The S.T.U.C.K. Method

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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Stuck on Gratitude in the Hospital

er roomI got suddenly sick during our family visit to the States two days ago.

Which is where I’m writing this post from this very moment.

In a room on the intensive care unit at Virtua Hospital.

So forgive this post ahead of time. It may not flow very coherently.

****

Last week, my family and I flew from Israel to the States to visit family and friends, as well as to celebrate with them our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah at Congregation Beth El.

Just like the rest of the week, I woke up on Saturday feeling totally fine.

Nothing at all unusual.

Yet, at the end of the prayer service and the festive meal with our honored guests, I started to feel crampy in my belly.

I mentioned it to some friends who suggested it was only nerves.

Then, I started to feel light-headed and felt like I was going to faint.

I wrapped myself in my brother’s jacket and took a seat at a table.

I sipped some tea.

Minutes later, I was back home screaming my lungs out as if I were in labor.

Which I wasn’t.

But, that’s the best way to describe the pain.

Believe me, I’ve got experience with that – 4 times – and I remember the pain all too well.

The pain in my belly was so diffuse that I – the non-doctor – ruled out anything localized – like appendicitis, gall bladder, pancreas, etc.

I threw up and had plenty of diarrhea.  I figured it was just a bad bug.  But, when the pain didn’t lessen the following day, I asked my husband to take me to the hospital.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst labor pain ever), I responded to the registrar that my pain I was at like an 8 or a 9.

While waiting for the anti-meds to kick in and breathing ferociously like I was about to have a baby, all I could think about how this medical mishap was going to screw up everything for my family.

My family who was looking forward to upcoming week’s daytrips:

On Sunday, a visit to my brother and sister-in-law and their new home out in rural Pennsylvania – where I still have yet to make a visit.

Monday, a fun day at Diggerland, South Jersey’s newest attraction for kids.

Tuesday, a day at Sesame Place.

Wednesday, a day at the Phillies baseball game.

And, on Thursday,preps to go down to Ocean City, for our yearly family extended weekend vacation.

****

You see, when my white blood count came back as abnormally high on Sunday night – a 25 – as opposed to the usual random range of 4-12 there was a cause for concern.  But, the radiologist had no conclusive thoughts on the reading of the CT scan.  “Remarkedly puzzled” is what he wrote.

Fabulous.

****

One of the subjects of my daughter’s speech at her Bat Mitzvah was on gratitude.

So, as I stopped being obsessive with how many days this medical issue was going to cause me being away from and enjoying my family, I started to realize what instead I could be grateful for.

Grateful that the onset of the intense pain started around noon of the Bat Mitzvah day, and not 2 hours earlier while we would have still been in the middle of services, or even two days earlier which would have caused me to miss the Bat Mitzvah entirely.

Gratitude that while the hospital still hasn’t figure out what is causing my abdominal pain and why my WBC is abnormally high, they did start to rule out some of the other big options.

Gratitude for the Godsend, Dr. Bill Morowitz and all the other angels working along side him including: nurses Beth, Grace, Doug, and Amy, Dr. Malamud, Dr. Zaretsky, Dr. Weng, the radiologist (I missed his name), Dr. Alimam and lab tech Shannen.  I’m missing others, but believe me, the list of thanks is long.

Gratitude for the staff’s confidence and responsible nature, their mindful listening, and their warm care, concern and compassion.

Gratitude for this amazingly beautiful hospital where I feel like I’m staying at a 5 star hotel.

Gratitude for the size of my room, which is certainly larger than the size of my living room back home.

It’s now about 9 pm and I’m staying another night.

I’m grateful to my family and friends who I may have scheduled to catch up with over these next few days and who will understand that chances are, it ain’t gonna happen.

And gratitude to G-d for allowing these sequence of events to occur, all at the right time and place.

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STUCK on a Love Circle

I was invited to a musical circle for “love and peace” a few nights ago.

This was the tri-lingual invite:

love circle

I’ve yet to go to one of these circles.

But, I hear they’re wonderful.

Powerful.

People of all faiths gathering to sing songs together.

Of peace.

And love.

And hope.

Which I’m all for.

First of all, I love singing.

In fact, my name, Shira means song.

And, I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember.

Secondly, I’m certainly pro-love and peace.

Who isn’t?

So, for me this was a no-brainer.

Yet, when I invited one of my best friends to this event, she responded with a roll of her eyes and a comment that went something like,

“You’re honestly not going to that circle, are you?  You know what you’re supporting when you go to those circles, right?”

“Huh?” I responded.

“You know.  Left-wingers.  That sing about love and peace, but they’re so naive.  All they’re really doing is apologizing for our existence which is leading to giving up land to the Palestinians which is what will make Israel disappear one day.”

“Are you kidding? That’s not what this is about,” I responded.  “This has nothing to do with politics.”

“Oh, yeah?  So, go.  See for yourself.”

