June 12, 2024
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June 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

No Patience to Be a Patient

It’s become, I think, even more common than the proverbial “Have a great day.” Today when friends part after seeing each other, it’s “Stay well” or, as my parents would have said, “Nur gezunt.” We wish each other the blessing of staying healthy. Most likely, as are so many other things that we say to each other, it is tossed to the back of our minds along with “You keep looking younger and younger,” “What a great person you are,” “You are the best,” etc.,—words that people often repeat to each other and none of us really think too much about their meaning.

Last week after feeling under the weather for several weeks and being treated for an infection that was nonexistent it was determined that my sodium level was dangerously low. I was admitted to Englewood Hospital to find the underlying cause of this problem. It was a new role for me. I am the attentive wife who cares for her husband just about 24 hours per day. I have no time for anything to be wrong with me. It must be some sort of a mistake, I told myself. Yet there I was lying in a bed in a small, enclosed space in the emergency room waiting to be moved to a floor. My greatest concern the entire time that I was there was for my husband. Fortunately I have children whose love and concern for us is more than I could have ever imagined and they worked diligently to allay my fears.

At that point my thoughts turned to interesting tidbits such as the patient who completes successful surgery and then dies in their sleep, or the patient who goes into the hospital in order to determine what causes sodium to be so low and then finds out that they have two different types of cancer in their body, or the patient who falls on their way to the bathroom while in the hospital and breaks their hip. There were very few thoughts that I did not have (none of them being productive in getting me through this experience easily).

I looked around at the other patients in the ER and saw what looked like some direly critical situations. I wondered if given time I would look the same. I realized how little time it takes to feel as though your life can be burdensome for so many. I thought about all of the graduations that were to take place in our family in the days following my ER stint. Me, the bubbie who goes to everything, who would drive from Montreal to Rochester as if it was nothing to surprise a granddaughter who was starring in her school’s production of “Annie,”
me who showed up at graduations when not expected due to the distance, me who is the first to offer to drive and buy and run and do whatever I can to brighten and ease the days of my children…. I realized that the world will in fact run totally well if I do not do these things. I realized that one day I would have to slow down and watch from the sidelines even though I feel strongly that I am not ready for such a role. I am blessed to have great-grandchildren (19 as of last week) whose graduations I now have had the zechut of attending, from nursery school and kindergarten. Nina, you have been blessed and maybe this is where it all ends, I thought. Is it possible that they will find something that will make me slow down and cause me to be totally debilitated?

And then, lo and behold, the ER attending physician popped his head into my allotted space to announce that my doctor has decided that I do not have to be admitted. I AM GOING HOME.

Just keep drinking that Gatorade (disgusting) and your blood work can be done from the lab in the doctor’s office. Two days later, the nes of Hashem, my sodium level has begun to rise. I am, after three weeks of feeling awful, beginning to feel well. I even considered driving to Columbus, Ohio, for my great-grandson’s bris that will take place on Thursday, June 17. It hit me suddenly that perhaps I should use this as a wakeup call. As my mother used to say, “One cannot tantz (dance) at alleh simchas!” Slow down a bit, Nina, and smell the hydrangeas growing right beneath your window. Don’t rush the days—just slowly enjoy them and encourage people to say “Gezunt is the most important,” because they are right. It is what we should constantly be wishing each other.


Nina Glick lives in Bergenfield with her husband, Rabbi Mordechai Glick, after many years of service to the Montreal Jewish community.

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