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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Even in Israel, there is the good, the bad and the ugly.....

The Ugly

Road rage exists here, too. The Husband was en route to a softball game with his friends when a tus-tus driver, enraged at the traffic, kicked the side-panels of the cars in line, including ours, as he passed. Tus-tuser apparently lost his balance while kicking ours, and rather than blame his own stupidity for laying his tus-tus in the road, decided to take it out on the Husband. Mr. Road-Rage ripped off his helmet and hit the husband in the face with it. Broken glasses, some scratches and yes, the Husband got the license number as Mr. Road-Rage drove off. That's the ugly.

The good? Every driver around him jumped out of their car and physically restrained Road-Rager. (Remember, we're from the States, where people generally "don't want to get involved," as a rule; a truly bold citizen might use his cellphone to call the police....)

The other good? Unlike in California, the tus-tus driver didn't carry a gun....

The Good

The Boy has been using anti-seizure medications for the past 5 or 6 years. We've gone through 4 neurologists, none of whom could explain why he continued to have seizures. These are experts from UCSF, Oakland's Children's Hospital, and Mt. Zion...the explanation proffered the parents was that "break-through seizures" are common, especially with growing children, and possibly there is a missed dose here and there.....it wasn't convincing, but it was all we had.

We come to Israel. We settle in Jerusalem. We get the name and fortunately an appointment for the best pediatric neurologist in Jerusalem (Itai Berger, if anyone needs him--Hadassah Mt. Scopus). He orders the routine-every-six-months blood tests for the Boy, and 48 hours later has us rushing back to clinic because of the blood test results (which we did twice to make sure there was no error).

The blood test results show that despite massive doses of Trileptin (one of a modern family of anti-seizure medications we have tried) The Boy does NOT have a therapeutic level of the metabolite in his bloodstream.....in plain English, his body doesn't absorb this particular medication. In other words, since 5th grade my child has essentially been un-medicated for his seizure condition. And he had these blood tests in the States, also....so any neurologist there could have seen these results and figured out there was problem....

No wonder he kept having seizures.

And we had to come to Israel to find a neurologist smart enough to figure this out. I love the doctor -- he's funny, he's smart and he loves kids and is able to tell me he knows about this condition because he had another patient many years ago with exactly the same problem. Being young, smart and just out of medical school, he was certain that the child wasn't being medicated properly by the parents--so he hospitalized the child and found out that despite the hospital staff handling the doses, the child still didn't have a therapeutic level of medication in her system. He then did some research (and apologized to the parents for doubting them) and discovered that some rare individuals simply don't fully metabolize this particular family of medications.

We're now on a new family of anti-seizure drugs--which so far, are working. Let's hear it for Israeli doctors!

The Bad

Health care is universal in Israel. How good that health care is depends on a lot of factors.

Yossi, our neighborly life-saver and situation-fixer, was experiencing some muscle cramping in the legs...then the muscles and the pain got worse...and worse....and worse....until he finally went to several specialists who sent him ultimately to an orthopedist. The orthopedist wanted a test to determine exactly what was causing the pain and muscle lock-up in both legs. Yossi called to make an appointment for the test -- and yes, there was an appointment open--at the end of June. In 6 weeks.

This is not the kind of pain one wants to fool around with....after exhausting all possible avenues of traditional health care through the Health Plan, Yossi tossed in the towel and made a "private" appointment with a specialist at Hadassah Ein Kerem. Money talks, even in Israel. He got the appointment for the next day, not for the end of June.....kessef medaber....

That's the bad.....it's great that there is universal health coverage.....the bad is that at times, the speed of delivery isn't sufficient.....

The good? The tests are back and its nothing that can't be fixed......


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You're certainly having your share of adventures.

Refuah sheleimah to your husband and to Yossi.

It wouldn't be possible to meet the mishpacha on a Friday, would it?

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 1:45:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Sure it would! Let's pick a Shabbat that works for you and have you over for Shabbat dinner at the end of Yom Shishi or Kiddush on Shabbat day, whichever is easiest for you.

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 9:31:00 AM GMT+3  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for such a generous offer.

Seeing as I have one out Shabbat left this year, and it may already be booked, I don't know if that plan will work out.

I was thinking some time earlier in the day on Friday, if that works out for you.

After this week, I have two Fridays left :( (the last Friday is before an in Shabbat).

If not, there's always next trip...

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 9:35:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

That was interesting. Thanks.

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 10:26:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger Jill said...

Whoa...glad to hear that my bro. didn't receive any life threatening injuries or worse, and that he was able to obtain the license number to limit the exposure of Mr. Road Rage to any more unsuspecting bystanders in the future! It is nice to read your "upside" perspective in regard to this and to my nephews health regime and new medications. It is disappointing that it took this long for the diagnosis, but, hopefully this will make a great contribution to the quality of his life and that makes all the difference in the world!!! Hope Yossi feels back to his ol' self again real soon, he is a real gem and sounds like an extended part of your family...so glad to hear that he'll be rid of what is ailing him. Much love to you all, hope to hear from you sometime soon!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 7:57:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger Esser Agaroth said...

B"H Glad to hear about getting a good doctor. At the beginning of my 10 yrs. here, health care took some getting used to. After extensive doctor shopping and qupat holim shopping, and asking those who came before me, I found the right combination that works well for me. NIS 18 (less than $5) for an appt. w/an opthamologist - Can't beat it!

And, Baruch HaShem for those gun-toting Jews! I feel a lot safer in the Shomron than Downtown LA.

Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 2:59:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger JJ said...

Wow, your tus-tus *(#&$ sounds worse than the typical Israeli (*#$&*^ full of road rage. That guy needs some sort of therapy- and fast! Love the way all the other drivers rushed out to grab him. Cool!

Glad your husband is OK, too!

Wow, if even Yossi couldn't get a faster appt, nobody can!

Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 1:41:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger tafka PP said...

Can we start a Yossi fan club??

Glad all is on the mend.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 11:36:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

tnspr569--just tell me what you have left--the only days we're fully booked already are next week, June 8 & 9 (bat mitzvah from America arrives)


jilly--kol besder achshav (it's all okay now)--got your email, thanks!

ben-yehudah--much to my surprise, I generally feel safer in Israel than in the States when I'm out on the streets

rr--I'm glad its behind us and the Husband is no worse for wear; Yossi is okay, too, once the docs figured out the problem

tafka pp---the three of us ARE the Yossi Fam Club but we're always happy to welcome new members! Consider yourself included!

Sunday, June 3, 2007 at 3:48:00 PM GMT+3  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm...this Wednesday night might be the only workable solution, if June 8th and 9th are booked.

If not, there's always next time.

Sunday, June 3, 2007 at 4:42:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

tnspr569--hmmmm.....maybe next time is better? Wed. night the Husband is off playing softball and I'm tentatively scheduled to take the Boy to an after-school educational tiyul regarding the Six Day War.....the week is getting messy.....when will you be back?

Monday, June 4, 2007 at 5:11:00 PM GMT+3  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erm, some time next year?

My winter break is in January, so hopefully that will be the time of the next trip.

It's okay; there wasn't much planning that went into this attempt.

Monday, June 4, 2007 at 7:30:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

We will have a home in Modi'in with a guest bedroom at that point! You can come for Shabbat and stay over!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 2:28:00 PM GMT+3  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! The offer is most appreciated :)

One way or another, we'll get to meet.

Hatzlacha with the home-building.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 2:32:00 PM GMT+3  

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