Monday, October 03, 2005

ICU- the real test

Recently, I went to visit a cousin of a friend of mine. He was on a respirator in the ICU. He was a young father and seriously ill with the machla. I have never been uncomfortable around the hospital setting. Not before nor during nor after Nechama Liba's illness. I walked over to the room and saw a familiar sight, tragically familiar. The IV, respirator, ET tubes, pumps, and monitors were all too familiar. I glanced at the machines, perhaps I shouldn't have but I did. To be honest, it was difficult for me not to keep my eyes fixated on the monitors. It was like a drug. I needed to see the numbers. Back in the hospital over a year ago, my eyes were glued to the monitors, day and night. Before I fell asleep, I would close my eyes with the vision of the heart monitor and wake up to the numbers.

Now, facing this young father, my heart was racing, knowing that the numbers could change in any second, as they so frequently did. I remembered how we hung onto any small improvement as if it meant life or death in that moment. I said Tehillim by the bedside, trying to imagine what this man was like when he was healthy. The Mother was a powerhouse of strength. The father was noble and strong. I was in awe as I understood what was going on inside of their minds. I recognized what strength it took to keep their heads held high. The young man’s wife was sleeping on a chair. Her mother said that she was the strongest one.

The father thanked me for coming. The mother asked me if I was a friend of her son. I said no. I had come because I could relate to their situation as I had been in their shoes once. T told her that I had been in the hospital with my daughter for almost 6 weeks while she was on a respirator. I knew the question that would come next. I could feel my own heart beating.

"How is your daughter?” she asked.

Baruch Hashem, I replied.

"How old is she?” she asked.

Intentionally being vague, I replied simply, "10."

"Hashem was kind to you”, she said.

"Yes, he was", I said and I meant it.

I had no intention of telling her that my daughter was in a similar circumstance but she died. Some people might disagree, but I saw no benefit in saying so. Here was a woman who had the right mindset, full of emunah. Who would I be helping? When there is life there is hope and it was my hope that the end for this man would be different.

“You passed the test", she said.

"Ma'am, this IS the test!"

I don't know if she understood what I meant at the time but as I explained to the father at shiva that the outcome is not in our hands. Here was a man who had done absolutely everything in his power to help his son but probably felt, as many of us have, that we failed. The real test is how we perform under the incredible stress and challenge of the situations that we are put in. The outcome is Hashem's decision. And IMHO, this family passed with flying colors. The family should be a zechus for the entire Clal Yisroel. May the nifter watch over his family and the entire Clal Yisroel.

Kesiva vChasima Tova!


Blogger Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear Glen,

Very nicely said! I really appreciate how you responded to the query about Nechama Leib. Very much itself an act of gemilus chasadim!


Alan D. Busch

9:07 PM  

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