April 23, 2024
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April 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Leaving the Safety Net

I think that we all felt a sense of nervousness now that we had reached the big day. The day that seemed as though it might never happen had arrived. Naama was being discharged from the hospital in just a few short hours. She kept protesting that she did not want to leave, which we found extremely funny. But we, who have been more than anxious for this nightmare to end, are also feeling pangs of concern. Just how long would it take for this horrible situation to recur, we ask each other quietly and subconsciously.

How do we bid fond adieu to the wonderful, amazing staff of 6K, the floor that Naama has lived on for the past three weeks once leaving the intensive care unit at the Jewish General Hospital? Nurses, orderlies, doctors, cleaning staff have become members of our extended family. One is more kind than the next. We have watched patients suffer, rally, shriek and cry out in the night. We have commiserated with other families and we were all able to share our pains and our joys.

It hurts to think that we are leaving another patient behind. His name is George. He is 48 years old. He sits in his wheelchair day in and day out near the window of the family room. He barely speaks and his mouth is always open wide. One could say that he looks as though he is not in this world. His mother is able to communicate with him in Greek and through blinking his eyes in a specific way she can tell what he wants.

George was normal until he was 16 years old. At that time, he and another boy had an altercation in school and as a result of that he suffered a serious brain injury and became a quadriplegic. His mother snips his hair each day around the ears and shaves him each morning.

She is always alone with him. He and Naama became friends. When I took Naama to say goodbye to George she blew him kisses and he began to cry terribly. I felt horrible.

We befriended many wonderful doctors. Two young men, Dr. Corey Miller, originally from Scarsdale, who was the chief resident on the floor, never made it home in time for Shabbos as his wife Shira waited for him with their two young children. His devotion was amazing. Dr. Lorne Schweitzer became our family’s advocate for Naama. He rushed to have necessary tests taken on time, came in to see Naama many, many times during the day, and we know is now a part of the growing Glick clan.

However, especially interesting to me is the discussion that I had with a senior physician on the floor, who shared with me that he has a daughter with cerebral palsy. She is quite accomplished. She completed college and passed her CPA exam on the first try. The problem that she is having is that she needs to find an accounting office to do her “stage” (apprenticeship). Once people find out that she doesn’t walk with a normal gait and that when she speaks it is sometimes difficult to understand unless you really concentrate, they deny her the option of working in their office.

I hopefully believe that this could never happen in the Jewish community. I am therefore on a mission at the present time to find a “stage” for this woman. I have little patience for discrimination against people with special needs. I was amazed when I called the first logical person in my mind to hire her and he told me that “it just wouldn’t work out in his firm.” This will not deter me!

Most importantly, Naama is now back at Maison Shalom (her amazing group home). Posters on the wall welcomed her back, staff excitedly kissed her and immediately we saw smiles on her face, which had been missing their formation for the last month.

We do not know anything about the future and we know that no one does. Our gratitude to all of those who davened for her is not explainable. Our amazing children who took turns disrupting all of their busy lives to come to Montreal to make sure that we were never alone at the beginning of this nightmare are a special matana from Hashem. Naama is indeed blessed to have them as siblings and we do not even know where to start thanking them. To many who were in touch with us regularly, we wish to share only happy occasions with you in the future.

We will continue to take one day at a time, as we have done for most of our life. We have the good fortune of having each other to lean on. The same deal that we made to each other when Naama was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of nine months, we have held on to over the past month. We have to take turns crying so that one can be strong for the other one. It works. Our love for each other only becomes stronger in a challenging situation, we have found.

Again, thank you everyone. Let us hope that life will now go back to its boring old self.

By Nina Glick

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