(In case this appears in your inbox, don’t be worried – I just corrected the title of this old post and sometimes this causes it to post as something new.)
We’ve had a doozy of a time trying to get our health insurance established here in Israel. To recap, as returning citizens, every family member over the age of 18 has to pay almost 10,000 shekels each (approximately $2700) in order to start our membership in the local health care clinics. Half of this is refunded within a few weeks, the other half is refunded after a year.
Dh and I figured this expense into our plans, but we didn’t anticipate all of the difficulties in taking care of what we thought would be pretty straightforward. The weeks stretched on, we repeatedly went to the National Insurance office, and dh and I finally decided to stop trying to fight a battle that can’t be won. We were at the point that we needed to have the refunded money in hand already to cover our living expenses for the coming month, and had very little faith that if we did pay the money, that we’d get it back. We’ve just seen too much inaccuracy and incompetency, and we didn’t want to risk money we need for our living expenses on office clerks doing what they’re supposed to do, after seeing that they don’t know what they’re doing. And we were warned that they like to get as much money as they can, and refund as little as possible. We can’t afford to not get our money back as promised.
So dh went to the local health clinic to find out about getting private insurance for the next four months (after six months of being a resident, the national insurance will automatically kick in without having to pay the large fees). When he got there, the clerk looked at the computer and told him that I and the kids are already covered! This was such a nice surprise, and it came just in time.
Ds12 has had a really bad case of chickenpox. He was burning up for a few days, the inside of his mouth is covered with pox and it makes it very difficult for him to eat or drink anything, and to top it off, he has an infected ingrown toenail that I’ve been working on treating for the last couple of weeks but still looks pretty bad. I was relieved that we were able to bring down his 105 degree fever, though it went back up to 102 yesterday afternoon. (I shared about natural chickenpox remedies here , and in the comments, shared some of what I was doing about the fever.)
You know the phrase, ‘no rest for the weary’? Well, that’s what came to mind when the morning his fever broke, just a couple of hours later he showed me his noticeably swollen ankle. This worried me, and I asked dh to make an appointment with a doctor – I didn’t yet have any of the info about the health clinic or I would have taken care of it myself. He went to make the appointment, and an hour and a half later, ds18 told me that ds12’s foot was turning black and he was losing feeling in his toes. Yes, this freaked me out.
I was so anxious that by the time dh got home a very short time later, I was really uptight. He said there was a line at the clinic, and because of the Sukkos holiday, the clinic closed mid day instead of at 7 pm, so he made an appointment for the next morning since he didn’t think it was urgent. “Tomorrow?? No, no, now, he needs to be seen immediately, it can’t wait until tomorrow!” – yep, I was really stressed. I rarely take my kids to the doctor, and the very fact I had asked for the appointment was a sign that it was important.
Ds18 told me that ds 12 overheard me talking to dh and it was making him stressed out and to calm down. But at times when I’m afraid I’m dealing with something serious I don’t have the tools for, the unknown combines with my desire to take the very best care of my children possible and feels like a huge emotional weight.
Ds called the clinic to find out what kind of medical help was available. Oh, nothing, until tomorrow morning. How can we live in a city with 52,000 people and there’s no medical help for that amount of time?!? Well, it seems there’s some kind of emergency station a few minutes away from us, but it’s not clear to me what kind of help is available there, and when the nurse on the phone heard ds’s symptoms, she said there are sometimes complications of chickenpox in older kids that affect their joints and it sounded like that might be what’s happening, and to get him to an emergency room right away.
Easier said than done. Since our move, we don’t have a car, and we don’t even know where the closest hospital is. This is such a huge difference from having a car and a major hospital five minutes away, which was our situation until two months ago. Since moving to Israel, I use public transportation (and enjoy it!), but taking ds to the hospital by bus wasn’t an option.
We called a couple of friends with cars to ask if they could drive us to the emergency room in a neighboring city, but they weren’t available. We then called the person we hired a number of times to pick up the furniture we bought from private sellers on a number of occasions to ask him to take us, and as soon as he heard we needed to go to the emergency room, said, “I’ll be there right away”. And he was. He’s not a close personal friend, and we called him assuming we’d pay him a few hundred shekels for the drive. He insisted on waiting two or three hours at the hospital, and when he brought dh and ds home, refused payment. Can you imagine that? He said the main thing is that my son is healthy. We are so blessed with good people in our lives. (Dd16 made a couple of big gorgeous loaves of challah that we’re planning to take to him today as a tiny token of appreciation.)
At the hospital, they took an xray, and when the podiatrist who was supposed to look at it finally arrived, the xray wasn’t loading for him on his computer. He was impatient, took a quick look at ds’s leg, and told dh that there was no need to take the xray, it’s not a joint problem and not directly connected to the chicken pox, but is a skin infection that gets into cuts or wounds (in this case it was next to a pox). (This is what ds12 told me earlier in the day, that the pox right next to it was hurting and he thought it was connected.) That was a relief.
Dh asked him about the ingrown toenail (which looks bad and though I’ve been treating it, would like to know it’s healing properly), and the doctor says, “It’s an ingrown toenail.” Umm, yes, we know that. The question is, is it healing normally or do we need to do something else? “Come back another time for that, right now we’re dealing with the foot.” Is he joking?? He’s a foot specialist looking at swelling a few inches from that toe, and after they were waiting two hours for him, he can’t take one minute to tell us anything without making a separate visit? Sheesh.
He prescribed antibiotics and an antibiotic ointment for the foot, as well as a painkiller. This is the first time ds12 has ever taken antibiotics or used an antibiotic cream (none of our kids except ds18 have taken antibiotics until now – ds18 had them twice). I don’t know if it’s any better than the salve that I made that we use, but we’re giving him antibiotics and continuing to keep doing what we’ve been doing (mega doses of vitamic c, chicken broth, olive leaf tea) along with adding in probiotics to offset the negative effects of antibiotics.
So thank G-d though it looks bad and it’s very painful, this morning he was limping but able to walk on the foot (last night he had to walk like a crab, sideways, and pull his leg after him), and hopefully it will be better soon. It’s a relief just to know what you’re dealing with, you know?
And ds didn’t mind the trip to the hospital – dh bought him some ice cream (ds told me the cafeteria was basically a small room filled with snacks – you’d hope in a place dedicated to healing this wouldn’t be the case!), and during the drive there, he enjoyed seeing an Arab “from a thousand years ago” in traditional garb with a shepherd’s crook herd twenty goats down a sidewalk in the city of Nahariya, which is where the hospital he went to was. Social studies.
You want to hear something funny but not funny? Last night, ds12 told me he got worried when he heard that I was worried. (I tend to be pretty laid back about heath issues and handle things that come up with out getting too worked up.) I told him that I got worried when I heard ds18 describe his leg to me (as above), and ds12 said, “What? I didn’t say I lost feeling in my toe! He touched my toe and I said it didn’t hurt!” And it wasn’t turning black, either, though the healing skin is a darkish pink color, it was just ds18’s way of describing it – so though I’m glad we took ds to see a doctor and had already asked dh to make the appointment before ds18’s description, my extreme worry was based on the equivalent of ‘broken telephone’!
And PS – this morning dh went to the health clinic and the computer now says that I don’t have health insurance. Apparently it was delayed in processing all the relevant information. But the kids still do, and we had it in place when we really needed it!
(This post is linked to Real Food Wednesdays.)