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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Bikur Cholim’

Events In The West

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

EVENTS IN THE WEST: On Saturday night, January 28, Palo Alto will feature a Feast of Jewish Learning, a night of Jewish unity for the South Peninsula. The program is sponsored by the JCC and the Bureau of Jewish Education… On February 3-5, the chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, will be in Los Angeles. On Shabbos he’ll speak at Beth Jacob Beverly Hills, and after Minchah at Young Israel of Century City. The next day he will speak at the dedication of Young Israel of Beverly Hills’s new building… On February 3-4, Rabbi Berel Wein will be the scholar-in-residence at Young Israel of Hancock Park… On February 8, Sara Yocheved Rigler will speak on “The Spiritual GPS: How to get to the place you want to be” at the JLE in L.A. … The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) will hold its convention on May 7-9 in the Beverly Hills and Pico-Robertson neighborhood of L.A.

YESHIVA NEWS: Two new ideas from Yeshivat Yavneh to make the most of their carpool line: raise enough money to help eighth graders go to Israel for their class trip, and on Thursdays the students sell pizza followed by the Friday morning selling of challah.

KOSHER NEWS: Miller’s and Haolam cheeses are voluntarily recalling all 8 oz. and 16 oz. bags of Miller’s and Haolam shredded cheese with an expiration of June 5, 2012- Sept. 4, 2012 and all 32 oz. bags of Miller’s shredded Mozzarella and Haolam Shredded Mozzarella and Gourmet Blend with an expiration date of February 6, 2012- May 7, 2012. The same holds true for all 5 lb. bags of Miller’s and Haolam shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar, Muenster and Monterey Jack with a pack date of Sept. 8, 2011- Dec. 7, 2011. Please note that only the 5 lb. Shredded bags are pack date instead of the expiration date. The voluntary recall of the Miller’s and Haolam products was only for the shredded cheese and does not involve any of the other quality cheese products under the Miller’s and Haolam brand. Those include any of the types of cheese that were shredded that also come in other shapes, sizes or forms (not shredded)… Martinelli’s Gold Medal Sparkling Cider in six-pack shrink-bundled 250 ml. glass bottles are being recalled in the western United States due to the possibility of a defective seal that could break when opening the bottle. The six-pack shrink-bundled 250 ml. Martinelli’s Gold Medal Sparkling Cider “Best By” dates being recalled are: 11 APR 2014, 12 APR 2014, 13 APR 2014, and 14 APR 2014… Kehilla Kosher announced that the following Hansen’s Beverage juices in 64 oz. sizes have been mislabeled with the Heart-K logo: Apple Strawberry, Apple Grape, Cranberry, Cranberry Apple, Grape, and White Grape. These products are in fact not kosher. Corrective action is being taken.

WOMEN ONLY: As part of Bikur Cholim of Los Angeles’s Women’s Health Care Campaign, the organization is providing free and low-cost mammogram vouchers for those women whose insurance does not cover this test, or if their deductible/co-payment is unaffordable. The number of vouchers is limited, and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Mark and Tali Silberstein, a daughter (Grandparents Michael and Lynne Silberstein).

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Mordechai and Zahava Moskowitz, a son (Grandparents Irwin and Tania Lowi; Moishe and Chavie Moskowitz; Great-grandparents Alex and Norma Pacifico; Sal and Rita Lowi)… Reuven Chaim and Shira Klein of Ramat Eshkol, a son (Grandparents Michael and Edith Klein)… Mendel and Esther Plotke in London, a son… Levi and Rivka Gelb, a son (Grandparents Yisroel and Miriam Koch)… Sruly and Mushky Karasic of Crown Heights, NY (Grandparents Rabbi Simcha and Tzirel Frankel)… Dovi and Chani Goldman, a daughter (Grandparents Rabbi Mendy and Hadassah Spalter)… Rabbi Berel and Zisi Yemini, a son… David and Susie Ozeri, a son (Grandparents Allen and Judy Ishakis)… Dr. Mark and Devorah Levine, a son (Grandfather Dr. Robert Levine)… Yehuda and Sara Maryles, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Heshy and Shaindy Maryles)… Rabbi Yitzchok and Chana Bader, a daughter… Eliyahu and Leah Hamoui, a daughter (Grandparents Rabbi Dovid and Sara Toledano)… Gabi and Elana Pinchasov, a son (Grandparents Joshua and Chana Zauderer)… Berel and Fraidi Schuserman, a daughter… Rabbi Dovid and Jasmine Brafman, a son (Grandparents Jaime and Marilyn Sohacheski)… Srulie and Esti Rose, a son (Grandparents Glenda Rose and the late Rabbi Rafael Rose).

