Last April, on Israel Independence Day, my husband and I joined our fellow Israeli holiday-makers by driving to a barbecue at a friend's home near Ashkelon. As we left town, a blue and white flag flying from the window, my ears popped. Nothing strange about that. Hilly Jerusalem is 2500 feet above sea leavel.
Often, when I'm leaving town, I feel as if I've just landed in a plane. In a short time, my ears click and go back to normal. Not this time. My right ear stayed stuffed, muted. I missed a lot of the lively conversation around the outdoor tables. First, I went to my doctor through Kupat Holim. That's the way it works in Israel. He was stumped.
So I made an appointment with Dr. Michal Kaufman at Hadassah's otolaryngology (ears, nose and throat) department. A word about that department, which provides care for diseases and reconstruction of ears, noses and throats. It's probably best-known for Cochlear implants. Readers may remember that I once attended the flawless Bar Mitzvah reading of a patient who was deaf since babyhood, who had regained his hearing through such an implant. My problem wasn't as dramatic, thankfully, but it was annoying and worrisome. After various tests and non-invasive treatments, Dr. Kaufman suggested exploratory surgery. We scheduled the procedure after the Centennial Convention, of course. I couldn't slip surgery into the 20-hour work days that preceded Hadassah's 100th.
A month ago, I checked into the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower. I have written tens of thousands of words about the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital. I've led many tours there. I've worked with film crews there. Suddenly I was a patient. Every step was emotional, and not just because I was having surgery. The Admissions Center was donated by the family of my dear late friend Lani Hopp, the Salzbergs. I had taken Jenna Hopp to see last summer. The pre-operative check-up center is run by Gilat Yihye whom I'd worked with on the feature about the 4-nurses in the Tower Dedication.
(If you missed Convention, catch this presentation on YouTube)
In my room on the seventh floor with its magnificent view of the forested Judean Hills, not all the patient rooms have their donors' names up yet, but the names. of friends-Joyce Rabin, Marlene Kaplan, Janie Zolot were in family rooms and treatment centers.
So, here's the scoop on the Tower. The rooms are beautiful and comfortable. The electric beds work. The private bathrooms have a beautiful sit-in shower.Okay-I didn't like the food-but there's Cafe Aroma among the food court choices in the Mall downstairs. You can actually recuperate, much unlike rooms shared with four other patients in the old building. I was there for 4 nights, during Operation Pillar of Defense. Once, I had to leave the room because of a siren missile alarm. My ear? Dr. Kaufman discovered a broken bone: the tiny incus, also called the anvil (remember that from High School), part of the three-bone chain that amplifies sound was mysteriously fractured.
Dr. Kaufman took cartilage from my outer ear, folded it and
connected the bone to its neighbor. the malleus. In another month, I should know if this worked, as the cartilage grabs hold. I'm back at work, but am prohibited for another few weeks from leaving Jerusalem because of the pressure difference going downhill. That pronouncement sounded almost Biblical. The experience of being in the Tower felt like being inside a mitzvah. The impact of the Tower on the medicine at the hospital is huge.
Thank you, Hadassah, in my name, in the name of my fellow Jerusalemites, and for patients from all over Israel and the rest of the world who will receive care there.
Greetings from Jerusalem,
Israel Director of Public Relations
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America
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