Ezer Mizion, the Caller ID reads.
“Are you available to drive a patient to the hospital today at four?” Eli’s forehead wrinkles in thought and he makes the calculations. “I’ll take it.”
His cell phone vibrates. “This is Dr. Kluger’s secretary,” You have an appointment in another two weeks but a slot became available today at four. Interested?”
Yes, very interested. His foot has been waiting for over a month to be seen by the overbooked, expert orthopedist. True, it’s nothing critical but the nagging pain… Perhaps he should cancel the volunteer trip? Just this once…
“No,” he heard himself say. “I’m booked this afternoon.”
A soldier in the Ezer Mizion army does not go AWOL.
At 3:55 he leaves. His foot seems to be bothering him so much than before. The thought that he could have resolved his ongoing pain pulses through his mind.
The passengers are deeply engrossed in saying Tehillim and he silently joins their pleading murmurs. He almost forgets about his aching foot and the appointment that almost was. The passengers are frightfully tense. They burst out of the car and rush in.
He adds another chapter of Tehillim to the anonymous passengers’ pool of prayers, and is about to begin the long ride back . At that precise moment, a call comes in from his elderly mother.
“Eli,” his mother sobs hysterically. “Go to Tel Hashomer. Fast!” “Abba fell. He is in terrible pain. A neighbor called me at work. Nobody went to the hospital with Abba,” she groans. “Abba needs you. Now.”
To Ima’s disbelief, he assures her that he is already at the entrance. “An ambulance just pulled up,” he updates his frightened mother. A tremulous smile breaks out on the pained face of the elderly man on the stretcher. His son is here. Now everything will be all right.
Two terrified, elderly parents at peace now because a soldier in the Ezer Mizion army does not go AWOL.
“Ezer Mizion calling. Will you be available to take an elderly woman to the hospital?”
“No,” his rational mind silently answered. He had plans for the day.
“Yes,” his compassionate heart responded aloud. His plans would have to wait.
He stopped at the entrance to the hospital and waited but his patient did not emerge from the car. Frightened. Her voice trembling, “They don’t pay any attention to a sick old lady” she whispered. “I never know what to say.” The devoted volunteer discerned her unspoken request and offered his services as her escort.
It was just as she feared. Their attitude was rough and humiliating, arrogant and derisive. She approached the receptionist’s desk to let her know that she had arrived. “Sit down, Grandma,” the receptionist roared at her. “When it’s your turn, you’ll hear about it.” At this point, the “escort” came to her assistance, speaking authoritatively. The attitude towards her changed sharply. She suddenly wasn’t just another “old lady,” come to spend the rest of her days sitting in clinic waiting rooms.
Their turn at the receptionist arrived. The woman rummaged through her pocketbook and was horrified to see that she’d left her form at home. “On the end-table in the living room, under my glasses,” she wrung her hands in disbelief.
The volunteer took her house key in hand, and rushed back to Elad. Then back to the clinic. Again at the side of “his” patient for the duration. Five hours later, he opened his front door.
An elderly person with frightening case of muscular dystrophy asks for a ride to the clinic. A relationship develops and he becomes the volunteer’s “adopted” grandfather. Efficiently and energetically, the volunteer arranges complicated bureaucratic business and submits requests to the authorities. His trips to the grocery take longer because of all the items he buys for the old man – unfamiliar packages appropriate for his strict diet. Making appointments for doctors, second opinions, and tests have become a regular part of his “to do” list these days, and food for Shabbat is on his wife’s list –unfamiliar recipes adapted to “Zeidy’s” health needs.
Ezer Mizion transportation troops armed with an arsenal of solicitude and sensitivity.
Ezer Mizion, the Caller ID reads.