Saturday, October 25, 2008


I am giving serious consideration to writing a guide to Israeli hospitals, with emphasis on those in the north. I've been in three ;Sief in Safed, Poriya in Tiberius, and now Rambam in Haifa,supposedly one of the best in the country. Let's just say for now that it's head and shoulders above the other two. At least they did manage to figure out why the burn and pressure sore before it wouldn't heal. I have a DVT-deep vein thrombosis in my left leg. What fun! Now I get to take rat poison in the guise of Coumadin, if they ever get the dose right. I had a minor case of rat poison poisoning, so they stopped giving it to me for a couple of days.These doctors sure do like their tests. After they poisoned me, they decided that they might have screwed up my liver, but the ultra sound came back just fine. Now they re going on about my left kidney. I'm afraid to ask "What next?" Of course all the time they've been playing with rat poison and a form of heparin, the burn has been ignored. Last night we took off the bandage when I noticed a yellow leak of gunk on the floor. Yuck doesn't even come close. We scrubbed it as best we could and put antibiotic cream on it. This morning there was no improvement at all. Thankfully we go to normal hospital routine tomorrow and a real doctor can look at it.
It hasn't been all bad. My first roomate was a fellow strokee and we had a fine together. Half her neighborhood was here with a wide assortment of medical issues so we had plenty to keep ourselves occupied. No sooner had she left than a young gal arrived on suicide watch. Her first watcher was a young guy and we had much fun teasing him. The next two watchers were no fun at all. She was finally sprung and now I have a lady with terminal cancer and her whole tearful family. She's pretty much doped up and on top of being quiet, she doesn't know any Hebrew.
On the even brighter side, there's a guy from Kiryat Shmonah whose kids come here at least once a day. (you didn't think the lap top just walked here, did you?) This hospital has free wifi, so, I'm back on line!
It was kind of strange the first two days. No one seemed to be too sure what to do with/to me. Then, Achi, my reporter friend, dropped in to visit and his friend, the hospital spokesman also dropped in. It's too bad I couldn't capture the aftermath on video. All of a sudden the nurses, interns and residents were falling all over themselves to be helpful. Even better, all this happened after my first roomie and I caught a senior nurse and gave her the basic outline of a letter we intend to write about the way the staff treats patients here. Oh boy, then, who shows up? A reporter with the hospital spokesman in tow! My leg is getting tired from holding my 30 kilogram lap top (multiply by 2.2 for lbs.) in a somewhat comfortable typing position. And more important, it's time for a smoke!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I actually allowed myself to think that the burn was getting better. After two hospitalizations and two solid months on Antibiotics it should be, right? Well, it was just starting to, slightly. Then, I took it to the surgeon, and he said it was getting better and to stop taking the antibiotics and treat it with a topical antibiotic. So, I did. I should have known. By the following Sunday it was worse. The clerk said to go back on the antibiotics. I did, and today it was much worse. Those five days sure did set it back. Oh, well, It will start getting better again by Wednesday when the surgeon will be here again. It will still be worse than it was when he last saw it. Now, on to more pleasant things.

The next Kibbutz we stayed at was Givat Haim. They gave us a whole building that is used as a senior's day center. It had two huge rooms, and smaller ones off to one side of the one that was set up pretty much like a meeting room. The bathrooms and shower were at the back. They even have special parking area out side for the old dear's scooters.

My feet were just starting to burn.

If you look behind the lady (forgot her name) you can see that there is a leather arm chair there. I slept in it that night with both feet on the matching foot stool. That was one of our very late nights as the heads of one the major gimp organizations came for a meeting; or was that a shouting match?
The lady in the doorway told us how My Communist got the place for us to stay there. According to her, he just called and announced that he's bring The Five to sleep there that night, and hung up. No one says "No" to My Communist (except me) so we had lovely accomodations.
We were back on the road in good time. We were supposed to go to Netanya, but, when we got to the intersection where we were supposed to turn right to go to Netanya, Teka and Sheka decided that we simply must go to Kfar Yona. That was not on our Police approved list of places to go. Teka and Sheka don't care about minor details like that, and decided to force the issue by creating a two gimp traffic jam.

