The past several weeks have been extremely difficult and painful for me. The first was shalbeket (shingles, in English) which covered my forehead with very red blisters. It has somewhat diminished now but is still present and very visible.
The second was glaucoma in my right eye which requires immediate attention to prevent blindness in the eye. It is considered to be a hereditary disease and my glaucoma is a case in support of that opinion.
My father’s mother suffered from glaucoma while still living in Russia in 1906. It was suggested to her that she should travel to Bialystok to consult with a renowned Jewish eye specialist, Dr. Leon Pines.
(I always laughed hysterically when I heard his name which was pronounced “penis.”)
While in Bialystok, the 1906 pogrom broke out in riots between Roman Catholics and Russian Orthodox. The Jews were, as usual, primary victims of the pogrom.
Eighty-eight Jews had been killed. My father’s mother was beaten by Cossacks and one of her arms was paralyzed for the rest of her life.
The strange treatment for glaucoma at that time was to bathe the affected eye with urine.
Later in life, two of my father’s sisters were afflicted with glaucoma. One had an eye removed and replaced with a glass eye. My father became another target of the disease in his 60’s but treated in time he did not suffer blindness but did retain some diminished vision.
Now, apparently, it was my turn to continue in the inherited family problem. The eye surgeon ruled out laser surgery and is treating the eye with drops…6 different kinds…. one to be taken once a day, another four times a day and one taken five times a day. (I am drowning in eye-drops).
The problem for me is the difficulty of putting the drops in the eye. My attempts usually miss the eye and wet the cheek instead.
But throughout all the pain and discomfort, God has sent me three angels…. Two humans, one not.
The first is my beloved daughter Liora who comes to my apartment every morning at eight o’clock before leaving for her office to put the correct drops in my eye and to prepare breakfast for me. She returns to me before eight o’clock in the evening when she comes home from work, puts more drops in my eye, cooks supper for me, and shares the news of the day.
She is my God-given guardian and care-giver and has the same loving personality as her late sainted mother.
The second is Alba, a Catholic woman born in Cuba who my wife and I met on her honeymoon in Acapulco, Mexico, more than forty years ago. We have remained close friends ever since. We have not met since our first acquaintance with Alba and her husband Pat but we are in daily contact by e-mail and postal mail and even by long-distance telephone calls.
She prays for my improved health and is as concerned for me like a cherished member of my family. She is a wonderful comforter and is always concerned for me and for my family. She is my second angel.
The third angel is our beloved four-legged Israeli Canaan dog who my daughter bought from the Shaar Hagai kennels in Jerusalem six years ago. Atara Carmit, our sabra, does a lot of barking (that’s her breed) and while she can obey commands in Hebrew (bo-ee-come, shvi-sit, artza-down, ochel-food) she is not able to bark in Hebrew.
I have not succeeded in changing her bow-wow-wow or her woof-woof-woof into a proper hav-hav-hav. Probably because she is a stubborn sabra!
Carmit lies on my bed next to me, puts her paws on my leg indicating that she wants to be patted or fed one of her special treats, and she does not leave my side.
When I walk from the bedroom to the kitchen she walks with me. When the telephone or door bell rings, she barks to inform me. When she hears me whimper from a sudden pain, she draws closer to my body. She is a treasure…a real sabra… whose mother was Israeli born and whose father was a Jordanian. She gives me love and comfort for many hours of the day.
These are the three great loving angels whom God has chosen to care for me while I am in need of help.
There is no greater love than a child. There is no greater bonding than a true friend. And there is no greater affection than man’s love for his dog and for the great love given by his dog in return.
Blessed am I that God has sent me His three best angels. Where would I be without them?
Now… if He would send me a better prime minister and a stronger democratic government, I would say “Amen”.
Until He does that, my lips will remain sealed. (But my fingers continue to reach the keyboard !!!)