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Friday, August 21, 2009

Pinah Chamah (A Warm Corner) -- because little things make a difference

There is a small corner in the oncology day ward that is set aside for drinks. There is a hot and cold water dispenser. And, on the counter, there is usually tea and sugar. There used to be coffee too, until about half a year ago. Most of the time there are cups and sometimes there are spoons as well. At around noon, there is soup (parve) and, if you get there fast enough, some fruit, usually apples.

Recently, in the beginning of August, Darchei Miriam, one of the wonderful volunteer organizations devoted to easing the lives of cancer patients, "took over" the corner. They transformed the area into an inviting Pinah Chamah (warm corner).
They set up wall dispensers for cups (for hot and cold drinks) and a small shelf with matching metal canisters filled with coffee (both instant and Turkish coffee), tea, sugar, sweatener, and instant cocoa (for hot chocolate or cold chocolate milk). The area is kept clean and stocked (though if the milk runs out, you might need to ask a bat sheirut (Sheirut Leumi volunteer) to get some more from the refrigerator, which is located elsewhere).

This might not seem like such a big deal, but it really is. I did not realize how big a deal, until this morning....

Moshe and I woke our kids early this morning, so we could go to a meeting together and, as compensation, I promised the kids I would take them out to lunch. They voted on Burger King (which is Kosher in Jerusalem) and, though it is not the healthiest option, I agreed. I knew they would all be happy with the choice.

My original plan was to take the kids for an early lunch, since none of us had the chance to eat breakfast, and then pop over to Sha'are Zedek to get a blood test. (I did not have to hang around at the hospital; just a quick jab with the needle to fill two small vials with blood and then I would be "out of there.")

As I was about to start my car, I realized that it was only 10:30 in the morning. I suspected that a meat restaurant, even if "only" a fast food place, might not be open quite that early. (It turns out I was right, and they only open at 11:00)

So I suggested we go to the hospital first, and get that out of the way.

"But we are starving!!" chimed the chorus!

I explained that it would only take a few minutes to get the blood test and, by the time we were done, the restaurant would surely be open for business.

"How much time?" challenged my food-deprived children.

I thought about all the takalot (mishaps) that might possibly delay a 3 minute blood test (since it was relatively late in the morning to be arriving at the cancer ward, I knew that I should not have to wait too long for parking, signing in with the secretary, getting the actual blood test, etc.), and answered "Fifteen minutes, at the most twenty...."

As my kids were deliberating, I added, "and you can make yourself hot chocolate while you wait."

That sealed the deal.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...


Staying Afloat said...

Ah, the perks. Yasher koach to Darchei Miriam for providing this one.

We dangle perks in front of my kids whenever we can that directly connect to E. There's a free Purim carnival, and many amusement parks will let entire families with a developmentally disabled member to go to the front of the lines.

The real lesson here, of course, is that chocolate fixes everything. :)

G6 said...

These organizations are staffed by angels....

adena said...

great story!!! also, a great example of how, even if you have cancer, kids will still be kids :-)

Cheryl - Somewhat Crunchy said...

How wonderful, Fox would go just about anywhere for hot chocolate :)

Batya said...

nice story
True how the little things make all the difference.

Almost 26 years ago, I was stuck at Shaare Tzedek for 6 weeks, when my baby (still my baby) was sick. He entered at 2 weeks and I had nothing to eat, while I was nursing him. Nursing mothers didn't get food and the snackbar was only open a few hours a day.

Now why am I whining about that?

WhyMommy said...

Awesome! I'm so glad you have good people to help there....