We made it clear that we would only go there if the Police said ok. I don't know what My Communist said to the cops, but, suddenly we had permission. I'm ever so glad we went. That is a horrible place to live. The disabled there were so proud that The Five came to see them that I am still ashamed that I didn't want to.
Next stop, Netanya where everyone went to lunch except me. I had another major temper tantrum (Can't remember what about) and sat lunch out under a shade tree with Moshe.
That night we stayed at Kibbutz Ma'abarot where again, we were given a large building with several rooms and it was arranged that we could use their 'old folks' home for showers.I was sitting outside with my feet up, smoking and generally minding my own business, when My Communist handed me his phone and said that someone wanted to talk to me. Right. It was my old pal Benny from the big demonstrations in 1999 and 2002! We had one of our usual silly conversations and I gave the phone back. I think My Communist was a little surprised that I know Benny. We had another meeting with the heads of disabled organizations. It was loud and long. The spokesman for one of largest organizations and I found ourselves talking with Kibbutz teenagers who wanted to learn about what we were doing and other gimp issues. That was wonderful. They seemed very interested and had tons of questions. Yoav and I were quite chuffed that we had such a good session with them. The big shots finished shouting at each other at around 0230 or so and we went to sleep at around 0300.
Moving right along, the next day we went through Ra'anana and Herzlia, where we were given mementos by the vice mayor and met some hot shot actor that I'd never heard of. From Herzliya we went to Tel Aviv. Downtown Tel Aviv. The heart of Tel Aviv.I don't much like Tel Aviv, but when I realized that we were there I started crying. We did it! We got to Tel Aviv! No question now that we'll get to Jerusalem.

We were met by a fairly large group of Gimps. As we have a reputation (gimps in general) for being trouble makers, the Police were there in force. Not just the regular Blue Police, but the Gray riot Police as well.
Good thing too. Sheka and Teka have yet to see a street they don't want to lie down on and stop traffic.

You can see the riot cops in gray on the traffic island under the signal. We were very well behaved and didn't even let the more outspoken demonstrators get to us. We were there to make a statement, not cause trouble.
Right, from there we went to Kibbutz Nahshon where we had a sort of kibbutz style motel room. That was just fine. We were visited by the MK who is pretty much a one man gimp lobbyist in Knesset, and that night the big shots descended on us once again. A very late night. We delayed our planned departure set for the next morning in favor of a huge meeting of the the big shots. As expected, nothing really came of it.
Our next stop was Ramla. I was having trouble stopping in the sunlight and speeding off for shade at every opportunity. The escort cop wanted us all to go someplace else and I was rude in the extreme to him. They found a nice falafel place for lunch and I found a tree across the street to calm down under. I was in a fairly big rage over the cop and shade issue. Hezi's wife came over to try and reason with me ( first time she'd been exposed to my daily tantrum) and I barked at her. When I'd calmed down, I rejoined every one and apologized to Yaeli, and the cop! From Ramle we got on the trucks and cars and went to Kibbutz Na'n where we were to stay Friday Starurday and Sunday. Again we had a large building to ourselves. By this time my foot was really giving me trouble. I couldn't even walk on it. I did manage to get my scooter into the room and used it all weekend. Our hostess, Rotem, decided that something had to be done, and took me to their "old folks' home, where Inbal, the manager took me under her wing. I still go all teary when I remember how gently she showered me. I felt like a baby being bathed by her mother. Then, she had the nurse treat and bandage my left foot. I still had trouble getting the sandal on, so the scooter went with me everywhere. The loo situation was hysterically funny. There were two very narrow toilet rooms in 'our' building, and I'm too big to get in them, never mind use them. Not a problem. There was a very nice one in the synagogue building, so, everytime I had to go, I just rode the scooter right up to the door and took two steps in and two steps out. On the Friday night they wanted us to talk with the kibbutz members after dinner. Not surprisingly, I wasn't in very good shape for that type of thing and ended up growling at My Communist yet again. Um, an average of two and half hours sleep, a burnt up foot and you want me to talk and make sense? Not likely. I did make up some sleep on Saturday and Sunday. Good thing, too. The Five were starting to show cracks in our solidarity. Some of us were not happy campers and said they were going home. Two days away from the finish line? It was great to be able to rest up for three days before continuing, but, it also cost us.
We left Na'an sadly and headed towards Latrun. It felt like the longest ride we'd done, but it wasn't. There were two restaurants there, but one wasn't kosher. We were starving. After a photo session, some of us decided to eat at the non kosher restaurant anyway. From there we went to our last kibbutz, Nahshon were, for once no major meeting of organization heads was planned. A couple of them did show up, but we had already had our daily strategy meeting, so, we pretty much ignored them and we did not let them in on our plans. We were supposed to ride as far as the steep winding hills that go up to Jerusalem, switch over to vehicles, then enter the city from just outside. My Communist came up with a plan designed to thwart the plans of the Jerusalem demonstrators. We has decided that after we got into Jerusalem, we would first go to the demonstration of disabled kids parents at the Prime Ministers office, then, go their tent. We almost made it work. We got back on the scooters at a blocked off unused spur just off the hiway and headed for Jerusalem proper. It didn't ttake long for Sheka and Teka to find us and we rode into the city with and escort of about 100 gimps on wheels.

