He was put into a cast just in case. After the family frantically coped with delays, it became clear that he had not broken any bones. He was prescribed a long chemotherapy course of Doxorubicin and Cisplatin, to be followed by Methotrexate to kill as many cancers as possible. But he suddenly developed a fever, and his white-cell count dropped dangerously. The first chemical caused painful sores in his mouth that made eating and drinking difficult. The second caused constant vomiting, bringing down the weight of the former roly-poly child, and he developed a rash all over his body.
Benita learned that Noam was mistakenly given an overdose of the chemicals, and only one doctor in the department admitted an error was made, he reports. Noam also developed an allergic reaction to a faulty, virus-infected blood infusion he was given. It took almost an hour for Hadassah doctors to give him steroids when, said the father, it would have taken a paramedic in an ambulance mere minutes.
Although the staff insisted that the infusion continue, Benita turned off the spigot and refused to allow the transfusion to continue, and eventually proving there was a problem with the blood. Finally, the doctors replaced the infusion bag with a different one. Kobi pulled a small vial of cannabis in oil from his pocket and gave it to Benita. Benita put just four drops of it on a dish of food and served it to Noam — after weeks in which Noam had hardly eaten.
He soon began to wolf down the food. Damage to the bone in his right leg was worse than thought, but after an MRI scan it was decided at Dana that an implant to hold the diseased bone together was unsuitable because additional hard tissue had to be removed; it would take another month to get a different- sized one. As preparation, back at Hadassah Noam was given a new drug, Ifosfamide, for five days while being hospitalized.
He did not react well; in intensive care, he babbled nonsense, was paralyzed from the neck down, his pupils jumped around and any time he was touched lightly, he screamed. The doctors insisted that the drug did not cause such side effects, but Benita found that it does — rarely. There he lay, all blue, with a too-fast pulse and high blood pressure, paralyzed and weighing half of the 45 kilos that he had carried four months before. Scouring the Internet for medical information, the Benitas insisted that the blue drug be halted and suggested that he be given another drug.
Their faith in God, as religious Jews, was always a support for helping them struggle on, the author writes. Back at Dana, Noam was scheduled to undergo surgery to insert the bone implant. In the recovery room, he was given an air mattress to make him more comfortable. He also cites the goodness of a teenager named Taleb who cheered Noam up by bringing a tablet PC and playing with him for hours.
Benita concludes the book with advice to parents of hospitalized children: There is no reason to be ashamed about asking questions about drugs they are being given, what the staff are doing, what side effects there may be or what will happen next. There are almost always alternative drugs, and the right one must be given.
Of course the doctor must choose, but he must give parents the information [regarding] why he chose one drug over another. He was taken by Zichron Menachem on a free trip with other cancer survivors to Holland to bolster his spirit. His parents are still fighting their fears that the tumor, God forbid, might one day return.
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Share on facebook Share on twitter. As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner. Emergency services brace for Yom Kippur. Time went by and I learned Alice was living with a man, Ed, whilst awaiting her divorce from her husband, Frank. During this time, I worked hard at improving my health. I think they pressured me into resigning as my illness made things hard. I went onto social security. Sickness benefits at first, then I was granted a disability pension. Then I had to sack my psychiatrist.
He did this three sessions in a row, so through a friend I found a new psychiatrist. I will call her Dr. She said the number one thing that people with mental illnesses can do to improve their health is to learn to cook nourishing, affordable food. We spent occasional sessions bent over, pulling weeds from her garden in the sunlight as we accepted visits from her free-range egg-laying chickens; or sometimes we would talk inside eating some of her vegetable soups on colder, less pleasant days.
Doctor Taylor got me thinking about matters spiritual and she was a Hindu. A former atheist, I converted to Christianity and studied. I found I had a knack for understanding spiritual principles, but I was aghast at what I saw in my local church. I eventually decided that Christianity was not for me.
Not because that faith lacks truth, but rather that I discovered that it was not the best model of truth for me. I found hypocrisy and lies seemed to be most commonly found on the pews of my church, and having started to look into other faiths, found an overarching truth shared by all beliefs. I decided that religion was not for me, but that faith was. Taylor I learned meditation and decided to explore Hindu and Buddhist practices and beliefs.
I did not actually become a member of those faiths, but I did learn a lot from them. I started some ascetic practices, trying to clean myself out. I became a vegetarian.
We started talking and I thought I had fallen in love with her. She told me she had fallen for me as well. So much for the spiritual disciplines. The sex was for me unprecedented in that we could keep going and going and going and going and going. But I had had to come to an understanding about her anatomy.
With Alice, I had to learn her anatomy from scratch, as it was unlike anything I had ever before seen. She asked me to promise not to tell Ed, who she said was only her housemate. I began to feel jealous. She kept two, sometimes three separate mobile cell phones. She was also always camera shy, never willing to be photographed with me.
When we became engaged, my mother took a photo of her and she dodged her head away, leaving a blur. One day, we went together to meet her parents. He seemed weird enough, but her mother scared me. I also learned that it was on one day when Alice was with her father on the bus that she met her husband, living two doors away from me. At times, when in bed together, Alice would talk in her sleep. Then one night she told me a story about her car racing career.
