Tel Aviv Diary August 15-19, 2018 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary August 15-19, 2018

Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 15, 2018

Ezi starts treatment on Sunday. in the meantime, in Gaza, Alrentisi Hospital has run out of Chemo for cancer. Ten years ago, before Ichilov streamlined its systems a bit, I would wait outside the treatment room to be called to take his blood test to the lab, and then to bring the prescription to the pharmacy ten floors up. A hand would come out of the door of the pharmacy to take my note and a voice would tell me to come back in half an hour. At first they would give me the bag of chemo unwrapped, but later I would ride the elevator with a plain brown bag. I did it so often that I even got to show other caregivers the routine. now of course, everything is in one place and they don't trust caregivers with anything but hand holding. But it is maddening to think that I could take a brown bag of chemo and drive for the hour and a half to Gaza. I was so happy then that I could in some way participate with Ezi's recovery, and I would be happy now to be able to do it again.

"The U.K. Labour leader is the only politician hapless enough to lose the moral high ground to Bibi" says Anschel Pfeiffer in Ha'aretz today. I think that Bibi's reluctance to speak out against subjects such as the Holocaust deniers and anti-semitism in other countries has been methodical and purposeful, keeping a low profile, but Corbyn's ceremonial wreath on the graves of the murderers of the Munich athletes was too much even for him.

August 16, 2018

Just opened the paper in the morning to discover that lot of cancer patients from Gaza are being treated here. The government doesn't allow patients with close relatives to Hamas to come, for example.

August 17, 2018

My ten year old granddaughter asked the family at lunch today if we were left or right. There was a flurry of discussions about previous mundane subjects and then i zoned back in on her question. "Why are you asking?" someone said. it was as if the question was too much for us. I said something about it depending on the issues, but the conversation soon moved on to other subjects. I think it is because we are flustered by this. None at the table considered himself 'left' because we can all go totally right when it comes to defending our country, and we don't always associate with the statements coming out of the left, and we consider ourselves 'middle of the road' if we voted Labor in the last election, even though some people consider them way left.

Maybe it's a good thing that the left and right are mixed, but the right here seems to know exactly where they stand, and that is sometimes very scarey.

August 18, 2018

I didn't know about the arrest of the Palestinian writer Lama Khatar while I was away. I have no idea if she is dangerous or not. and how can i find out? her tweets? a little ad in ha'aretz says that she is handcuffed and tied to her chair. there seem to be a number of palestinian women who have written what the government calls incitement, but i don't know if the palestinian authorities have not cooperated in these arrests. so much is not known and not clear, but i don't think the israelis can be without motive here, or whatever is done to these women doesn't have the opposite effect.

i found a translation of an article about Ezi's grandfather here:

"Tel-Aviv is my country, my city, I can imagine life only here; I've always rushed back whenever I was away from here and felt that I had really arrived home when I was back on Tel-Aviv's streets. The menorah on top of the water tower I had built was shining brightly over my city; the city I saw being developed from scratch into something truly significant became my home." (Árpád Gut)

I love it

August 19, 2018

The new system of TV internet (celcom) didn't work. I would have berated Ezi for it, because I really didn't want to change systems at this time but he did it anyway. But how could I berate him after this incredibly long day he had? it started at seven when we left for the hospital, got checked in after I ran around for the right forms (someone had put in the wrong code number), got his blood test and then results, was installed in a nice hospital bed in an empty room with two beds, and began what it turned out would be a complex treatment in a number of stages lasting over five more hours.

It would have been okay. he was dozing off after the sedatives and all seemed fine. i even found a corner to sit with my computer. And then the new patient was brought in. Poor guy was dying, but that wasn't his only problem. he had two very large sons, a daughter, a brother and a cousin, all shouting to him, "Yossi, do you recognize me?" and then discussing what all the scenarios could be foreseen and what to do to make sure his wife doesn't get power of attourney.

I squeezed myself into a tighter corner, my back against the curtain i pulled between the beds, my feet under Ezi's bed, and tried to ignore their terrible situation, but i wasn't going to leave him alone in that chaos

At some point Ezi went to sleep again and seemed unaware of the tragic situation a meter away. Me, i had no place to move without being bumped by the crowd of shouters. I couldn't avoid being in the middle. There were also numerous and loud problems with diapers, their contents and the changing of them. And then the test results were in and the head doctor came in to explain that there was nothing they could do for him, and they piled him into a wheelchair and left. By then I was beside myself - hungry, tired, overstimulated, overexerted - and we made for the nearest food place.

Nearest is not always dearest, and everything doesn't always taste good to the ravenous. "River" has many asian restaurants, most of them banal, and the sushi bar adjacent to the hospital is probably the most banal of all, even though it was almost three before we could have lunch.

So the first thing Ezi did when we came home was turn on our new tv system to watch the really dumb series he started two days ago, "Succession." Nothing. News. Nothing. He's got to stay in bed until tomorrow and he can't focus enough to read.

So we called celcom, but after 20 minutes of music and ads we left a message. And wonder of wonders, after only half an hour they called back, gave us a lot of instruction, and after nothing worked, and the instructions didn't make sense to us, we photographed their equipment to discover that part of it wasn't given to with us. Thank goodness the hematology ward operates better than the communication system.

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