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Dec 3 2014

The Lesson of the ER & The Open Window

By at 9:49 am

open window

Our family recently lost a dear friend, and my husband and I have had to digest and process the immeasurable loss with our children. Soon after the death, my oldest daughter told me that she would never pray again. I asked her why. She said that she had prayed and prayed that our friend would heal, and God didn’t answer her. I hugged her. I tried to say the right things–that God always hears our prayers, even if God doesn’t respond the way we want; that perhaps our prayers did have some effect that we don’t understand; that there is always so much more to pray for, and we have to keep trying; that praying is good for us, it helps us feel that we are doing something, even if things turn out so differently from what we hope.

Not long after, I found myself spending the entire day in the emergency room, with severe abdominal pain. Apparently, these things happen, especially on days when one’s babysitter texts at 6 a.m. that she’s home sick with strep (which she caught from your kid). While the doctors were puzzling over my cecum, I was left lying supine, unable to see beyond the privacy curtain. Those curtains are not soundproof, though, and it’s hard not to hear the pressing experiences of the other stricken human beings in the room. I was left with no choice but to eavesdrop. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 16 2014

Thanks to His Leg Amputation, My 12-Year-Old Can Finally Run

By at 3:04 pm

Amit-on-tree

Earlier this year, Zimra Vigoda wrote on Kveller about making the excruciating decision to have her son’s leg amputated and it went viral. She’s been keeping us posted on his incredible journey and this is her latest update.

Summer came and summer went. It’s been more than four months since my son Amit’s amputation surgery at the incredible Shriners Hospital for Children in Northern California and he is still in the depth of rehabilitation.

Amit’s journey from the moment he was born until today has been extraordinary. Born with a rare orthopedic condition, we have had the fortune of connecting with many wonderful individuals and organizations all over the world in an attempt to ease his pain and live his life to the fullest. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 15 2014

I Felt Uncomfortable Around Kids With Special Needs Until I Had My Own

By at 10:54 am

Moishy-And-Daddy

I’ll be honest: I used to generally try to avoid kids with special needs if I could. Aside from the awkwardness of not knowing how to react or interact, I also failed to understand how families of kids with severe disabilities stayed sane. Feeding, dressing, washing, and changing older kids’ diapers was not my idea of a good time, and I didn’t know how they did it.

Then I had a kid of my own. We didn’t realize it when Moishy was born, but during routine testing when he was 3 months old, they told us that his head was not growing, among other issues, and further testing was necessary. This news sent us on a crazy whirlwind of doctors, hospitals, cat scans, x-rays, and more. Eventually the diagnosis was clear: Our beautiful boy had cerebral palsy and microcephaly.

I looked myself in the mirror and realized that I had to change. Now I had my very own child with special needs. Avoidance was no longer an option. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 21 2014

My Emergency C-Section Gave Me PTSD    

By at 10:34 am

C-section-instruments

My first delivery went textbook-smooth. From the time my water broke until the time I delivered my daughter was nine hours, which is under the average of 10 to 24 hours for a first labor. The one thing I hadn’t liked: To get me through the first part of labor, my doctor had ordered some Stadol, a narcotic that is supposed to “take the edge off the pain.” It made me alternately sleepy and groggy. It was only supposed to last an hour or two, but it lasted much longer, and I was totally out of it by the time my baby was born.

By the time my second child was ready to be born, I was determined to do it differently.

When I got to the hospital, I wasn’t in active labor. I was contracting now and then, but the contractions didn’t hurt. The only sign was the bloody show I’d experienced overnight. My obstetrician insisted that was enough–I’d gone so quickly last time, and I was five days overdue now, so it made a lot of sense to get me into the hospital sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 19 2014

Ever Since My Health Scare, I’m Terrified of Having Kids

By at 4:12 pm

Health-scar

I’ve always wanted to have kids, three girls to be exact. I’ve had names picked out since the age of 12 (OK, so those names have changed several times, but still, I’ve been choosing names for what seems like forever). On my 21st birthday, I remember shocking my dad with the news that having kids would come first–even before the family business.

Fast forward to now. At the age of 32 and recently married, I’m not sure I want kids anymore.

