Getting better!

This will be a bit of a roundup post!

On Thursday night dh told me Yirmiyahu was throwing up and out of sorts.  I asked dh to take him to the doctor just to check that everything was normal – I worry about him more than the other kids because of his history.   The doctor said a stomach virus is going around.

Yirmi under the weather and missing his mommy

Yirmi under the weather and missing his mommy

But in this case I think the virus isn’t the problem; I think he’s heartsick that I’m gone.  Interestingly, ds15 and dd19 both came to the same conclusion independently.

I speak to him at least once every day and yesterday he sounded much better!  Dd17 took Yirmiyahu to his speech therapy appointment yesterday.  We’ve had two appointments with her in the last nine months but once again she established a nice rapport with Yirmiyahu and he had a good time with her.  Dd called to tell me that the therapist said Yirmiyahu is very cute, intelligent and highly communicative.  I can’t argue with that!

Yirmiyahu, 21 months, In pajamas blowing an early morning kiss

Yirmiyahu, 21 months, In pajamas blowing an early morning kiss

Here’s a picture that warms my heart.  No, ‘warm’ is too lukewarm a term.  It gives me tremendous joy to see dd19 with her siblings again and I was so happy they came to see me here at the hospital.  She is awesome.  Every one of them is awesome.  I am so, so, so blessed.  From left to right, dd19, dd17, ds15.

My special visitors!

My special visitors!

Some nurses at the hospital asked me if its true I have ten children – not sure how they found out since I don’t remember saying anything – and one asked me, “Isn’t that hard?”  I’ll tell you what I told her, it felt like a lot when they were growing up, but all the work that I put in was a drop compared to the oceans of joy that I have watching them as they’ve gotten older.  Did I say how lucky I was?  I positive I’ve gotten some of the most wonderful children on the planet.  It’s very humbling.

As for me, I am doing really well.  I’ve been enjoying the hospital cuisine – seriously, the food is quite decent and I don’t have to shop for it, cook it or clean up after it, which makes it taste that much better!  I haven’t been able to get extra protein even though the doctor said it’s very important to regenerate the skin on my face.  Dh brought me a container of roasted chicken to keep in the patient fridge to supplement what I get here but it disappeared within a day before I had a chance to eat any!  At every meal I ask them if someone doesn’t take their tray if I can have the extra protein from it and though I don’t love having to ask and feel like a nudnik every single time, sometimes I end up with extra.  I look at asking for extra portions as a way to nurture myself even when it’s uncomfortable.

My face is looking wonderful.  Well, me and the doc tors think so but obviously we have a different perspective than other people.  Other people look at me and then quickly look away, and then when they think I’m not looking, look at me again.  It’s hard to see people look at you and flinch.  The first week I kept my face turned away and couldn’t look at anyone who wasn’t on the staff but now I keep my head up and meet people’s eyes when they stare at me.  This is such major progress for me – I couldn’t bear the thought of having to walk out of this hospital.  When I say I couldn’t bear it, it would have been literally impossible for me to do.  Even mentally I couldn’t picture how I would do it.

I had something wrong with my eyes after the accident and when they told me they were going to send me to the eye doctor in another part of the hospital to have it checked, I refused to go.  The doctor here wanted to know why I was refusing and I told her, I can’t have people staring at me.  She understood and offered to send me with my entire face bandaged but that doesn’t exactly keep people from looking at you, you know?  When I was bandaged I didn’t want anyone to look at me, but when my bandages were off I felt so exposed and vulnerable.  (My eyes were very sore from the fluids draining out of my wounds and one eye was turning in – maybe the trauma to the nerve? – but I’m happy to say that with time it’s gotten better.)

Ds20 (who stayed in Jerusalem since I wasn’t home for Shabbos) asked the other kids who visited me how I looked and dd17 carefully said, “It’s a little surprising.”  That’s a nice way to put it and I was so grateful to my kids that they were able to look beyond the externals and have a nice visit while they were here.  

