Wednesday, February 13, 2008

2002

The night my son was born, in 2002, there was a terrorist attack in Rishon Letzion. I think the bombing happened in the evening around the time I went into the delivery room. We turned on the radio, and heard the reports as they faded into soft, Israeli, patriotic songs that are reserved for holiday eves and national morning times.
I was thinking that night, when my son came into the world, that as one enters the world, others are leaving.
For some reason we seldom hear of what happens to people who were in an attack, how they cope with recovering and trauma. That whole part of Israeli life is pushed aside and hush hushed. (Kind of reminds me of the stories of people going silent about the Holocaust, after it happened, but that is another issue).
Well, I recently found a blog called
My Shrapnel of a girl who was blown up in a terror attack, and deals with the issues of dealing with realization and recovery and the Shrapnel in her body. This is the first time I have seen anyone actually dealing with that publicly. The blog is a collection of essays written at various times after the attack and not necessarily a log of what is happening now, and is extremely well written, in a light and usually optimistic, and at the same time often cynical tone.
"After it goes in (not the fun part), it comes out! All by itself! What I have learned is that shrapnel often slowly but surely works its way up to the surface and is expelled from the body. Every day I check my body for objects which, like lounge lizards slinking out late at night from a singles event, are starting to emerge. I then do the following:
1. I examine the item, and try to guess what it is. Metal? Glass? Plastic?
2. I brush it gently with my fingers, to see if it will dislodge. If it does, and it isn’t really, really teensy-weensy and non-impressive, and if it doesn’t fall from my finger onto the floor and get lost, I put it into my “Official Machane Yehuda Bombing Shrapnel Collection Test-Tube”.
3. If it doesn’t dislodge, I gently feel the area around the shrapnel to check for swelling, edges, etc. This gives me some indication as to the size of the piece, and whether it is going to require medical assistance to remove.
4. Size and/or swelling be damned, I try to remove the item myself. I jiggle it a bit, push around it like you do with splinters and try to pull it out with my eyebrow tweezers.
5. I smack myself on the hand and tell myself to stop playing with the shrapnel and to let it come out on its own. Bad BAD Gila!!!!!
6. If my cooler friends are around (cooler being defined as anyone who find this whole process fascinating as opposed to disgusting”), I call them over, and show them. If no friends are present, I make a mental note to show them the next time I see them.
7. I put a glop of iodine ointment on the area and cover it with gauze and tape. The combination of iodine ointment, gauze and tape is wonderful, and has become my standard medical treatment for just about everything.
Every day is a new adventure as I find all sorts of foreign objects emerging from my body."

Go over and read it My Shrapnel.

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