Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel

Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Them bones, them bones

Best thing about Israel: the people. Best people in Israel: definitely folks from the blogosphere. Last night shortly after I put up my post my phone started ringing. Lisa gave me awesome advice: get to the Maccabi people just before they are closing! And ya know someone is a total mensch when they offer to spend their day waiting with you at a doctor's office.

First I had to hit the post office because while I had decided on Maccabi thanks to all the good pointers from you guys, I had never gotten around to actually going to sign up. It was on the list and obviously should have been a lot sooner on the list, sigh, but I almost never get sick enough to have to go to the doctor and my yearly check-up won't need to happen til next June so...

So this morning to the post office I went (and had almost my longest wait of the day there because everyone in the world wanted to mail stuff before the Hag started --I stood in line for an hour). Signing up took about 2 minutes. The nice guy behind me in line gave me perfect directions to the nearest Maccabi clinic, the lady at the post counter said they should be open until 1 today, and off I went.

But, they actually were closing at 12 and I got there at exactly 1 minute to 12. I almost didn't get in the door (whew) but fortunately there was an old guy (like really old) right ahead of me who was refusing to heed the security guards pleas of "Aba, we're closed, you can't come in." So in he went and, with a stroke of chutzpah, I pointed at the old fellow and just followed him on in. There was however no one at the counter to take my "I wanna be a Maccabi person" papers --she had already gone home.

But, when I grabbed a passing employee and managed to say something along the lines of "I think I've broken my shoulder and I only have this piece of paper and need to see someone" she took me in charge. Up I went to a nurse who took a look and called a doctor. Then the doctor took a look and said, yup just eyeballing it, it looks like it is broken --see how it stands out on this side a lot more than on the other and is not symetrical? Uhh, well now that she pointed it out --and ow, at that moment it started to hurt a lot more. Totally psychosomatic I know. The upshot was that I needed to have it x-rayed and so had to go to the emergency room. The doctor ran all over the building first trying to get me my official card but I will have to go back on Sunday and turn in a bunch of papers to get it. She gave me a note, however, so that the hospital wouldn't charge me and all the charges will still be paid by Maccabi (reason number 2 to make Aliyah!).

So from there I had to go to the emergency clinic over on Rakov Weisman, got signed in, made friends with all the other folks waiting to see a doctor, saw the first doctor and got sent for x-rays, waited --along with most of the folks I'd made friends with as they got sent there too. I did the x-rays and went back to wait again to see the doctor.

Upshot: Yep ze clavicle she is fractured. But there isn't a lot that can be done. He gave me a sheet of paper stating I needed 5 days off from work to rest the shoulder (ahh if only this were a week from now...*grin* since I don't start work for another 7 days), gave me a prescription for a pain-killer that I am not allergic to, after noting that I'm allergic to ingredients in all the really effective ones --sigh, I knew that already -- and told me to come back on the 5th day if I am still in a lot of pain and he will also do a bone scan. He said it should take about 12 weeks to totally heal and not to do any heavy lifting in the meantime. For the next 5 days I'm not supposed to do anything with the left arm at all (good thing I'm ambidexterous and can eat with my right hand (I actually write righty because my school didn't have desks and scissors for lefties and so they made me learn with the right) in a pinch.

Major difference from in the States. First the doctors and nurses were all very nice and polite and efficient. I did not have to wait 24 hours before even being seen in the emergency room, unlike the last time I had to go to the emergency room in the States. And when we were sitting waiting for the doctor a nurse came out and asked who wanted some pain meds while waiting. Everyone else took her up on it but I declined because my hebrew was seriously failing me at that point and I wasn't sure I could ascertain that it didn't have something in it that would give them a real emergency on their hands. But the offer was nice. And finally, there was a cafe just down the hall and one of the spouses of an injured person took orders from all of us who were waiting and starving and brought back coffees, sandwiches and croissants. I went with her, as the most mobile of the lot, to help carry everything back. So I spent the bulk of my day at one doctor's spot or another but it was actually a kind of fun day. Yep, not at all like in the States.

Ups and downs there are in this country but let me tell you, the ups make it so worthwhile to be here! The people here make it so worthwhile to be here.


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