My Blood Clot in My Brain.
Everything can radically change in an instant.
Two months ago I was admitted to the neurology ICU with a blood clot in my brain, and I barely survived to tell the tale. I learned many things during that time, including how much I have always taken for granted and how many gifts God is really giving to me every second.
I experienced first-hand how the world needs kindness to survive. I couldn’t have got through this challenge alone. During my weeks in the hospital I felt God right there with me, next to me at all times, looking after me and giving me everything I need. My recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.
I am lucky that I was given the opportunity to strengthen my spiritual muscles, to work on my emunah, my faith in God, and appreciate the small things before the pandemic hit. When news of my illness spread, so many people of all ages and stages prayed for me and wanted to help. I was shocked by the number of ladies in my neighborhood who were so concerned. After all, I barely knew them.
I didn’t have any pre-existing health conditions and I’m not elderly. To all these women I was living life just like them. It shocked everyone to the core, that God can do something so seemingly drastic in an instant. In the blink of an eye God can take a healthy 24 year old and take her so near to death. Everything can change in such a short span of time.
Then the coronavirus came and taught the entire world this lesson. We are suddenly living in a completely different world – closures, lockdowns, quarantines, economic collapse, sickness and death.
When I was sick in the hospital, I told a visiting friend who was leaving, “Enjoy waiting for the bus in the rain – I wish I could.” I was desperate to get out of bed and out of the hospital and felt so jealous that my friends could just walk out of here and go home. I dreamed of going home and doing all the things I had always done. I so desperately wanted to be in control. I wanted to take care of myself. I longed to change my kids, play with them, deal with their tantrums and kiss them good night. I wished to have the energy so I could stand by the sink and wash the dishes. I wanted to be able to see well enough to cook, and have the strength to do something for my husband, instead of only the other way around. I wanted my body to be able to handle food so that I could eat something small and keep it down for more than a few seconds.
I tried hard to remember the days before the headaches started and envision what it was like to be in a room with the light on, to hear a phone ring, to look at a text without reeling from pain. I thought the world was collapsing.
I feel so privileged with every diaper I get to change, every tear I wipe and every game I get to play.
So now, with school unexpectedly closed, children home all day, unable to get out, hearing of so many sick people, and Passover just over a week away, it is not hard for me to be happy. I pray to God and thank Him for all the good in my life. He has given me everything.
My days have not been all easy, but when my patience is worn thin and I am exhausted, it is easy for me to remember yearning from my hospital bed for all the seemingly mundane things that I envisioned as the biggest treasures. And the gratitude flows in.
I thank God that I am here to be with my family and care for them during this time. I feel so privileged with every diaper I get to change, every tear I wipe and every game I get to play. I am amazed every time I eat. I wake up in the morning and I’m bursting with excitement to say Modeh ani, thank You God for giving me this new day. The blessing I recite after using the bathroom has a whole new meaning. Sitting at a Shabbos table, being able to read from a siddur, nothing can be taken for granted anymore. Everything is a true gift.
I’ve even been able to start doing some cooking again. I am lucky. I can see well enough to recognize my children and read books to them. I can use the laptop and my phone. The light doesn’t bother me and I am headache-free.
I had the privilege of going through an experience that enabled me to be happy in these corona days. Let’s try to thank God for as much as we can and realize just how lucky we are. And let’s realize that God quickly can turn the darkness into light and make this the most amazing, uplifting Passover we’ve ever had.