But really, I do look much better.  Like a thousand times better, without exaggeration.  It’s in the foreseeable future that all the blisters and burn marks will be gone.  I hope I won’t have scarring but the doctors won’t comment on that, they said they can only talk about what is front of them right now and have no way to know what will happen later.  Right now they’ve given me clear instructions for the next six months that I’m to have absolutely no exposure to the sun.  Living in a Mediterranean country with nonstop cloudless sunny days, that’s not a simple matter and this is going to require some lifestyle changes for me in many ways.

The first change will be on the fashion front.   When I leave the house it can only be very early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is at its weakest, and I’ll need to wear a hat and the strongest sunscreen there is.  So I’m going to have to find some awesome hats.  If you have suggestions for where to buy nice hats at a good price in the Jerusalem area, please let me know!  (They have to be some color except for black because black doesn’t suit me.)  It’s going to be a long time until I can do window shopping – unless it’s at night! – so I’d appreciate your help in finding suitable stores.  If there’s a website that I can order from here in Israel, all the better!

A number of you have mentioned Mrs. Green in Jerusalem who is famous for her knowledge about burns and her creams.  Dh got her cream from someone in Karmiel within 24 hours of me being hospitalized but Mrs. Green told him while I’m in the hospital I should do exactly what they say and not use her cream.  She doesn’t give advice over the phone; she needs to see you before making specific recommendations.  Hopefully dh will be able to borrow a car to take me to her on Thursday night (she only sees people on Sunday and Thursday nights) for an appointment. 

Overall I’m quite optimistic.  When my husband met me in the ER, he heard me tell the doctor I couldn’t feel my lips.  I don’t remember what the doctor told me – probably something like ‘It will be fine’ because that’s what everyone said – but my husband realized that I was asking if I still had lips.  It was a huge relief when my husband reassured me that they were still there.  After the accident I was afraid I had lost my face forever, but I haven’t.  It’s going to take time but my features didn’t melt, it’s only the old layers of skin that are gone.

The nurses have jokingly told me that I’ve gotten the equivalent of a deep chemical peel that people pay a lot of money for and I’m going to look better than ever when I heal.  I smiled but told them, “I also paid a high price for this”.  I didn’t have wrinkles or fine lines in my face so I can’t say getting rid of them was a side benefit but I’m sure my pores could have used a deep cleaning and now even better than a deep cleaning – I’ll have new pores!  :)


19 thoughts on “Getting better!

  1. dear avivah, I am so happy to hear about your improvement , physically, and emotionally. little steps, to the goal. you should have much nachas from all your children. with brachos for a complete refua.

  2. Avivah, it is lovely to read thus post, and gain a sense that you are feeling more positive. As for hats, there is a Canadian brand called Parkhurst that has UV protection. They are lightweight and cotton knit, so they stretch. Sometimes, the ones with brims even cover the whole head, so no tichel needed. A few years ago, I bout UV protective sun hats from Columbia brand, and they were adjustable, so they might work over a tichel.
    May your refuah proceed smoothly and quickly, and be complete, and may you continue to have a positive, growth oriented attitude throughout the process.

  3. Hi Aviva,
    I wear a leather Australian style cowboy hat over my mitpachat in the summer. They aren’t cheap, but they last a long time. I bought mine in rikoshet a few years ago. I chose it because it does not fly off in the wind, has a large brim, and they come in different sizes so I was able to buy one large enough to wear over my mitpachat. They can also fold up so when I am inside I can stuff it inside my bag.
    You might want a different cloth with uv protection style hat with a big brim, and you can also get these at rikoshet. There are branches at many malls in Israel and in the central bus station of Jerusalem.
    Thank you for your last post. I have been reading your blog for over a year (heard about it from and always wondered how you were able to get through rough times. Your answer was very inspiring and encouraging for me for my life.