What happened? Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 18 2014

My Son Smashed His Head Open & Transformed into “King Gauze”

By at 3:09 pm

Gauze

Last spring, my son managed to smash his head into the corner of a bookcase, requiring staples. Upon returning home from urgent care, with his head wrapped in gauze, he gleefully declared that he was “King Gauze.” I seized on the moment–finally, here was my chance to get him involved in my passion: playwriting.

I belong to a playwriting group that sometimes meets at our home. Therefore, my son has known the majority of my fellow playwrights since he was born. And, as he’s gotten older, he’s wanted to stay downstairs to listen to the work being read out loud, none of which would be appropriate for his ears. He has been frustrated by this and by the fact that I won’t let him read any of my work, either.

But with the emergence of “King Gauze,” we agreed that we would write a play the next day about King Gauze in Gauzeland. And so we did. Not a whole play but three scenes. His cast of characters was enormous and grew as we continued to write. The play took place at the birth of Prince Gauze. King and Queen Gauze were being visited by the whole town, along with some weavers (only later did it occur to me that the weavers idea came from “The Emperor Has No Clothes”). My son dictated the dialogue and I showed him how we were writing stage directions and how different characters said their lines. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 14 2014

As an Oncology Nurse, My Heart Breaks For My Patients Every Day

By at 4:01 pm

nurse

“He needs some TLC and gentle handling,” says the assistant head nurse as she hands me the chart of a new patient. “He’s young, he’s a career soldier, and his wife just gave birth to their first child two weeks ago.”

I look at his chart. All that goes through my head is that he is seven years younger than me and has Stage 3 colon cancer. Yet again, I find myself standing there and wishing there was no cancer in this world, even if that meant, as an oncology nurse, that I would need to find a new career. I go look for my new patient in the waiting room. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 7 2014

Electroconvulsive Therapy Saved My Life & Helped Me Be Myself Again

By at 2:58 pm

Risa-hospital

After months of worsening depression and intense psychotherapy, it was an email I sent to my psychiatrist that was the last straw. I simply told her, once again, how lonely I felt and how much pain I was in. She called and told me it was time to go to the hospital–I had suffered enough.

Just a few hours later I was in the Psych ER being evaluated and then admitted.

Terrified and emotionally exhausted, I was shown to my room. I don’t remember how I slept that night but when I woke and met with my treatment team, I was immediately brought to tears. My doctor was calm and cool while he presented my options. The first was to try a different class of medication, pretty much the only medication I had not yet tried. One issue: I would first need to get off of my current medications and there were dietary issues, such as certain cheeses and chocolate that cannot be consumed. I looked at my doctor with a straight face and told him there was no way I could cut out chocolate. Luckily, he smiled and offered me a second option. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 28 2014

Seven Amusing Things That Happened During My Daughter’s Scary Hospital Stay

By at 4:15 pm

Baby-hospital

My 8-month-old daughter Billie was recently hospitalized for a UTI. It was scary, exhausting, and emotional. She refused to nurse for four excruciating days (don’t worry, I pumped). She was lethargic and had a high fever. But after four long days and nights at an amazing children’s hospital, I’m happy to report my little girlie is back home and 100 percent herself.

My dad (who was with us at the hospital frequently) always taught me to find the humor in life. After reflecting on our scary experience, I’d like to share the top seven things that amused me at the hospital:

1. In the playroom at the hospital there was an old-school Casio-type keyboard with very funny typos. “Fly Me to the Moom” and “Capton Races” were our faves. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 11 2014

The Surprising Way I Found Comfort in My Daughter’s Hospital Room

By at 3:01 pm

baby-in-hospital

On Friday afternoon, while I was alone with my infant daughter for a moment, there was a knock at the door of our hospital room. A short, pudgy woman–who just begged to be called Bubbe–pushed her reading glasses up on her nose and looked down at her clipboard, “Are you the Rosen-Prinz family?”

“Yes,” I replied quietly as the baby lay asleep in my arms. I had become accustomed to the constant daily interruptions after many days in the pediatric intensive care unit where doctors worked tirelessly to diagnose my baby with what we would come to learn is a very rare illness.

“Would you like a Shabbat kit?” she offered. Read the rest of this entry →

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