This blog post is taking somewhat longer to formulate than previous posts as a result of the temporary loss of use of my right hand due to the shoulder surgery that I finally underwent about half a year after injuring myself in training. On 17th January, I arrived to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem at 6:45am with my aunt in the pouring rain. After being signed in and receiving a hospital gown, shower cap type head covering, disposable socks and my personal favourite, the disposable underwear, I sat waiting to be taken off to the operating room. Before long, someone came along and drew a giant arrow on my right shoulder so that the surgeons would operate in the right place! After speaking to many different hospital staff from surgeons to nurses to porters, we were told the person who was supposed to enter before me was delayed so I was going into surgery next. Before I knew it, I was whisked off to the operating room where the surgeons were waiting for me. Within moments of the nurse putting the cannula into my arm and injecting the general anaesthetic, all my fears and anxiety of the anaesthetic not working were allayed as I felt my head spin into a deep state of unconsciousness.
The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room with an intense pain coming from my shoulder as well as an incredibly sore throat. After a confusing few hours of lying in bed not really sure what was going on or who was talking to me, I was discharged from the hospital and after finding a cafe in the hospital, I travelled to the home of my Aunt, Uncle and Grandma in Jerusalem. The next few days I stayed in Jerusalem recovering from the surgery. The shoulder pain was excruciating and made worse by the other parts they forget to mention before you have surgery. I’m referring to the headaches and the overwhelming nausea and the sore throat and the inability to sleep and the dizziness and everything else that is attached. Despite being sent off with pain medication, nothing seemed to work including the Percocet, which apparently is the strongest they could give me. Eventually nearly a week after the operation, I went home to my kibbutz, where I have been since. In the past few days I have noticed a definite overall improvement in the shoulder pain and the nausea and dizziness have completely gone, which I am very relieved about. Although there are days still when the pain is unbearable, and I still haven’t been able to sleep a full night without waking up every hour or two hours from the pain since the surgery, overall there is an improvement. I also began physiotherapy this week, which I must go to three times a week for the next few weeks. Just yesterday, I had the stitches removed from the three stitched up holes, which felt very strange but not particularly painful.
I am really appreciative of everyone who hastaken the time to come and visit me at home, offered to help in any way or even just sent me messages to check how I am feeling. I don’t find it so easy to accept help from people so it may seem like I am being ungrateful but I really do appreciate it. People ask me if I am bored being off the army but honestly I have not found myself yet with nothing to do.There are always people around to hang out with and running from appointment to appointment, I have never been at a loss of finding something to do. Next week I have a meeting where they will hopefully tell me what will happen to my medical profile and when I will be returning to the army. In theory I am being released from the army in June after returning from my recovery time in April.
However, the original plan was to sign on more time and finish either in December or even later than that. If they lower my medical profile, I won’t be able to continue incombat and I will have to find another job in the army or else they will place me somewhere boring in an office, which is certainly not what I want.
In other news, with all this free time I have found myself with recently, along with purchasing and beginning to teach myself to play the ukelele (probably not helping the recovery of my arm) I have begun the process of making Aliyah through the organisation Nefesh B’Nefesh so hopefully within the next few months I should receive my Israeli citizenship, which is very exciting!
For now despite the pain and frustration at not being able to carry out basic tasks just as tying up my own hair or needing help to get dressed, I am enjoying watching the cold weather being chased away by the sun and it has even been warm enough to sit outside for a few hours during the day. Tomorrow I am heading back to Jerusalem to have another session of physiotherapy where I will continue with exercises such as basic exercises to move the shoulder joint because at the moment even lifting it slightly in certain directions sends shooting pains like electric shocks through my arm whilst. I have made up my mind that I am going to really commit myself to the physiotherapy exercises in order to avoid ending up in a position where my shoulder will be permanently damaged because I didn’t treat it correctly during recovery.
Please get in touch with me, I’d love to hear how you’re getting on!
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Missing everyone back at home in England, please let me know if you’re planning a trip to Israel as I’d absolutely love to see you.
Ronit Prais – רונית פרייס