  4. Dear Aviviah, you are so amazingly brave!! I’m relieved to hear that you are actually doing okay inside and out. I just can’t imagine what going through this must be like. I don’t think I could have had the strength that you have at all. You are an inspiration and I thank you for sharing all your thoughts, fears and hopes as you go through this.
    Love you,

  5. You probably already know this, but gelatin is mostly protein & is also very nourishing & easy to digest. Maybe someone could make you some home made jello with juice, so you could avoid the additives.

    However, I don’t know about getting non-pork plain gelatin in Israel. I can get it from a co-op or health food store here in America.

    Praying for you!

  6. This is very, very good news. No sun exposure sounds a lot harder than it is, and it really makes a huge difference for scarring. Don’t be surprised if they prescribe a mask to minimize scarring. It’s not unusual for second degree burns to need this support to heal properly, and it works pretty well, all things considered. (Though for those of us who rely on facial expression to contextualize our words, it does make things challenging)
    . Since your features didn’t melt, you will look “normal” at the end of all of this, even if there is some scarring. Yihiye B’seder. :)

  7. So happy to “hear your smile” through your post :) Continued good health and strength! Enjoy your wonderful children. Chag Kasher V’Sameach!

  8. big sigh of relief, lots of nachas from the pic of the kids (love T’s hair!), and big kudos to you for getting your extra protein even though it is awkward for you to have to ask! just so many good feelings right now, i’m gonna bliss out for a bit… love to you, as always :)

  9. Avivah, I am so glad to hear things are improving. I wish you a quick refuah shlaima. May you celebrate a beautiful Pesach with your entire family. My thoughts and tefillot are with you.

  10. what a roller coaster ride! yesterday, I cried reading your post. Today, I was laughing, reading your post. Can only imagine what it is like for you to ride the roller coaster in the front car….

  11. so glad you’re doing better! May it only consistently improve from now on. We’ve had a lot of success with aloe juice for scarring and healing (for burns and cuts). There’s probably a real scientific way of doing it but I usually just snip off a long juicy leaf, cut off the thorns and slice it in half lengthwise. Then you could squeeze out the juice, or just rub it all over your face. It tastes terrible and will sting the eyes a bit if it gets in, but as far as I know won’t actually harm either–better to just stay away from eye area and mouth. Any extra juice will make your hands smooth better than many lotions. It’s absorbed quickly, and dries fast

  12. Boruch Hashem. I’m so relieved and happy to hear that you are doing better all around. May the recovery process go smoothly and may you have no scarring at all!

  13. Awesome. Your attitude, your acceptance, your upbeat positive outlook. You are going to look fine really soon. Pictures of your children are fabulous.
    If you move near to me, I have an array of hats for you to try. Enjoy Pesach with your loved ones and hope to meet you in person in the not too near future. Refuah Shleima and Hachlama Mehira.

  14. Avivah, I just read all 3 of yor last posts and I’m so sorry that you are going through this. It’s definitely been a difficult year for you and its so amazing that you find the hachgacha through it all. You are truly a role model and I wish and pray that you have a Refua shlema and lots of good mazal to you and your family.

  15. Praying for a complete and speedy recovery for you!

    My friend in Ma’ale Gilboa asked 2 friends for hat store recommendations, and they both came back with this one:
    Imaga wholesale in the AACI building
    Hat store in the middle floor of the Kinyan Ahim Yisrael on Yad Harutzim and haTenufa

    Good luck! Pretend your face is a naked newborn with that tender baby skin. I know you can make it through this season!

  16. I burned my entire hand includig inbetween my fingers in a glassblowing accident, grabbing a red-hot metal pole that was falling right after in came out of an over a thousand degree glass oven. I’m sure they probably gave you silver sulfadiazine (Sulfadine) cream in the hospital, but I used that everyday and kept my hand wrapped in gauze and I have absolutely no scarring whatsoever. I am allergic to sulfa drugs generally, but topically it didn’t bother me. The medicine is very expensive and you need a prescription but it was totally worth it! It has silver in it will oxidize and turn black, so you might not be able to be to be out and about much while using it.

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