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvahs: Eliezer Zucker, son of Mark and Kim Zucker… Levi Cohen, son of Akiva and Debbie Cohen.

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah: Eliana Markman, daughter of Rabbi Aryeh and Rochel Markman.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Meira Weiss, daughter of Simcha and Bena Weiss, to Motti Zisovitz of Lakewood… Rabbi Yossi Itzinger to Leah Rapaport of Syracuse, NY… Jonathan Uretsky, son of Steve and Murielle Uretsky, to Ilana Sussman of NY… Michael Pollack, son of Marty and Evey Pollack, to Tali Swergold of Woodmere, NY.

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Yoni Udkoff to Chayale Sharfstein… Shmueli Schwartz, son of Dr. Joseph and Brenda Schwartz, to Raquel Stern of Miami Beach… Felice Fromm to Leigh Greenberg.

Hospitality Suite/Shabbat Room At Boca Raton Regional Hospital

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Bikur Cholim of South Palm Beach County has announced that the new Jewish Hospitality Suite and Shabbat Room for family members of patients at Boca Raton Regional Hospital is now open. The room, located on the third floor, is made possible by generous gifts from Bikur Cholim of South Palm Beach County, The Yehuda Memorial Center, and the hospital. It is the first Shabbat Room in Palm Beach County.

“We are very pleased to be working with Boca Raton Regional Hospital to provide this new service to the Jewish community.” said Stanley Smith, Bikur Cholim’s founder and president. “It will be greatly appreciated by patients and family members who will now be able to be with their loved ones on the Sabbath and holidays, and will contribute to better patient care.”

Jewish hospitality and Shabbat room at Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

The opening is the culmination of seven years of effort by Smith, which took place through several successive hospital administrations. Renovation and furnishing is currently underway and the room is expected to be in full use in December. The attractively decorated and comfortably furnished room is equipped with kitchen facilities, couches, tables and chairs, Jewish books and religious articles. The room will have a variety of kosher foods that will be regularly restocked and by Bikur Cholim volunteers.

“Having a family member or dear friend ill and hospitalized is a trying experience for everyone involved,” said Jerry Fedele, president and CEO of Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “Providing a Shabbat Room for our visitors will greatly help in allowing them to see and support their loved ones. We are most pleased to partner with Bikur Cholim and Yehuda Memorial Center on this most worthwhile endeavor.”

Bikur Cholim of South Palm Beach County is an organization of volunteers that visits Jewish patients in hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, hospices and homes. The organization lends a wide variety of durable medical equipment free of cost. Volunteers bring comfort, encouragement and prayer and help patients and their families address special needs and concerns.

For more information, contact Stanley Smith at (561) 362-7345 or BikurCholimSPBC@gmail.com or visit www.bikurcholimspbc.org.

How Some Extraordinary People Saved Our Pesach

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I’ve long been familiar with the saying “Man proposes and G-d disposes,” but the depth of its meaning was recently brought home to me suddenly and unexpectedly. 

 

If I had been asked in the early part of 2009 where we would be spending Pesach, I would have answered, “with the Chevra in San Diego.” Instead, I found myself in the Sephardic Nursing Home/Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn.

 

As a result of the sudden onset of a medical emergency, my husband was unable to fly, and in need of therapy. And I wanted to be by his side. After the initial shock of my husband’s situation wore off, I found myself in uncharted territory. I had to find a nursing/rehabilitation home for my husband, and the only ones I had ever seen were far from appealing to me. It was also hard for me to make decisions at that time, as I was still having trouble coming to terms with the whole situation.

 

The name Sephardic kept coming up in discussions with family and friends and I finally went to check it out. That is when a whole new world opened up to me. Angela Villanella gave me a tour and I was very impressed — so much so that I chose it for my husband. The place is beautiful and clean and very welcoming. There is a very special garden in the back with a small waterfall that flows into a pond with Koi fish. It is a joy to sit out there.

