friend, or have a visitor over, make dinner, give noach his evening meds... it will be our routine, just as you have yours. wed. we have 2 doctor appointments - one with the doctor from infectious disease and the other with the plastic surgeon who operated on noach's stump. maybe i will know more then. for now, enjoy your routines. instead of being annoyed or bored by them, thank G-d you are able to have them. i'll be in touch. you can always email me to say hi or call (although it is rare that we have time to chat on the phone) and i will try to write in my blog when i can. i don't want it to just be a diary of my daily life but i will write when i get the urge. who knows - it may be everyday or not. and for the people out there who seem to be annoyed by my blog, by my sharing my inner thoughts with the world, please stop reading. this blog wasn't meant for you, it was meant for my friends and family who know it is really hard for me to be in contact with all the people we care about. i have read some comments on my blog that i shouldn't be writing it, plus a few from an old playgroup friend and my cousin, that support me. if you don't support me or can't understand why i write, please find another constructive use for your time. for our friends who care to read on and to hear about our lives, we love you for it. and i say "we" because i read noach my blog daily and he loves it. as the Jewish New Year approaches, i know we will all be judged. i would like to leave my judgment to G-d, not to a friend of a friend of a neighbor of a friend. as i told my students in hebrew school on sunday, in the next few weeks, begin to think about your past year. what would you like to do differently? what will you try to do harder? how can you be nicer to those you care about? how can you go out of your way to be kind to strangers? how can you be a better friend/mother/daughter/sister...? why do some feel that they should be judging others when it is doubtful that they are so perfect in their own lives? how can you enjoy your daily life and the people in it so that if, G-d forbid, it drastically changed, would you know you lived each day to its fullest??? how can you tell the people you love that you really love them?

Friday, September 08, 2006

fri. the 8th, i think

sorry i haven't written in a few days. our days are pretty full and when i can finally sit downat 10:30/11:00 at night i am wiped out and just want to veg out in front of the tv. noach seems to be feeling a little better. he has two wonderful nurses who come 3 times a week to change his bandages. they are amazing. he continues to receive the heavy-duty IV antibiotics twice a day (i give them to him once in the morning and once at night). he tries not to take the painkillers because they don't make him feel that well. he does give in and take pain meds for the phantom pain which is terrible. he told me this morning that if you can imagine your tooth hurting from nerves that are exposed and how painful that can be, this is like that pain but on a gugantic wound. the pain is all the time, it just ranges in severity. so we've had a few friends visiting, our parents really helping out and tal and binyamin just brightening up our world. noach's birthday is 9/11 (monday) but he celebrates his Hebrew birthday instead, which is mon. night and tues. hard to think about celebrating our birthdays this month but we will try. tal and i will make a cake and i got noach a bunch of fun pajama pants and some dvd's. not typical of what i would choose for him but i guess our lives aren't typical these days. sometimes i just can't believe what we have been through and how long the road is ahead of us. i can't believe what my husband has to face every minute of every day. i can't imagine that a ride to work one morning can change your whole life. he is being as strong as he can, through the physical pain and through the emotional pain. but then, binyamin, who seems to be the happiest baby in the world, thank G-d, flashes his single tooth in his hundredth smile of the day and squeals in delight at the world. and then tal comes skipping into the room singing "i'm a little teapot" or a song she has made up and i know it will be ok. sometimes noach is a little cranky and moddy. sometimes i am a little cranky and overtired. but then we wake up and start a new day, like today. soon we will welcome Shabbat. tal and i will light the candles, noach will recite the kiddush and bless the kids (he faces east toward israel for ariel's blessing), eat home-made challah that our good friends dropped off (i haven't made challah since the accident) and we will sit down as a family. our wonderful rabbi, Rabbi Hochberg, visited yesterday. he made an interesting point to noach - what if this had happened 5 years ago? we wouldn't have been married or even together and tal and binyamin wouldn't have been born yet. i guess there is a reason this happened 4 weeks ago. i will never know the reason and will never really understand, but we will take each day as it comes. enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

