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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 2012/ 2 Mar-Cheshvan, 5773

The other side of the emergency room curtain

By John Kass

John Kass


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) When you're in the ER alone, do you ever listen to what happens on the other side of the curtain? And afterward, what do you tell yourself about what you've heard?

"Just wait," said the nurse.

The doctor will be with me shortly, I joked.

She gave me one of those hard, tight and polite smiles. Her face was thin, there was a tiny tattoo on her neck and she looked exhausted, like a mom with too many kids.

Is it busy?

"Oh, yes," she said. "We're extremely busy."

She pulled the curtain closed and was gone.

It was just past noon, and outside there was a high blue sky. The sun was warm. It was one of the last great afternoons of the year, too fine a day to be inside behind that curtain.

It was a day to sit in a park and watch the leaves, like those in the red maples, and other trees still in green, still holding on. A day to walk the dog in a field and kick up some birds, a day for children chasing a ball on grass, a day to watch the light change on the skyscrapers on the river. It was not a day for ER curtains.

What brought me there wasn't serious. It was a stupid, really, a stupid thumb, infected just behind the nail. I tried dousing it with iodine - the way we'd medicate our cuts when we worked in the butcher shop. But it kept swelling and finally it was like a ridiculous baby eggplant on my hand.

When you're behind the curtain with someone you care for, your spouse or a child, family or friend, you care nothing for what's outside those curtains. The universe is right in there with you. Your child is ill. There is only time for prayer and bargaining with G0D.

Yet when you're alone, and there's nothing really wrong except for a ridiculous thumb, you can listen to the monitors, and staff chatting quietly, a cough, a laugh. But you can't see anyone.

Then I heard the woman. She wasn't old and she wasn't young, but that's all I could tell of her.

"Oh, no. Oh, oh, no!" she screamed. "G0D, O G0D, no!"

And it went on, across the room, on the other side of those brown curtains.

"G0D! G0D! G0D! G0D!" she yelled. "O G0D."

I didn't want to listen, but I couldn't help it, and she went on for some time, long minutes and minutes more. I could hear staff members talking to her softly. Then more sobbing.

She tried to catch her breath. It was violent. It was the worst sound of all, that poor woman trying to gulp down some air, and anyone who heard it surely must have prayed for her. O Lord, help her, I said out loud, alone, as she sobbed.

If you're old enough - or if you've been hurt by sudden loss when you were young - you can remember that gulping in your own mouth, when breath is denied you, when someone you loved crossed over. At first I thought of my mom in an ER with my dad at the end, but then I began thinking of all the wives and husbands in a place like that, all the parents and children and friends and siblings and comrades, all those who've lost someone, and who tried to find air to scream.

If you live long enough, then you know the sound of it.

"O G0D," she said on her side of the curtain. O Lord, I answered, softly, on mine.

After a time, her sobs faded. They must have taken her to that little room off to the side. If you've been in that little room - and all hospitals have one - I'm sorry for you too.

We're told the little room is for privacy, but at that moment privacy doesn't concern us, for we are oblivious. The little room is where they herd us off to be contained and administered to. It is the room where the priest comes, the room where they give us the bad news.

After her voice disappeared, life in the ER returned. I could hear two staffers continue their discussion of presidential politics. A nurse laughed. Someone pushed a cart with a bad wheel.

After a time, the ER doc came in. He was quick and sure with his scalpel, and then he cleaned the thumb, slapped on antibiotic and wrapped it in gauze. When he finished, I asked:

How do you take it?

"Take what?" he said, examining the dressing.

That woman who was sobbing. Things like that.

"Another doctor handled it," he said.

But what does it do to you?

"You have to keep emotional distance," he said. "But not too much. Enough to do your job. And, yes, you do feel it."

On the way out, there was an ambulance driver in a chair, a short, heavy man, and pale, with dark circles under his eyes. I asked him too.

"Sometimes, new people come on the job. After a week or so, they just can't take it," he said. "But some get through it, and they can do the work."

But how do you deal with it?

"You don't," he said. "You just do the job. Then you go home."

I stood there for a second.

"Go home," he said.

Outside, the sun was still high in that blue sky. And the wind shook its fists in the trees.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.



Previously:



10/15/12 Droopy Chia candidates get a do-over
10/04/12 :Schoolchildren's stomachs rumble; drama queens grumble
10/01/12 : Chia Obama vs. Chia Romney: May the best greenfro win
09/25/12 : With bitter campaign in full swing, you need to watch some movies
08/02/12 : Toasting culture's absurdities
04/24/12: Why do you have to sell your privacy to win?
10/13/11: Stupid things men say to pregnant women
09/26/11: Desk zero: ‘Contagion’ lurks just outside office bathroom
09/08/11: Light up your lottery tickets, pass the Hopium
08/31/11: It was only a paper moon , but a legendary hoax
05/27/11: For 2012, it's Obama vs. the smoothies
05/05/11: Is it time to de-friend Pakistan?
04/12/11: China stretches the bounds of decency with cow-human-breast milk
03/23/11: No you're not in control; get over it
02/28/11: Chicago wanted a strongman, and it got one
01/26/11: Oh, c'mon, c'mon, Rahm-bo a victim? That's a stretch
12/13/10: WikiLeaks and Assange pretend there are no consequences
12/09/10: Trendy toys don't stand up to playthings of yore
10/11/10: Obama and his pals need some scarce Hopium for the next election
09/14/10: Obama gets a little bossy with tacit endorsement of Emanuel
08/18/10: Dead Meat walking, but heat to be applied again
07/28/10: No verdict, but Blagojevich trial still has its winners, losers
07/26/10: Obama's fall guy in Shirley Sherrod case is Vilsack the Pooh
07/21/10: Loathing of Steinbrenner softens after his death
07/19/10: Summertime, and the race cards are easy
06/28/10: Does Congress have the guts to fix what court gutted? Honestly, no
12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
09/27/09: ACORN can teach the GOP a thing or 2
09/03/09: Blago as author gets it wrong yet again 06/22/09: Obama's latest political play should shock no one
06/17/09: Presidential satire takes Hopium break
06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2011, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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