 

            Most impressive was the rehabilitation floor, which is top notch. But all the tours in the world could not have prepared me for the exceptional care and rehab my husband is given by the people who work there, and that makes all the difference. All the nurses and aides on his floor are wonderful, but as with all things, some are outstanding and deserving of mention. Barbara the evening nurse is in a class by herself. Nurses Lisa, Angela and Valerie are also very much appreciated. Aides Carmen, Townsend, Jennifer, Esther, Ms. Smith and others go a long way toward making a big difference in the day-to-day care of a patient. 

 

           Of course, Sephardic runs as well as it does thanks to its very able director, Michael New, who is hands-on at all times. I have found a level of caring — and a desire to help — at Sephardic that was lacking at the world-famous hospital my husband was in before he transferred here.

 

But there is one more thing about Sephardic — and it’s something no other place has. The secret weapon is Rabbi Avraham and Mrs. Dina Amar. I met them for the first time in the beautiful shul at Sephardic. I had expected a social hall/makeshift shul, so I was unprepared for the beautiful sanctuary with furnishings from Kibbutz Lavie in Israel. Both the men’s and women’s sections are large and comfortable. The bimah has ramps on both sides so that wheelchair-bound men can still get an aliyah to the Torah (my husband got the aliyah before Az Yashir on the seventh day of Pesach).

 

Rabbi Amar runs the shul and all religious services. He makes it his business to know everyone residing at Sephardic and he sees to it that anyone who wishes is brought to services. He davens and reads the Torah in his beautiful voice and gives divrei Torah that are appreciated by all. Rabbi and Mrs. Amar go to great lengths to see to the smallest details and they give everyone a sense of being needed.

 

So there we were for Pesach. Rabbi Amar led the two sedorim and gave special meaning to all the rituals. Everything was very festive and beautiful. By that time we already had friends who were also patients there. We sat with Helen and Sam Sherman and they felt more like family than friends. Suddenly I realized I didn’t feel sorry for myself anymore.

 

By the last days of Pesach I didn’t think I could be more impressed than I already was, but then again, I had never experienced a Yizkor service at Sephardic. Rabbi Amar went over to every man and woman and said the Yizkor prayer for their mothers and fathers. Yes, it took some time, but old and younger alike felt the satisfaction of knowing their loved ones had not been forgotten.

 

Meanwhile, the weather had turned spring-like and we went out to the beautiful garden in the afternoon. We got seats under an umbrella and it was easy to forget our circumstances and imagine we were in the garden of a resort hotel.

 

What made it possible for me to spend Pesach with my husband? The wonderful Bikur Cholim of Bensonhurst, which maintains an apartment for women and a second one for men, just down the block from Sephardic. The apartments are beautifully furnished with three bedrooms in each and a living room and kitchen. (The family that takes care of the apartments tries to accommodate everyone and can be contacted at 718-234-1067.)

 

My husband is slowly regaining his health and we are both very grateful to everyone at Sephardic and at Bikur Cholim of Bensonhurst. Most of all we give thanks to Hashem for putting us in the hands of such wonderful shlichim (messengers).

A Tale Of Two Cities

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

   In one week I had the privilege of speaking to two very different well-spouse support groups. One group was in a big city with a large religious population and a well-organized Bikur Cholim whose volunteers took care of those in the community who were sick. The other was in a much smaller city with few religious Jews and no Bikur Cholim or any other Jewish religious community support. The topic we were discussing was what community supports a family needed when one of its members was hospitalized.  



    In the larger city, a well spouse told me that when her husband had been in a rehabilitation hospital that had no kosher food available to its patients, there were volunteers in the community who made meals and others volunteers who picked up these meals and delivered them to the hospital. Not only did they send a meal for the husband who was hospitalized, but also to her delight and amazement she discovered they sent two meals, so that she too would have a kosher meal.

 

     She told the group how wonderful it was not to have to worry about bringing food for her husband every day. “Of course I could have picked something up at the kosher restaurant, but now I didn’t have to make that extra stop on my way to the hospital. But the best part was that I didn’t have to think about food at all. It was one less thing on my mind. When you’re so worried about everything, one less thing to think about makes such a difference to your ability to cope. Well it really did for me!”  


    As we discussed the issue of hospital specific needs, many in the group shared how the Bikur Cholim’s policy of sending food for two ensured that the well spouse stayed healthy as well. Many in the support group commented that when they were dealing with a spouse’s hospital stay, their own meals often consisted of a bowl of cereal or nothing.

 

    And, if there were children or elderly parents at home − healthful meals were few and far between. No one was surprised that colds and worse often accompanied the “well” family of a family member’s extended stay in the hospital. 