We made it!

And so did our truck!I might have gotten the order of some of the events and kibbutzim mixed up. It was a very emotional trip, after all. And I've had those burned foot issues.
Would I do it again? Damn right I would. Are we going to fllow up now that we're home? You betcha.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I really did intend for this post to be about some of the other wonderful Kibbutzim we stayed at, but, I'm too chuffed at the moment about something else.
At long last my U.S. ballots arrived and I just finished filling them in and will airmail them tomorrow morning. It was a great pleasure to vote against The Magic Negro, and for John McCain. At this stage it was more of a for vote than an against vote.
My foot is starting to heal again, but very slowly. So, that's kind of good. All I have to do is restrain myself from chopping it off until Wednesday when the surgeon will be at the clinic.
The Five are meeting this evening at Alberto McGyver's for a BBQ felafel dinner and to discuss recent developments, among them, Hezi being offered 9th place on the list of one of the candidates for mayor. Hezi, of course is free to be on any list he chooses, but he went and got a list I refuse to even consider. There is also a todo in the south of the country that we have been asked to attend. I'd rather like to go for personal reasons but it looks like most of the others don't really want to. It will clear up at the meeting, so we'll see. Now that we are all at home, maybe we'll be able to get moving on some of the things we've let slide. Having the holidays this month pretty much stops everything in it's tracks. There are only 5 proper working days in Israel this month on account of the holidays. I can't quite figure out if switching to winter standard time helped or not. Not that it matters. I rarely know what day it is, never mind the time!
Yesterday I had a very nasty experience at the local book store. I've only buying books there since the shop opened. I'd just drive Harley in, and stop him right near the corner where the English books are kept. I haven't been there for ages because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stand long enough to pick out a book. Yesterday I was so desperate for something new to read that I decided to risk. When I got to the store I didn't recognize either of the gals working there, but went in as usual and stopped Harley where I usually do. It does block off part of the space towards the rear of the store, but that can be gotten around by going a few steps to the front of the store and up the far side. The only thing that was really blocked was the English books (by my person) and the check out counter (again by my person). I actually found two books that I wanted ad had them in my hand and was ready to hop back on Harley, then pay for them. Before I could turned around one of the staff brushed past me, almost knocking me over and said that my blocking them was impossible. Ok fine. I put the books down, came home and ordered them from Amazon. UK and called the parent companie's customer service and explained why they had lost a good customer. The staff who used to work there were very friendly and helpful. They never would have brushed past me like that, or made such a rude hurtful comment. If these gals keep it up, the store won't last long. Book stores are not food warehouses and readers expect a certain level of friendly service. The previous staff always told me when a new book by one of my favorite authors came in. I rather doubt these two will care enough to bother. Not that it matters. I won't be shopping there anymore. Nor at the parent companie's web site. That's why I told customer service that I'd already ordered the same books from Amazon UK. I could as easily have ordered from them. Not going to happen.