tues. 9/5

too tired to write. it's been a long day. highpoints: my great friend (and noach's cousin), toba, came over today with her kids. it was almost normal for me. to have a friend over and kids for tal to play with. felt great. also, my cousin, alice, wrote some really great words to me in some emails. that it is ok for me to be on auto-pilot now, she would do the same, it is understandable to put my needs aside right now, things will get better... she is right. anyway, a physical therapist came today to evaluate noach. said that noach doesn't need physical therapy right now - he is able to move around on his crutches, knows the correct exercises to do... he does need some occupational therapy for his arm - he still doesn't have feeling in 2 of his fingers and he needs exercises for increased movement. thinks that in a few months, noach will spend about a week at burke rehab to get a prosthetic, learn how to use it and then he will be able to come home again. that is after surgery and after all the other doctors do their thing. anyway... i have been looking for some books. bought noach a few on above-the-knee amputations. what i am searching for is a book to read to tal that deals with the loss of a limb. interestingly, i can't seem to find it anywhere. my dad also looked a bit and couldn't find it. so if you come across one, please let me know. if not, when my life stops whirling around, i hope to write a children's book about this. i know it is not a popular topic, but to the people it has happened to and their families, it makes sense. i read tal books about the zoo, school the dentist, potty-training... and i'd like to read her about this, too. maybe she can help me write a book. for those that know her, i kow you think she could write the book by herself. i'll bet she could. good night. thanks toba and alice for making today a little brighter.

Monday, September 04, 2006

thoughts from a night owl...

i don't think i have ever been so exhausted in all my life. when i was putting binyamin in for a nap this morning in the pack n' play, i lay down on the floor next to him and fell asleep. last night, i think everyone here took turns waking up. first tal, then binyamin, then noach for meds, then binyamin, then tal, then noach. no wonder i am tired. both my mom and mother in-law were here to help today because it's labor day and they aren't teaching. but i did about 5 loads of laundry, cooked hamburgers, eggs and some other food, went to the market, gave noach his IV meds twice... i can already hear the responses: take care of yourself, get someone to help... i appreciate it but i have to do things my way. my kids need me. noach needs me. in a week or two, ariel will be here to help. and a week from tomorrow tal starts school and will go 5 mornings a week. so things will quiet down. the only way you can help is not to be upset if i don't call u back right away, to check with me if you plan to bring over food (at the moment we have so much and i feel like it is such a waste to throw it out but noach doesn't have much of an appetite and tal and i like child-friendly food), call first if you want to visit because noach isn't always up to it (and neither am i) and to ask me again in 2-3 weeks if i need anything. by that time, my mom and mother-in-law will be back at work, tal will be at school, ariel will be here and i will be in more of a regular routine, i hope, and will know what i need. plus by then, maybe the food will stop coming from friends and i may ask you to pick up a carton of milk for me, meet me for coffee or ask you to join me in a giant banana split. now i am off to fold the many loads of laundry i did today and to watch some mindless tv. i love this time of the day - i know i should go to sleep but all is quiet here and i have some time for me. until someone calls, "Mommy!" and when he/she does, i will be there because that is what it is all about.

labor day...

the boys in the house are napping and tal and i are watching tv. it has been a very busy few days. it was so great to have noach home for shabbat. very emotional. he was in a lot of pain, very nauseous from the IV antibiotics i administer twice a day, the pain medication and so thoroughly tired, but he made kiddush for the family, came downstairs a few times and enjoyed the kids. binyamin has a huge smile each time he hears noach's voice or sees him. and tal loves to be by noach's side - whether it is to watch tv with him, listen to a story, to sing together or to talk. today we had a minyan (a prayer service of at least ten men) at the house, in which they read from the torah and noach benched gomel (a prayer one says after surviving a dangerous experience). it was a beautiful service and noach made a touching, wonderful speech. he is so thankful to be alive. he was able to hang on for his life because of two reasons - his strong faith in G-d and his love for his family. he couldn't bare the thought of not seeing me, ariel, tal and binyamin again. i have heard these thoughts before, but this morning, it sounded especially eloquent. so we are spending lots of time together as a family, enjoying eachother, trying to work through both the physical and emotional pain of what noach has endured. and each day, we are thankful to be alive and to be together. 33 years ago, on labor day, noach became a bar-mitzvah, a man. in the past 3 and a half weeks, he has shown what kind of a man he truly is - a man of character, strength, faith, dignity, and a man over flowing with love for his family and for G-d.