 

      However, it was not the physical wellbeing alone that the group appreciated. Most of the well spouses talked about what it felt like to be thought of, cared for, to have someone or some organization like Bikur Cholim lend support when you are in crisis.

 

    They told me it simply helped them keep going. It helped them cope better, deal with their spouses and family more positively and, in general, helped them get through the crisis more intact. It is amazing what two bowls of hot soup, a salad and some crackers delivered to a hospital can do.  


     A few days later I met the other group. Their city had no support system in place and no kosher restaurants.  Few of the well spouses in this group had ever received that kind of big city support when their spouses where placed in a hospital. Their experience was just the opposite. There was the constant difficulty of providing kosher food for their sick spouses, which they would have to prepare themselves − three times a day − for the length of the convalescence, which could be months.

 

     Then they would have to cope with the emotional fatigue that accompanies feelings of being alone and abandoned – the constant companion of the well spouse – invisibility. One woman related what happened when someone had finally thought to bring a treat for her husband to the hospital. When her husband refused it, they just took it home, never even thinking to offer it to her or her children, though his family was standing right there.  


     As we discussed this, many of the well spouses wondered if the size of the community was the cause. Larger cities have more of a pool of volunteers to draw from and so it is easier to fill these needs. In this city, there were a limited number of people who kept kosher. However, at that point, one group member questioned if the need was not in proportion to the community. 

 

    “How many people do we have in the hospital at one time in this community that eat kosher? One or two at most. Do we really need a whole organization to meet this need? Someone’s dinner leftovers could make a good supper for someone hospitalized, and may even be enough for the visiting spouse.  A large pot of soup poured into individual containers and frozen could be defrosted to provide lunches if sent with crackers and fruit.”  


     As the group talked, they began to organize themselves.  They decided that all they needed was seven families that were willing to adopt a person or two in the hospital one day a week (when there was someone admitted, which really wasn’t that often). This family would just add enough for two more meals to their supper menu and take that day to visit the ill person and deliver the meals. Someone else offered to always have a variety of soups in her freezer in individual containers that could be delivered for lunch. In this way the sick person was ensured a visit and kosher meals every day, and the physical and emotional need of the well spouse would be met as well. 


     It is not the size of the group but the desire to help that makes the difference. The impact of a simple act of chesed in a time of need, the consequences of one person’s willingness to help, may do more good than you ever imagined.

 


You can contact me at annnovick@hotmail.com.

A Guide To Visiting The Sick

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

 They have how-to literature on just about every subject and fortunately one has come out on visiting people who need to recover from an illness. Entitled, Good Company – Facts and Fictions About Bikur Cholim, the publication is from the Rabbi Isaac N. Trainin Bikur Cholim Coordinating Council, a program of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS).

 Utilizing a comic book format, Good Company dispenses practical information on how to make a Bikur Cholim visit effective and compassionate. Rather than just walking into a hospital room and not knowing what to say or saying too much, this publication offers the wish that “we fulfill this mitzvah with thoughtful consideration, and therefore bring light and healing to the world.”

 When I read the section that calls on visitors to “respect the dignity of the person who is ill” and to “knock before entering” and to ask permission if they want a visit, I am reminded of a time when I did none of the above. I was working in a nursing home and a colleague and I were going from room to room doing comedy routines in an attempt to cheer up the residents. We had a modicum of success doing slapstick including my colleague taking a 6-foot piece of wood and pretending to use it as a toothpick to get some salami out from between his teeth.

 One room we walked into (without a knock and without asking if our comedy was welcome) had four men lying on their respective beds. We got into our performance without much of a response from the first three patients in the room. We moved to the last bed to try and entertain the fourth man who had his back to us. Perhaps because we were being ignored, we raised our volume. I’ll never forget how the man calmly turned around and I saw an unshaven face with a look of incredulity as he squinted his eyes and tried to make some sense of what he was seeing. He said in an annoyed tone, “Do I come into your house and do this!” And then he turned his back to us again and tried to go back to sleep. Bravo to him for saying the absolute right thing.

 “Good Company” offers a lot of seemingly small, but very important practical tips. For example, it notes, “Be respectful of your body language. For example, sit at eye level if possible.”

 A few months ago I was visiting a man who cannot get out of bed. I was telling him a D’var Torah, standing over him at bedside. A friend who went with me on the visit pulled a chair over and motioned for me to sit down, indicating that the man in bed was having difficulty focusing on me in a standing position.