Neither Alice nor Barbara had spoken much detail about it. The story she told me was that she was fifteen years old and used to frequent a racetrack. It was the same racetrack at which my deceased father had spent time as part of the pit crew of a racing team. Remember what I said about coincidences regarding Alice? She said that she had to bind her breasts with tape so she cold pass as an eighteen year old man. At the time, women were excluded from racing at that track, and the minimum age was eighteen. She said his name was Richie Robin.
She said Richie took her around, and used to take her for rides in his purple hotrod, speeding like crazy all over the place. Richie was one of the younger, less experienced drivers at the track where my father volunteered as pit crew. I recalled him as he drove a rather impressive hotrod.
My father, an automotive spray-painter by trade, had painted that car himself. I recall how purple it was, and the mirror effect on the massive engine block. But I also remember the shimmer of metal flakes suspended within the paint that gave a rainbow reflection effect when sunlight struck the car. It was very hard to get the metal flakes properly distributed through the paint when it was applied to the car body, as the flakes of metal within it tended to fall and clump at the bottom. I also remember my father being angry about Richie. My father was never an angry man, and was usually very even tempered.
But this one time, I could see he was angry. It was not that long before he died, so I was probably five years old at the time he died within days of my sixth birthday. He was angry because Richie was getting around in his hotrod, speeding around with a young girl in his lap, a teenager. When I asked her for more details, I could see in the darkness for I have abnormally good low-light vision, more on that later that she was struggling for answers. Something was awry about her story. I wanted to explore that further, and my ever-increasing doubts about her fidelity as regards her housemate Ed, but at this time I started to feel odd.
One day I was outside my local supermarket and I collapsed.
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Another day I was driving just outside of the town where I lived and lost consciousness. I came to with my car flying through the air into a paddock, the barbed wire fence slicing up my windscreen. I came down onto a boulder, and after limping home in my damaged car, quit driving for a while. I saw my doctor who referred me to a neurologist. He was concerned I may have a tumour, so I underwent tests. A lot of tests. The only neurological explanation for my mental absences was, he thought, a tumour. I was gone, vacant. It transpired that I had been standing there for nearly twenty minutes.
A security guard was there with me when I came back to Earth. Whaddaya want me to do about it? I had no idea what was going on, but I felt I had to end things with Alice. I ended our engagement. Then a few months later, Alice turned up at my door begging to get back together.
I noticed that pink-orange street lamps and foggy nights made me profoundly depressed. I started seeing things that were not there, hearing voices, smelling things, feeling very cold inside. Smelly feet and a red beret with a gold pin on it. It was the exact same horror stuff that was at the beginning of my major breakdown, when my schizoaffective disorder hit me hard all those years before. So finally I ended it for the final time. I lied, telling her I had decided to enter the local Buddhist monastery I had been there a few times and found them very helpful and so she let me go.
I thought she may be more likely to let me go for that reason. I knew she would not so easily let me go otherwise. A few days later I received a message on my answering machine. It was from a police officer in a different city. The name seemed familiar.
Noam’s tortured journey
I called and the Duty Sergeant there answered. He could not find any notes left by the officer in question. I knew this to be an irregularity. If a call is made from a police station, asking that you call the station, the Duty Sergeant must be informed, or at least a note left. This was not the case. The call had felt threatening, but it deprived me of sleep that night and made me focus on things. I pondered everything I knew and after a little while that night, a thought occurred to me: I had asked her what colour was the engine, the upholstery. That was at odds with her claims about being such a freak about cars.
Further, it seemed odd to me the way she shied away from delving into any details, how quickly she acted offended at my asking, the defensive then aggressive attitude she adopted. They asked me whether I wanted him to call me back. Normally, sleeplessness would make them worse. I rang Barbara and asked her an odd set of questions. I asked her whether she remembered Richie Robin.
Earlier, I mentioned how I have abnormally good night vision. It comes at the expense of my colour vision. I see colours, and do indeed enjoy them, but my retinas have an excess of low-light sensitive rod cells. The rod cells have grown in some parts of my retina that normally would have colour-sensitive cone cells. My father had the opposite problem: He had brilliant colour vision, which he used in his spray painting career, but could not handle low light.
Now this colour blindness issue is a genetic disorder found in my Y-chromosomes. Only men can have that problem. I started talking to Barbara about it. It had been Christmas, and our mother was with a local church charity handing out food parcels to the needy. Alice volunteered there as well, in spite of it being a fairly large distance for her to travel. Mother had evidently said that her friendship with Alice had arisen astonishingly quickly. It seemed similar to how quickly had her friendship formed with Barbara, and our little affair had formed together.
So next I asked my brother to check in his local library for me the old records from the local newspaper. I recalled that Richie Robin had died in a spectacular accident that had appeared on the front page of the local newspaper. He had wrapped his hotrod around a support pylon in an underground carpark then under construction as part of a shopping centre for Americans, shopping mall development.
He found a couple of things. Firstly, Richie had died later the same year our father had. Secondly, he was only twenty-one years old at the time of his death.
A tortured journey back from F1's scrapheap
I did research at my end. The races of the type Richie and my father participated were only ever held at Easter. Richie had only ever raced in one year, and it had been that year. The legal minimum age for racers was at the time twenty-one, not eighteen as Alice had said. Basic math told me that at that time, Alice had been thirteen years old:
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