Friday, September 01, 2006

welcome home, abba!!!

yesterday i went to the hospital to pick noach up. i packed up his room, said good-bye to the doctors, nurses, the social worker, physical therapist… we got into his car and headed home. it was a great feeling. together, in his car, with the radio on, a beautiful day, coming home after just about three weeks in the hospital. it wasn’t the most comfortable ride for noach but he was really happy and really thankful he was coming home to his family. when we got there, a ton of equipment had been delivered - a vac pack bandage for his wound, tons of medications, a wheelchair, shower seat, walker… noach was able to get inside and up to bed on his own. tal came up and she was so happy he was home. all she wants to do is go upstairs and visit him. they talk, he reads her stories… he is so happy. he is so thankful he is home with his family. a little while later, a nurse came to give him the IV antibiotics. she spent hours showing me how to do it and set up the IV bag for me for the morning. he gets the antibiotics every 12 hours. this morning, i gave them to him - flushed the IV line, gave him the meds, reflushed the line… i can’t believe i did it. the nurse will be back tonight but after that, i am on my own until thursday. wow. a different nurse came today to change the bandages. she will come mon, wed. and fri. it was amazing to wake up in the bed in the middle of the night and to look over to see him there next to me, sleeping. yes, this is all a lot of work for me. the two kids, noach… but we are so lucky. we made it through this together, mostly due to his strength and his love for our family. of course both of our familes and our friends have been here to help - watching the kids, meals, calls, emails… on the way home yesterday, noach turned to me and said, “do you see, together we can do anything!” he is right. in a few minutes i am going to light Shabbat candles and he will make kiddush for his family. it has been a few weeks since he has been home to do that. i know it will be emotional for all of us. i wish ariel (and dana, of course) was here but G-d willing, he will be here next week to join us. have a wonderful holiday weekend. shabbat shalom.

past blogs...

day 15:
couldn’t write last night. didn’t get home until 1:30 am. was home all morning with the kids, said good-bye to ariel and dana, who headed back to israel. it was really hard and emotional for me to say good-bye to them. in fact, i just said i’ll see you later because i knew i would lose it if we had a long good-bye. ariel is planning on coming back soon. anyway, i went to the hospital. when i got there, noach was with a social worker and a physical therapist. the social worker was beginning to work on getting him to acute rehab and the physical therapist was teaching him how to use a walker. noach took a few steps, to the bathroom and back. he did great. then we waited for him to go to surgery. he was considered an “add on” so they could take him anytime. finally at 7:30 he went into surgery for two hours. i guess it went well. they weren’t exactly sure what they were going to do, depending on the skin, etc. at about 9:30 or so, the very impressive doctor, came to speak with us. for now. they just cleaned up all the non-viable, dead, infected skin. they put on a special bandage that will be changed every three days. they are going to wait about a week and keep an eye on it. then noach will probably come home for 3-6 weeks or possibly go to rehab. after that, they will do skin grafts from the other leg, he will be on bed-rest for 5 days. then he may come home for a few weeks to heal. they may be able to remove the skin graft and close up the wound, or just keep it. skin grafts are not as good as the regular skin because it doesn’t have the fatty tissue underneath. it can cause complications, like ulcers, when it rubs the prosthetic. i also learned online that the prosthetic takes a long time to fit. you get one but that changes over the course of a year, at the same time they are trying to shrink the stump as much as possible. noach had a spinal for the surgey so they had to wait until he had feeling before they sent him back up to his room. at 1 am they said they would send him up soon. i set up his water, phone & ipod for the night and went home. all in all, the surgery went well. they cleaned up the dead skin that could cause further infection and the top plastic surgeon, who deals with skin tissue, is now on the case. he said that the skin issue is really a surface issue and we are very lucky that his muscles and everything underneath is in such good shape. he has to take it slow now and not try to do too much. if he tries to get out of bed without the physical therapist, he could fall and hemorrage or have tissue damage. i know it will be hard for him but he promises to take it easy and not do too much. i am getting ready to go to the hospital now. my sister in law, peri, is watching the kids for a few hours. spoke to noach a little while ago - with the physical therapist, he went all the way into the hallway on the walker and back to bed. seems like small potatoes but it is a huge deal - he hasn’t been out of bed much in 2 weeks, didn;t eat yesterday at all because of the surgery and this is all new for hime. i am so proud of him. find something to be proud of in the people you love and tell them about it.