 There are many other food-for-thought guidelines for visiting in the publication including to “look around the room for clues for conversation,” “bring news from the outside to lessen feelings of isolation,”  “send a letter, card or call if you can’t visit in person,” “show up when you say you will” and to “thank the person for letting you visit.”

 When you can express genuine gratitude at the end of the visit, it tells the other person that being there was not a burden and was, in fact, a positive experience.

 The publication, in comic book style, insightfully describes a number of “fiction” and “fact” issues about bikur cholim visits. For example, one “fiction” listed is “Bikur cholim is only for outgoing people,” followed by the “fact” that “sometimes it’s your presence more than your words that makes you good company.”

 The Rabbi Isaac N. Trainin Bikur Cholim Coordinating Council is a year-round organization that offers an educational annual conference every November. Also offered: a short documentary film, “Turn to Me,” on bikur cholim; an interactive training video with the booklet, “The Act of Visiting;” a website with tools and tips on visiting, and on-site training workshops in the community.

 I led a workshop at the most recent November 9 Bikur Cholim annual conference on the topic of having meaningful interactions with people with Alzheimer’s, dementia and age-related memory loss.

 For more information on the Rabbi Isaac N. Trainin Bikur Cholim Coordinating Council, including information on the “Good Company” comic book, contact Robin Schoenfeld, LMSW, 212/399-2685, ext. 212 or e-mail at bikurcholimcc@jbfcs.org.

There is a bed-bound man who is not very verbal, but enjoys visitors on Shabbos and other days. He enjoys hearing a D’var Torah and visitors can read to him from seforim at his home. He is very bright and has one of the most sincere smiles of gratitude I have ever seen. He lives in Midwood, Brooklyn. If anyone wants more information on how to visit him, contact me at pr2hope@aol.com.

 A Daf Yomi shiur open to the community is given at Scharf’s Ateret Avot Senior Residence, 1410 E. 10th Street, Midwood, Brooklyn. It meets at 2:30 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 11:15 a.m. on Friday. Call 718/998-5400 for more information.

 There is a Mah-jongg class that meets at the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, 78-02 Bay Parkway, on Thursdays from Noon to 2:45 p.m. For more information on this free group for people 60 or over, call Diane or Lisa at 718/943-6311.

 Concluding thought: On days of inclement weather, before going to a food store, it’s an act of chesed to ask neighbors that have difficulty in getting out in such weather if they need juice, milk or other items.

Sh’mor Al Nafshecha – Watch Over Your Life

Friday, May 2nd, 2003

The Torah admonishes each Jew to ‘take care of yourself,’ to do what’s necessary to stay alive and well. Obviously this means to do life enhancing actions like eating and sleeping properly, taking precautions like putting on a seat belt when in a car, and not taking unnecessary risks, like jaywalking across a busy street or walking on a ledge 40 stories high. Most importantly, one needs to get medical attention when sick or injured.

Having said that, when going to a doctor, especially for a more serious illness or injury, or if you are hospitalized – it is a necessity to educate yourself, to the best of your ability, about your particular illness. Unfortunately, the hefkerut that I wrote about in my previous column – the casual, apathetic attitude towards service that is so rampant in today’s consumer society – has infiltrated the health (as well as legal) professions. It is incumbent on every person to guard his life.

In some instances, hefkerut is the result of being in the care of a “kidult” - a doctor, nurse, lab technician, whose immature personality – not intelligence - prevents him from being competent and meticulous. Kidults tend to be arrogant and have feelings of superiority (to mask their
feelings of inferiority, and a need to be in control). Doctors who are “kidults” may be educationally brilliant, but their conceit may stop them from consulting with other doctors who could give them a valuable insight into your medical situation.

“Kidults” tend to be narcissistic – they are focused on themselves, and may not bother to go that “extra mile” to make sure their orders have been carried out, or look into the medical literature regarding your particular disease. And because of overt pride, or narcissistic self-love that precludes being able to be thoughtful, caring and compassionate, or because of the need to be in complete control, or because the insatiable desire to be admired and praised, your medical care may be seriously compromised.

