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SOCIAL | COVID-19
Deep silence, these are the first words that come to my mind immediately after entering the Corona Department at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. As if everything is in parts: patients and therapists, religious and seculars, women and men, Jews and Arabs, respired and non-respired..... But after a few minutes of being there everything blends into a new dynamic dance with new and precise rules.
Therapists are dressed in protective clothing according to international rules, all similar, the same clothes and colours. Only their eyes are seen through which they try to express, it's hard to understand if there is a smile, if there is a wordless message. But it is not enough. Recently, an idea began to be implemented - each therapist's photo will be attached to himself or herself, perhaps this will allow a sense of closeness. They are constantly in a hovering movement, do not give up contact with the patient, come close without fear, talk to them, ask professional but also personal questions and everything quietly resonates.
The patients, most of them from Jerusalem, some standing and waiting, some lying down, others using oxygen, many praying, wishing and hoping for health, and more health and more health... Everyone is surprised, as if they do not understand what they are doing there, wonder when this "dream" will end, when will the miracle cure, or the long-awaited vaccine, arrive.
All together, close to each other, communication is minimal. Despite the human presence in every corner of the department, the loneliness envelops everyone, each one has closed himself off. Then I meet a couple of patients who both got Coronavirus. They are not alone, they are together. Smiling, laughing, talking about the wonderful care, the children and especially the conversations through the zoom with the grandchildren, conversations with no contact or ability to hug and kiss. They are optimistic, she can already go out of the hospital to a hotel, he is still symptomatic and so she stays with him, in love, for better or worse, always together.
In another room, I meet a religious man whose attention is given to a Rabbi, a famous religious litigator. The Rabbi lies supported with oxygen, he has a sweet and warm look, in him neither anger nor frustration, speaking quietly, in Yiddish.
In the corner of the room sits a young, religious man who puts on Tefillin with piety and deep concentration. To him we are not there, no one is there, only he and his God, his God whom he trusts to heal him and all the people of Israel. Then the Intensive Care Unit. Another story. Everyone is euthanized, respired. Here no one will remember what he was going through at this time. In spite of the medical equipment they are connected to, they have a deep, peaceful sleep. The brothers and sisters look after them like parents to their children.
These were unique, sad-filled photography days, full of human beauty of therapists and patients so different but so similar in their character.
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