Messages from Gaza Now -November 2023 – My Mother once again

My mother once again

With the tear in her stomach, vomiting happening from time to time, eating nothing for 2-3 days and bleeding in her gastro-intestinal system, the hospital is a must, just to stop the bleeding. Nexium 40mm twice a day in her veins. I bought everything as we did last time, when we asked a neighbour who is a nurse to do the procedure.

The neighbour nurse is not there. She lives in the house next to my father-in-law’s house that was warned it would be bombed. They evacuated.

What can I do? Went out in the street. I don’t know the people; it is not my neighbourhood, I am a stranger here.

I asked people on the street if they know of a nurse nearby. Amazing, at the third house a man said:

  – My wife is a nurse.

I explained to him what we needed. He entered his house and within 5 minutes came out with his wife. We went to our home. She did what needed to be done but my mother’s veins are closed up, they do not absorb the medicine. The nurse said sharply: 

  – She must be taken to hospital!

I’ve kept some fuel, enough for 50km, inside my car for an emergency. Enough to drive us to Rafah. 

This is an emergency. I took my mother to a community hospital in Nuseirat Camp. While driving there the bombing did not stop, as usual, at every minute.

Arrived at the hospital. Outside they have installed a big tent like a field hospital. Some beds inside with some injured people and doctors treating them. Many people moving on all sides, an ambulance arrives, people automatically clear a space for the ambulance. 3 Bodies covered with blankets. Another ambulance arrives, 4 injured; a woman, a young man and 2 children. The young man lost a leg, lots of blood. I did not know what to do. My mother can’t be a priority in this situation. While standing by the entrance, a gentle nurse approached me asking if he could help. I explained my mother’s situation. He said: 

   – Normally we must make a haemoglobin blood test, heart and blood pressure tests, but you see how messy the situation is. I’ll get the Nexium and syringe, inject it with 40mm saline. Come inside.

I went into the first corridor; many people, blood on the floor, a lady is busy cleaning, a bucket of clear water, in 2 minutes it became red, she took it, disappeared for 5 minutes and came back with the bucket refilled with clear water. Some people crying in sorrow, nurses and doctors moving at speed all over the place. The nurse left me, I had been there for 20 minutes when he came back with the cannula, dressing, syringe and the Nexium. He was very good. In 2 minutes he did all that was needed.

My mother slept in her wheelchair. I took her out, lifted her into the car and drove back home.

Night fell. Usually I am a man who likes evenings and night-time, it is my relaxing time, I play cards with my friends, watch favourite movies, lie down lazily on my couch. Now I am unable to like evenings or nights. As darkness falls, life stops, frozen, no movement, no activities, no sounds but the sound of bombing and drones which double in the silence a million times.

My mother woke up with her hallucinations again, her internal fear that I can’t help. She sees people and things, people that provoke her and things that frighten her. She screams out of fear, she sees me doing bad things and she curses me, and I am helpless. The calming pills do not help this time. From 5pm until the following morning at 8.20am she suffers from her hallucinations and I suffer from insomnia and helplessness. I went downstairs to get her breakfast. 10 minutes later, I came up and she was asleep. I did not wake her, she needs to sleep. She needs to rest.

I called Dr Yasser Abu Jamei. He is a psychiatrist and the General Manager of Gaza Mental Health Program. Explained to him my mother’s case, he sent a message with the name of a medicine that I should give her, one pill every evening. I left my mother asleep, or maybe unconscious and went to the UNRWA clinic. No internet, could do nothing, just wrote part of this piece, bought the medicine and went back home. Back at home my mum was still asleep. It is 6.13pm. She is still asleep. The breakfast is still there, untouched. Is this good? Is this bad? Shall I wake her up and give her the medicine? But I am afraid that she’ll wake up with her hallucinations and spend another night of fear and insomnia. Is it ok to let her sleep this much? I don’t know. I will wait. I took some food, my first meal of the day. I washed my body with some water, a shower is an unavailable luxury. It is 8.15pm. She slept 12 hours. 11.25pm, 15 hours! Finally I decided (selfishly) to leave her asleep and see what would happen.

By the way, now I only have fuel in my car for 40km.