Friday, September 01, 2006

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.

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