17 days…
i didn’t write at all yesterday. i didn’t see noach at all yesterday. i really missed him. it was shabbat and so hard not to see him or even speak to him. i think he had a hard time, too. shabbat is a family time and it just wasn’t the same. i spent the day with tal and binyamin which was good for them. my sister in law, amy, and niece, rachel, were here which was great. tal loves having them around. so does binyamin but he loves everything. his first tooth is just starting to come in and tal went to the bathroom on the potty for the first time. it was exciting but we wished abba could be home to share these moments with us. this morning, i took tal and my dad to the hospital to see him. we had a good visit. each day tal brings him a little toy. today it was a little rubber duck. so far she has sent him an elmo, a little pony, a little people man in a weelchair, a dora clock with a picture of her and ben on it, and swiper (a character from dora). noach proudly displays them on the windowsill, overlooking the east river. he was so happy to see her. they shared cupcakes. we told tal more about noach’s leg - that it came off when he fell off his motorcycle. her response was “oh, where’s the boo boo?” and after we showed her, she asked about the buttons on the different machines. that was about it. we were expecting it to be a big conversation, but with a two year old, there is just acceptance. we explained that this wouldn’t happen to her and that abba will still be the same abba and do the same things with her. we visited for a while and my dad had some time with noach as well. someone from infectious diseases came to tell us that noach had some sort of infection in the stump and they think the bone may be infected as well. they are growing cultures since the operation on thurs. to see exactly what is going on and which antibiotics to use. they will hopefully know more in the next few days and think it is treatable but of course this freaked us out. i came home for a bit and then decided to go back in tonight to see him. his family was there when i got there but soon they all left. noach’s roommate had gone home today as well so for the first time we had some time alone. it was really nice. quiet. mellow. i feel so horrible about what he is going through. no one should have to go through it. the pain. the phantom pain. the worry. the uncertainty. the questions. the loneliness. the fear. at the same time though, he has so much love and support around him and is very lucky. it is so difficult to see the one you love in so much pain. tears at my heart. i walked around the house this shabbat thinking that for me, G-d willing, his being away is only temporary. i could have lost him. i could not even begin to imagine having to deal with that. so i know i am lucky. i know he is lucky. but i also know it is going to be a long road ahead with many obstacles. we will go down this road together, supported by all your prayers and well wishes. hard days will be followed by better days. pain will be followed by peacefulness. questions will be answered. hopefully, each day will have a little less pain and worry and instead, have more happiness and joy. it has been a rough two and a half weeks. rough on all of us. but we will get through it, day by day, knowing we can thank G-d for giving noach a second chance. good night.

aug. 28:
tired. off to bed in a few minutes. spent the morning with my dad, sister in law (amy) and niece (rachel). left the kids with them around 2:00 and went to the hospital. noach just had a big round of physical therapy and was tired. we had some quiet time, he had a few visitors, gave him some soup (not much of an appetite) and met his new “roommate.” the roommate broke his shoulder on his daughter’s boogie board. seems like a nice guy and his wife is pretty cool, too. the nurse put a PICC (pronounced pick) in noach’s arm. it is a long-term IV setup. the regular ones have to be changed every 3 days and this one can be left in for up to 6 months. this way he can get antibiotics and whatever else he needs through it. it is a bigger tube that goes into an artery close to the heart. we are not sure what is happening in the next few days. we think noach will be able to leave the hospital but is not sure whether he will be coming home for a few weeks or going to rehab. it depends on whether a visiting nurse service is able to change the special bandage (a vac pack) he has on his stump. hopefully, we’ll know more tomorrow. came home around 9 pm. my mom had been with the kids the last few hours. tal had almost fallen asleep before i got home but when i came home, she came running into the kitchen and yelled, “hi mommy.” i knew she hadn’t napped and should have been asleep but it was great to see her and she left noach a cute message on his cell phone. binyamin woke up a little while ago so i was able to see him as well and nurse him. anyway, it’s late and time for me to fold the laundry and go to sleep. used to do laundry everyday. now it just piles up. used to be upset when the toys were messy and all over the place. now i know it’s ok. used to let little things bother me and am now thankful for little things. always appreciated my family and friends and now i appreciate them even more. used to look on the internet for news, celebrity news and sales. now i look up amputee and proshetic sites. life has really changed but in a lot of ways it stays the same. i hope noach can come home soon to experience some of the normalcy i have day to day - waking up in our bed, playing with the kids, reading to them, watching tv… well goodnight, my faithful readers. sweet dreams.

