Monday, July 2 – The Scariest Minute of My Life

Even a week later, this is very difficult to write. You have my permission not to read this. The short form is: Thank God everybody is fine. Maital slipped, bumped her head and was rushed to the hospital. She was behaving totally normally by the time we reached the hospital. She had a CT scan that came back fine and then spent 24 hours in the Emergency Room for observation. She has been herself for the past week.

If you would like to know more, keep reading.

The morning seemed normal enough, considering it was our first morning in our new apartment in Jerusalem. Overall the kids slept, and we were all up having breakfast, unpacking and helping Daddy get ready for his first day of school.

Nothing exceptional. Maital climbing on everything and our telling her to get down.

The living room has a leather couch and loveseat, the seats of which, thankfully, are lower to the ground than one would expect.

So Maital was standing on the couch and was told “Tushy down,” which she promptly did. Then she was told to get down off the couch, and again, with little delay, she began to lower herself down from the couch, belly on the couch, feet down, sliding slowly.

Did I mention that she was still wearing her feety pajamas and all floors in Jerusalem are made from slippery stone or tile?

When her feety-feet touched the ground they slid out from under her.

Her head hitting the ground at 8:32 AM on Monday, July 2, in the living room of apartment 28 at Diskin #5 in Jerusalem, is a sound I will never forget.

And so started the scariest minute of my life.

She did not look right. I was not sure she was breathing. She was unresponsive.

I held her in my arms and she limply started moving her head, and her eyes were glazed. Jen took her from me, and I realized that I did not know how to call 9- 1-1 in Israel. How could we be prepared in so many ways, have brought so much stuff, done so much research, and be carrying two cell phones and not know how to dial 1-0-1 (the Israeli 9-1-1 for Magen David Adom assistance. Police assistance is 1-0-0. Everybody who comes to Israel should know this.)

It was not clear to me that our daughter was going to be okay, and I mean that in the worst possible way.

I actually decided that I needed to call an Israeli to figure out how to call for an ambulance, while Jen was pacing the floor and Maital was flopping her head (clearly breathing at this point thank God).

After phone calls to two different cousins, both of which reached their voice mails, I reached Megi Navon of the Tel Aviv Foundation, who promptly told me “1- 0-1.” Thank you Megi.

And so ended the scariest minute of my life.

The ambulance was here in less than five minutes. By the time it arrived Maital was already more alert, more herself.

Jen and Maital rode in the ambulance, with the rest of us following a few minutes behind in a Taxi.

I expected that when we visited Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital it would be for the Chagall windows, not for the Cheder Meyun (ER).

By the time I arrived in the Taxi, Maital was herself. Walking around the ER waiting room, saying Mama and Dada, and of course trying to climb on various chairs and tables.

So she was examined, seemed fine. The ER Doc interviewed Jen and me, and then ordered a CT. I have never seen a CT machine up close and never expected to watch it work on my 15 month old baby. Thank God it all came back right.

In general, I pray a lot, daily. I spend a lot of time thinking about Kavanah, how to achieve focus and intensity. I also worry a lot about over intellectualizing prayer, thinking too much about it, keeping one foot safely in the rational world.

Not on the morning of July 2. Not as my baby had her little keppe scanned in a CT machine. Not while we waited for results. My N’shamah screamed out that the energy which gives breath in this world should guard and keep her N’shamah in its precious little container. My Nefesh shook in fear as it begged with all of its life force that her Nefesh should strongly radiate from its home inside her, where it has come to reside over the past 15 months. Prayer is an energy, a flow, and sometimes, like a beacon from a lighthouse or a watch tower, it blazes forth through the dark night.

At a Bris, we acknowledge Eliyahu Hanavi, who for his length of days, from his life in the TaNaKh (Hebrew Bible) to the coming of redemption, watches over and protects our beloved little ones. There is a saying: malakhim shomrim tinokot – Angels guard babies. I do not know which forces or energies or angels were watching over my baby and cushioning her fall at 8:31 AM on Monday, July 2, but to the Source of those Energies, to the Source of the Life of my baby Maital Yardena, to the One whose flow sustains life at every moment, with each beat of my heart, with each breath of the life you have given to me, I thank you and praise you.

On the next web page you will read of our first trip to the Kotel (Western Wall). As Jennifer and I stood together facing the Kotel, she sang part of Psalm 121. Hinei la yanum, v’lo yishan, Shomer Yisrael – the Guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers. Thank you God for your protection and vigilance.

I don’t know if that piece of Psalms is in the first half of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum or the second half, but I invite you, when you stand before the scroll and hear Jennifer singing, to picture yourself before the Kotel and to give thanks to the Guardian of Israel for all the love and mercy that enters our world.

The rest of the story is more pedestrian. Things like holding her in my arms, praying that I could rock her to sleep so she wouldn’t need to be anesthetized for the CT. Then praying that I could place her on the plank without waking her. Then watching as the CT tech woke her, twice.

If you would like to hear this story or others, please ask us when you see us, and we will tell you all about our 24 hours in the Cheder Meyun.

Shayna and Nadiv were angels in the ER.

Maital has no bump or bruise, and is, thank God, exactly like she was before.

Jennifer and I are scarred, changed.

Life is truly unpredictable, and can change in a heartbeat or even faster. Thank and praise God for all of the “good” accidents that everybody walks away from, especially those who have just recently learned to walk.

Now, go kiss those you love.

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