Some professional hefkerut is unavoidable – because of understaffing, your doctor or nurse may be juggling so many other patients that you somehow fall into the cracks and crucial diagnostic tests were never ordered, the results went un-noticed, a medication was not given, or proper follow-up not done. I personally know people who have experienced such mistakes, and I’m sure my readers do as well. Whatever the reason – incompetence, a lack of care, or genuine error - the life threatening outcome is the same.

When you’re on an airplane with 100 other passengers, you can be pretty confident that the pilot is focused on just this one flight. He will make sure that all the necessary buttons are pushed and all the right levers are pulled and the correct weather and geographical maps are looked at. He is focused on the one job and has no distractions from the task of getting his 100 passengers to their mutual destination.

Let’s say, however, that each passenger was in his/ her own capsule and that the pilot was flying each of these capsules by remote control from his office. Each of the mini-planes carrying just the individual is going somewhere else. Some of them have a long distance ride, some are going for a short haul, all are headed in various directions. Some of the destinations
are more complicated to get to, some quite easy. The pilot has to keep an eye on dozens of capsules at the same time.

I would imagine that before you boarded your individual flight capsule, you would make it your business to know as much as you could about where you were headed, the workings of the airplane, what levers need to be pulled, and when. Thus, when on your journey, you could see if your pilot was doing what he was supposed to be doing, and you could ask him questions about the route and remind him about certain procedures.

A doctor is like a pilot trying to make sure dozens of his “passengers” who are travelling in their unique “capsules” arrive safely to their destinations. However, due to the logistics of monitoring dozens of people, entailing the remembering of hundreds of details to ensure a successful “journey to recovery,” or due to sheer hefkerut, mistakes or omissions happen.

To protect you or a loved one who is ill from medical mishaps – all the more tragic because they were avoidable - try to learn as much as you can about the particular problem so that you can ask your doctor astute questions. When medical personnel see that they are not dealing with an am ha’aretz, but with someone who has a decent grasp of the situation, they will more likely be more conscientious.

You can educate yourself by going on the internet - typing in the name of the problem, for example, diabetes, on a search engine such as www.google.com. You will get a whole menu of related topics to look at, such as symptoms of the disease, diets for diabetics, support groups where you can exchange information and experiences, resources for finding out who is
tops in this specific field, etc. There is a wealth of information, written in language the average non-medical person can understand, for you to peruse and educate yourself with.

Another helpful thing to do is to enlist the aid of a relative, friend or neighbor who is a physician and with whom you have a close relationship, and ask him/her to be the family spokesperson. If the doctor in charge knows that another doctor is monitoring the situation, that will also be a good motivator for his being extra meticulous about the patient’s care.

Another tactic is to ‘humanize’ the patient.

My mother (Leah bat Zisel) is currently in the intensive care unit of a Toronto hospital and we have photos on her IV pole and bedpost of her rejoicing at family weddings. In these photos, she looks even more radiant and beautiful than usual. We want the medical staff to see who she really is, and not view her as just a sickly old person. No doubt that looking at family pictures also gives chizuk to the patients to recover and return to their lives.

I can’t emphasize how important it is for there to be a steady stream of visitors to the patient. When the nurses, technicians, doctors, hospital staff see that “the stroke in bed #9″ is not just a sick body, but a person who is important to many people, that he/she has a family and friends and a community behind them, they are likely to be more attentive.

Those patients who lie alone hour after hour, day after day, are often overlooked by the overworked, understaffed or uncaring kidult medical personnel, their attitude being, no one cares about “the renal failure in bed #7″ - so why should we go out of our way?

Know that the value of chesed of the selfless members of Bikur Cholim cannot be measured on this earth – that on Yom Ha’din, the merit of those who visit the sick will reach up to Hashem’s throne itself.

Take an active stance on your care or your loved ones as much as possible - don’t be a passive participant. Ask the nurse what medications are being administered and when, so that you can check if the dose was given on time. Ask what the beeping noises are, what looks like a normal drip - lots of drops or very slow ones; what the numbers mean on the screen – what is normal and what isn’t, so if there is a change, you can alert the nurse.

Don’t be afraid to ask – the squeaky wheel gets the oil. And if the doctor is not reasonably accessible – then consider getting another doctor to take over - one who will address your concerns instead of resenting them and putting you on the defensive.

And without question the best course of action – daven to the Ultimate Healer for a refuah sheleima for you, your beloved one, for Klal Yisrael and for Moshiach to come speedily and remove all our tzoros. Amen.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/shmor-al-nafshecha-watch-over-your-life/2003/05/02/

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