aug. the 29th:

i didn’t go to the hospital at all today. i was planning to go in the late afternoon but the weather was so bad, noach told me to “take a night off” and to stay home with the kids and rest. i miss seeing him today. feel disconnected. spent the day with the kids, which was great, although mot of the morning i was on the phone with the social worker, visiting nurse service, nurses, doctors… so my mind wasn’t really with the kids. my mom and i took tal and binyamin out for kosher chinese. it was nice to get out with them. when i am home i am so preoccupied. binyamin flirts with everyone around and tal is so much fun to be around - so witty, smart, funny and interesting. my mom got all teary at dinner and said that she feels really lucky to know tal. it was very sweet.
anyway… so noach has an infection in his stump. 2 different viruses. he was supposed to come home tomorrow but now they are working on finding the right antibiotic to give him. they say that the infection is treatable and it is not bad for him. but could be transfered to other people, especially other patients with weakened immune systems. so once again we have to wear gowns and gloves to go into his room and his roommate was moved to a different room. they are concerned with people bringing the infection OUT of his room. i was told to call our pediatrician to ask what precautions we haveto take when he comes home and basically, it is a lot of handwashing. the infection is in the stump, which is bandaged, not air-born. i don’t think this is anything major but who wants an infection? who wants infectious disease doctors coming to speak to you a few times each day? who wants to stay in the hospital even one more night, knowing your family is at home waiting for you? so i spent the morning on the phone, talking about infections and talking about what kinds of modifications we need to make at home for noach to get around. thank G-d, tal and binyamin are easy, happy kids. in a few weeks, G-d willing, tal will start school which will bring a regular routine to her life, 5 mornings a week, i will start teaching a sunday class of hebrew school, from 8:30-10, to children with severe learning issues, binyamin will do what babies do, ariel will return from israel and noach will be home. proves to be a challenging few weeks with ups and downs. as the past two and a half weeks, we will get through it with our love, the support of our family and friends and our faith. as in my recent email, i am asking you to say a refuah shlemah (a special healing prayer) for Noach Mordechai Hakohen ben Kayla Chaya, specifically for them to find the appropriate antibiotics to fight the infection in noach’s stump, to keep us strong and to give him a speedy recovery. peace in israel. and while u r praying, pray for what u really want in your life.
noach tells visitors about the accident, in detail. what he always stresses is that when he was on the highway, bleeding, he didn’t think he would live. it is a miracle that he did. he called me to basically say good-bye, although i didn’t realize the severity of the accident. he explains that all he could think about was me and the kids. we were all that really mattered to him. he hated to think he wouldn’t see us again. for him, we were what was important. and now, we will get him through this. try to figure out what is important to you. try to make ammends. instead of thinking of how you can make your house bigger or about your next vacation spot, try to figure out a way to appreciate the ones you love even more and to make them feel that THEY, not your job, not your car, not your hobby… are your FIRST priority. when it comes down to it, the people you love are what matters. the rest of it, well, i would give it all up to take away noach’s pain and suffering.

wed. aug. 30th:

