After a while, David couldn’t stand the blood and the pain anymore from his abscess. I gave him grapeseed oil to keep it lubricated and that helped him a great deal, but he wanted surgery to make it stop bleeding. He packed some stuff, his movies, some undies; took his cane, and we went together to the hospital. Ziv Hospital was a short downhill walk from our apartment. The ER nurses spoke English. They put us in a room made of curtains on a ziprod. A young nurse came in to give him an EKG. He told everyone that he had been a paramedic and she decided to test him. She ‘joked’ that he was having a heart attack. I did not think it was funny, but David took it in stride. He was in soldier mode. Next a Russian doctor came in and explained that he would need scans to see what was going on. Between visits from the phlebotomist, EKG nurse, ER nurse, doctors, etc. David and I were having a party. He plugged in his portable DVD player, opened his zipcase, and showed me that he had about thirty movies with him. Most of them were too violent for me. We sat together on his hospital bed and watched an animated movie in which Joker murdered Robin with a crowbar. Yuck. David told me that someone had given it to his son as a gift and it was totally inappropriate for children. He cried for his son. I had already learned to support him by letting him grieve whenever he could. Of course he had seen the movie a hundred times, but I had never seen it. It was violent. I kept David distracted and at ease. He said he had never had so much fun in the hospital before. As for me, there was nowhere I would rather be than by his side. After that ER visit, bikur cholim became ‘our thing’. I was happy to be needed and he was glad to have a hospital friend.
After a few hours in the ER, and after he had completed his scans, they moved David upstairs to a room. There was a really old man in the bed next to the window. David had the bed near the door, which he preferred because of his PTSD. He marvelled that there were only two beds to a room. He said that in Toronto, there could be eight patients to a hospital room. Both Israel and Canada have socialized medicine. Their room had a door to go outside on a balcony. David could smoke out there and the view was amazing. It faced Meron, but all you could see were mountains. I couldn’t stay with him all night because I had to report for work at the coffee factory at 6 am. I had been desperate to get a job. We needed the money. Now I was distraught that I had to leave him, but I hid my internal distress from him. He did not need that burden. David seemed relaxed. He had his DVD player and his action films. He was happily chatting away. Then I told him I was going to have to leave because I had to work so early. He started panicking. He started talking really fast and was visibly nervous. I wasn’t sure what to do to calm him. I reassured him that he would be safe and I would only be gone for half a day. I promised to return as soon as my shift ended. I had never seen him fearful before. I am still haunted by the expression on his face. It’s like his eyes were pleading for me not to leave him with strangers. Ever the trooper, he sucked it up and didn’t complain. I kissed him on the cheek and left. I wasn’t sure there would be any more buses that late at night, but there was someone else at the bus stop. I was glad because walking up the darom hill to my apartment would have wiped me out. I still had to walk up Rehov Hertzl and four flights of stairs. I turned the key in the lock and entered the apartment. Immediately I was struck by the silence. The cats came out to greet me, but I felt so alone. Then I did a very strange thing. I put on my pajamas and crawled into David’s bed to sleep. I could smell him on the linens and it comforted me. I was able to leave work two hours early, so I went home to bathe and change clothes quickly. After cleaning the coffee factory, the bathwater would always look like a cup of espresso! I was just about to leave for the hospital, when in walked David with his cane and backpack. I could tell from his face that he was in severe physical pain. He told me they had made him fast for 25 hours and still the doctors refused to operate on his abscess. He really looked horrible. He wanted a cup of hot tea and to sit down. I scurried to serve him as fast as I could. When he was sitting and had his tea, I told him right away. “David, I did a strange thing last night. I came home and the apartment was so quiet, so I slept in your bed. I don’t know why I did that.” He didn’t say anything. He didn’t react, but he went to bed without changing the sheets, so I believe he wasn’t disturbed by it.
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