But, she left a bitter taste in my mouth.

And, I decided not to.

Instead, I went to a community gathering to break the fast of Tisha B’av (the saddest day in the Jewish calendar commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem), in which there was supposed to be singing anyway.

And I felt complete with my decision until the next morning, when I heard from another friend, “I went and it was amazing! I stayed til the bitter end. 11:30 pm. It was just what I needed!”

Bummer!

(For me!)

And, I got stuck.

On missing that love circle.

And stuck on my friend’s negative reaction?

Why didn’t she just say something like, “‘Ok, go for it.  When you get back, tell me what you thought about it.”

Why did she have to respond so curtly?

So harshly.

With such antagonism?

So, I “s” stopped.

“T” told myself how I’m feeling.  Frustrated and disappointed with my friend, but curious at the same time.

Checked in with what my be underneath my friend’s reaction. “U”.

The current war.

The broken ceased fire that cost more Israeli soldiers’ lives.

Anti-Semitic reactions from cities and countries around the world including: France, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Florida, Australia and more.

Suicide bombers.

Kidnappers.

Forced decision to leave Gaza almost ten years ago.

Rockets from Lebanon.

More suicide bombers.

Bus bombings.

The Yom Kippur war.

The 1967 War.

The Independence War.

The Holocaust.

Her family that survived the Holocaust.

The Russian Progroms.

The Expulsion from Spain.

I could go on and on.

And further back.

Until the time of the Bible.

I get it.

I understand her frame of reference.

She (and I) have lots of history to deal with.

Lots of anti-Semitism.

Tons of it.

Lots of having to prove our right to existence to the world.

So, when I arrived at “C” – choosing to change perspective, it was quite easy for me.

I realized my friend is suspicious of any activity or initiative that attempts to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Because, to date, nothing has worked.

And, I can see why she’s dubious about these “love and peace circles”.

And why she calls me naive if I think these loves circles are anything but political.

“You know what?” she said.  “Go.  Go pray for love and peace.  But, you’ve got to prepare for war at the same time.”

And, you know what?

After taking a breath and having an open-hearted discussion with her, I’m realizing that she may be right.

She absolutely may be.

But still, next time, I’m going to go.

Just to check it out.

Perhaps I’ll leave after five minutes because I’ll feel uncomfortable with the political undertones.

Or, perhaps not.

Either way, I’ll give it a try.

If for no other reason, because I just want to sing.

Out loud.

With others.

Words of Peace.

And Love.


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STUCK on Wondering What are the Effects of this War on my Kids?

Last night, I drove my 9 year-old son to the airport.

The truth is, we don’t do that much driving outside the Jezreel Valley municipality on a regular basis.

So, I wasn’t surprised that my son was being attentive, looking out the window, commenting on things that he’s never seen before.

Yet, I was surprised with his persistent questions regarding the current war.

“Ema, where’s the airport located?”

“Near Tel Aviv.”

“Wait a minute.  Aren’t rockets being shot at Tel Aviv these days.”

“Yes.”

“Well, are we going to be in rocket range?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can we go another way? Like… can we avoid the rockets?”

“No.  There is no other way.”

“Ema… did you see that billboard?  It showed what to do if you hear a siren.”

“No, I missed it, what did it say?”

“It said pull your car to the side immediately.  Get out.  Walk far from your car.  Duck and cover your (and your children’s) heads.  Then, listen for further instructions.”

“Wow.”

“What? You didn’t know that? You don’t know what to do in case of an emergency like that?”

“No.  I mean, yes.  I know.  I’m just surprised you saw a billboard like that.”

“Ema, did you know that the fragments from the rockets and Iron Dome that fall from the sky are said to be more dangerous than the rockets themselves?”

“Really?  Wait a minute. How do you know that?”

“I heard it from my friends.”

“Really?  You talked about that with your friends?”

“Yeah… of course.”

1 hour later at the airport.

“Ema… see that sign? It’s pointing to the security room is.  But, where is it actually?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, should we ask? Just in case?”

“No, I think if a siren starts, we’ll hear instructions.”

And all I could think of was, “How is this war affecting my children?”

I never really considered how, or to what extent, this war (or any other war/operation) is affecting my children.

And all children.

On both sides.

Short-term.

Long-term.

Emotionally.

Socially.

Spiritually.

Philosophically.

Psychologically.

Consciously.

Unconsciously.

I have to admit, I never really thought about it.

I just kind of assumed it’s not affecting them too much.

But, it’s gotta be.

On some level.

News flash: Excavator terror attack in Jerusalem – 1 pedestrian killed, 7 injured, terrorist shot dead.

Do my kids know?

Will they?

What will they think?

Should I hide it from them?

aitanThis is what I’m stuck on today, as I witness the huge smile.

On my son’s  face.

In America.

Far away from rockets.

And sirens.

And billboards telling you what precautions to take in case a rocket is headed your way.