busy day. spent a few hours in the morning with the kids and then my mother-in-law and our niece, daniella, came to watch them. i went into the hospital. my mom stopped by to visit noach on her lunch break and my dad came later and then drove home with me. a few friends came by as well as our beloved, respected, wonderful Rabbi Hochberg. things are moving along. first of all, cape air (noach has been flying part-time for them) has stepped up to get a ticket for ariel to come next week from israel. they explained the situation to el al, who gave us a ticket. all we have to pay is $46 for taxes. amazing. i missed seeing noach with the physical therapists but will attempt to join their session tomorrow. i was there when the occupational therapists made him a new splint for his arm - amazing. they travel around with a cart, make a pattern for it and then the splint is made. they bend it and then it hardens. i was also there when the doctor, dr. gayle, the plastic surgeon who did the operation on his stump, came in. he took off the bandages to look at the wound. noach made me wait outside and i could hear his screams. even with the morphine, he screamed. when i went back in, i saw the full wound for the first time. basically, starting from the top of his inner thigh, there is a huge strip of skin missing, which is missing all the way down and around to the back of his thigh. this has always been covered up with a bandage or a sponge. today i saw everything inside. the doctor said it was a good thing i’m not squeamish. in reality i am but i really tried to keep it together. for some strange reason, when noach does his arm exercises and he is in pain, i get chills in my spine. but for this, i just tried to hold it together. contrary to what we were told yesterday, that there is some horrible infection in there, the dr. said the wound looks great, better than he expected. he explained that we all have bacteria all over us. the strain of bacteria that noach has is common in the ICU and they just want to make sure they get rid of it all before they close up the wound in several weeks. he explained that it will be great of noach gets in the shower and really scrubs it with an antibacterial soap (i could NOT imagine him scrubbing this wound) because that really gets the skin clean. the dr. thought it was great that i was in the room because over the next several weeks, i can help noach figure out if it is healing properly - the color it should be, the texture and feeling of the healthy skin, what to look for… but the best of all is that he said NOACH CAN GO HOME TOMORROW. noach is so happy and eexcited. he thought it would be today and was so sad when they told him no. he did not want to spend another shabbat there - he wants to be with the family. he was in a great mood the rest of the day, even through the pain afterwards (it hurts him a lot when they change the bandages). they also began giving him medication for the phantom pain. it is a med used to seizures but for some reason works on the nerves. it seems to help. so tomorrow i get a medical supply delivery at the house. i have to bring a few things to the hospital and then he will come home. am i nervous? yes. am i worried? yes. am i excited? yes. i told noach last night that it is hard to be home kowing he won’t walk in the door at any moment. he belongs home. he should be with me and the kids so we can take care of him. we will have nurses come mon, wed. and fri. to change the bandages and another company to administer the IV antibiotics. we ar egetting a wheelchair, a walker, crutches, bath seat, things for the bathroom… and then, just like we have, we will take it day by day and learn together what needs to be done. in three weeks we go back to see the dr. and then a few weeks after that noach returns to the hospital for skin grafts. then it’s 5 days of bed rest, more time at home and then rehab. sounds like a lot of work but as i’ve expressed before, we are lucky he is alive. i thank G-d noach is able to come home tomorrow - that the doctors think he is strong enough, that the infection we thought he had is controlled, that on august 11th, at 7:30 in the morning, instead of bleeding to death on the highway, G-d, a nurse, a plastic surgeon, the ambulance and many doctors and nurses saved his life. and each day, i will continue to thank G-d he is alive. my family, noach’s family, our friends, aquaintances, and almost-strangers have been amazing through this whole ordeal. i will continue to write but can’t proimise it will be everyday. because soon, i will be able to go to sleep next to my husband. and when i wake up, he will be there and i will know that the first part of this nightmare is over and each tomorrow brings a new day.

homecoming day:
just to keep things in check, binyamin had 103 in the middle of the night. i will try to get him to the pediatrician this morning in between waiting for medical supplies to be delivered, the electrician coming to do some rewiring, and going to the hospital to get ready to bring noach home via ambulance. hope you have a good day - travel safely.
day 11:
today i took binyamin and tal to see noach for the first time since his accident. we got to the hospital and waited a bit because he was in x-ray. tal chose 2 get well balloons and a sponge bob for him in the hospital gift shop. then we met him in the patient lounge. it was an amazing visit. the kids loved seeing noach and noach, as you can imagine, just lit up. he was so happy to see them. tal shared cookies with him, showed him a “little people” doll she had who was sitting in a wheelchair, gave him the balloons, asked about his boo-boos… after that we went outside for a bit. it was so nice to be in the little courtyard with the kids, noach and some of the rest of his family. tal shared an ice cream bar with him, they told each other stories, it was just wonderful. actually, it couldn’t have gone better. when we left, tal kept saying that she wanted to stay with abba. i thought we could go to his room for a bit but we thought it would be better to leave when she was having a positive experience and this way, she will want to go back soon. i came home with the kids and dana. dan and i were supposed to go back in to see noach but i was so tired when i got home. i kept dozing off. i think the last 11 days hit me. noach told me to just stay home, which was great, because he is having his wrist surgery at about 8 in the morning and i am going to head back before that to see him before he goes into surgery. so i had the whole evening/night with the kids, dana and my parents. we had pizza on the deck and just talked and relaxed. anyway, it was a great day. the visit was “just what the doctor ordered” for noach and i had some time to rest and regroup. hope your day was filled with family, relaxation, laughter and love as well.

