Rules! Usually beneficial but sometimes to the disadvantage of those they are attempting to help. Overriding them. Impossible! Impossible unless a caring, creative entity comes on the scene.
A family in Tzefas – all corona patients. During their illness, the small daughter suffered third-degree burns. She was hospitalized and her condition was serious and worsening. The child? Alone in a strange, frightening environment without the emotional support of Mommy. The parents? Terrified and unable to visit their precious daughter. The emotional torment was agonizing. They knew that a mother’s touch was a powerful medication to recovery. Yet there were those normally beneficial but now so frustrating rules. They called Ezer Mizion, “There’s probably nothing you can do but we don’t know where else to turn …”
Moshe Leon, the Mayor of Jerusalem whose vaccination has reached the effective stage, expressed his interest in seeing the work of the staff in Hadassah Hospital from up close. The staff was at that time tremendously overloaded caring for more than 130 Corona patients, most of them serious and complex cases and some of them in critical condition, on mechanical ventilation.
They came regularly with a burning desire to help, almost never missing their scheduled day. It was not honor that pushed them to don hot, uncomfortable ‘spacesuits’ and go from bed to bed dispensing compassion that would bring a rare smile to the face of their patients. For some it was dialing the phone number of a family member so that they could hear the voice of a loved one. For others a drink when they had lain there for hours unable to procure a glass of water or perhaps it was a delivery of goodies baked especially for the patient by a loving daughter. Or silently holding the hand of a patient on a ventilator. And for too many, it was saying Shma and Vidui as their neshomos ascended with no family member able to be there.
It was not honor that drove these dedicated Ezer Mizion volunteers but now, as the situation eases, it was others who felt a powerful desire to honor them, to acknowledge the impact of the Ezer Mizion volunteers on the national disaster.
Rabbi Chollak , Founder of Ezer Mizion together with the Ezer Mizion senior staff members and branch directors were invited to the Knesset for a ceremony and national recognition with MK Moshe Gafni chairman of the Knesset’s financial committee. Yisrael Yeret, director of the Ezer Mizion Jerusalem branch and Moshe Hillel the activity coordinator were honored with a certificate for their selfless devotion, caring and professionalism during the Covid crisis, assisting all those in need throughout the pandemic.
Another prestigious ceremony was held at the Asaf Harofeh hospital in Beer Yaakov. During the thick of corona, Ezer Mizion worked alongside hospitals across the country recruiting and training people that had recovered from covid to assist in the corona wards with whatever necessary to ease the workload of the nurses and medical staff. Even such basics as feeding patients and bringing drinks could not be handled by the overloaded staff. The Ezer Mizion volunteers literally saved lives.
Corona Innovation: Ezer Mizion will be providing nursing caregivers for elderly quarantined and corona patients.Caregivers either immunized or recovered from corona will be trained by Ezer Mizion to be able to provide a treatment response for elderly quarantined patients whose needs are unmet during this time due to safety restrictions.
Avichayil is a science teacher but her real expertise lies in math. Avichayil knows – really knows – that subtraction is the best way to add. She lives quite far from Hadassah hospital and her twice weekly traveling to volunteer in the corona ward subtracts many hours from her schedule but adds so much to her life.
“I live alone. All of my children live out of town. The volunteering does a lot of good for the person who does it. It fills you; it’s so important to give of yourself to others. There is no lack of whom to give to nowadays. My children also volunteer, to the extent that they can, and my parents, too, used to volunteer in the past. They taught me all my life to look for how I can make the day brighter for someone else. That’s what I was taught and that is how I train my children and my students, too.”
Avichayil was one of the first corona patients. When she was well, she spotted an Ezer Mizion ad looking for volunteers in the corona ward. .She has been volunteering devotedly over the past few months, coming to every Corona ward or room where help is needed, even on Shabbos and Yom Tov (Sabbath and Holidays): “Suddenly, I’m on the side of the caregiver and it’s amazing! After all, I understand what the patients are going through. I know the feeling when family is not always present nearby and I’m familiar with the loneliness. I have experience: I, too, had the virus. She is now able to say to her patients, “ I was here in this very ward.” It gives them hope.
One of the 50 Ezer Mizion volunteers in the ward, Avichayil dons the hot and clumsy ‘spacesuit’ twice a week. The ‘corona alumni’ volunteers have become a vital part of the hospital community Due to the tremendous overload weighing on the caregiving staff, help was needed to provide an adequate human response, a listening ear, and aid in things like serving a cup of coffee or a drink of water, helping patients eat, and other simple everyday actions. She and the other former corona patients become the listening ear for the patient suffering from loneliness. “It means so much to them,’ she says’ for someone to be there to give them a sip of coffee, to recharge a phone so they can talk to a family member. We’re the liaison between the patient and family. A message from a daughter will light up a wan, discouraged face. . “I am part of a wonderful project. We fill the vacuum with real love. The patients become part of our own families and we become part of theirs!”
It’s 3:00 AM. Dark outside. The world is asleep. The shrill tone of a phone wakes him up. “Hello,” he answers groggily, unsure if the phone was part of his dream or not. “He can’t breathe! I’m so scared! The doctor says he needs an oxygen concentrator! Please, oh please help us!” Gone was the grogginess. In its place was concern and professionalism. The right questions were asked and answered. A trained volunteer was immediately dispatched with the machine and the Ezer Mizion director returned to his dreams…for a few minutes. Three (!) more calls from frightened families in Israel. One after the other, after the other. Three more concentrators set up. In the space of one dark, frightening hour, four corona patients who were able to safely remain at home. Four corona patients now in good health.
It’s 30 minutes before Shabbos candle lighting time. An Ezer Mizion staff head calls in. A concentrator is needed asap. A volunteer races to the branch to pick one up, races to the family, sets it up and explains its use as if there was all the time in the world, then resumes his race to shul (synagogue), sliding into his seat only a few minutes later than usual. L’cha dodi…
A patient no longer needs hospitalization. He is so anxious to leave. But even though hospitalization is no longer needed, respiratory assistance is. An oxygen concentrator would be the answer. Is there one available? Yes there is! Thanks to all of you out there who contributed so generously, many patients, under advice and guidance from their physicians, are able to continue their recuperation away from the hospital setting.
She could have been living down the block from us but no one knew. She was a victim of terror with psychological wounds that never healed. Physically she was not in good shape either. She had been diagnosed in February with a severe lung infection and was extremely weak. Alone in Israel and helpless, she turned to the only address she knew. And that was how an Ezer Mizion director found a heartrending email in her inbox. Continue reading When Words and Tomatoes Join Together to Create One Big Hug
Maccabi Health Services known as Kupat Cholim Maccabi, is one of the four HMOs in Israel with over 2 million members and is considered an influential institution in regards to the Israeli healthcare system. Maccabi members benefit from diverse health services but there are many, many instances where help is needed. As Maccabi staff members can testify, Ezer Mizion is the address to turn to. Ezer Mizion’s goal: to be there for others. Their means: a professional, extensive network willing to think out of box in order to benefit the ill. Time and time again, when standard routine would not allow for the patient’s receiving what he needs, a call was made to the number they all knew by heart and the walls came tumbling down. Continue reading Maccabi Salutes Ezer Mizion