a long twelfth day…
today i spent 14 hours at the hospital. relaized on the way home that i didn’t even see the kids today. the only before this that i didn’t see tal was the day after i had binyamin and was in the hospital. come to think of it, i think i did see her that day. my mom spent the 14 hours i was at the hospital with the kids. she is a real trooper! noach had surgery today on his arm. he was supposed to have the surgery at 9 am, then 11, then 12:30 and i think they finally took him at 2 pm. he was nervous about it, but we all said tehillim, songs of david, before, during and after his surgery. they are supposed to heal and console. the surgery went well. he was in a lot of pain after but the arm is fixed, thank G-d. they put a metal plate and screws inside to fix the break. two of his fingers are still numb but the doctor thinks the feeling will come back in time. they also looked at his stump during surgery. one doctor said it isn’t infected but the skin doesn’t look great. another doctor said it is a little infected but the skin hasn’t changed much in the last few days. basically, we still just have to wait and see what will happen. i spent some time with noach before his surgery, lots of time with his parents during the prep and the surgery itself, time with noach in recovery and a few of us were in his room tonight helping him deal with the pain, giving him chicken soup, getting him comfortable and setting him up for the night. he likes to have lots of water, a siddur (prayer book), some snacks (which he never eats), his phone and his ipod by his bedside. i got home late and am tired. thank G-d the surgery went well. thank G-d he is ok after it. i wonder about the people we met at jacobi - the nice woman whose sister was in a fire. she hadn’t woken up when we transferred noach. i wonder if she is awake now. i hope she is ok. i hope tomorrow is a good day for noach. i hope to spend some time with the kids during the day and maybe go visit him in the evening, unless he wants me to bring them in again. whatever you do tomorrow, enjoy. and be safe.
today i didn’t get to the hospital until after 4. i spent the morning with tal and binyamin and then dana and i took the kids to the mall. i think it was the first time i have gone out to do something “norma;” since the accident. we dropped the kids off at my parents’ and then went to the hospital. noach was in a lot of pain from yesterday’s surgery on his arm. in addition, they are now doing surgery tomorrow on the stump. there are 3 possibilities during surgery. 1, they will clean all of the skin, get rid of any infection and do skin grafts from the other leg. 2, they will clean out all the infection, remove any dead skin and if the skin on the thigh that is left has any elasticity left, they will pull it over and attach it. 3, the skin on the stump will not be ready yet for the skin grafts so they will prepare it and then do the surgery next week. noach was sad about all this, as were we. but the first doctor had told us 13 days ago that it would be a miracle if he didn’t need surgery. i keep trying to tell noach that he should allow himself to be sad, to be discoyrage, to be happy, to be proud of himself. he should let himself feel whatever emotions he feels because that will help in the healing process. he received a few plants and a few fruit baskets. they are so thoughtful but he barely has any appetite and is in a small room. we give them to the nurses who really appreciate it. i keep wondering what i would do for someone i know in this situation - would i visit? would i call first? would i send flowers? fruit? a card? actually the cards mean a lot and i am collecting them. he is on so many meds that he reads them but doesn’t always remember them. we try to keep his room uncluttered because it is small, there are a few people in the room visiting at one time and he needs room for the necessities. i stayed at the hospital until 9 or so. kids were asleep when i got home but i kissed them both. i know he is having surgery tomorrow but we have no idea when. he is an “add on” so they are not sure what time it will be. i hate leaving him there at night. he truly hates the night there - he can’t sleep, has no one to help him, he’s lonely, in pain… but tomorrow is a new day. no matter what happened today, tomorrow is a fresh start. i will do everything i can to make it a good day for noach, my kids… try to do that for the people you love.
ariel and dana go back to israel tomorrow. it will be harder without them. they are here in the house, keeping me company and even when they don’t talk, they give me support just by being here. it was amazing to have them here during this dificult time. ariel may be back next week. next week my mom and mother-in-law go back to school as well so we will have to find a different routine, a new way to handle the hospital, the kids… but for now, i am just going to think about tomorrow and pray that all goes well in the surgery. good night.