Nurse Seja's ALYN Story
“In my view ALYN is not a hospital but a home, full of love without borders, Beit ALYN (ALYN home),” observes Seja, a nurse in ALYN Hospital’s rehabilitation department for many years. “Hospital rooms are places where inspiring stories are born, and rare relationships develop.”
Seja has been a nurse in the rehabilitation department of ALYN Hospital for many years. She has repeatedly discovered that hospital rooms are places where inspiring stories are born and rare relationships develop. So many of these stories go untold, but Seja shares a story that offers hope for the New Year…
In room 10 lay two boys, Omar and Elai. Each of them from a different place... A very different place. Omar, 4 years old, arrived from Hebron after being seriously injured in a run-over accident and his condition was complex. Elai, 11 years old, post leg surgery, needed a long rehabilitation process. He arrived from Ashkelon.
Omar's mother, a Muslim woman, wearing a Hijab, sat next to his bed, on the left side of the room. Sometimes she cried because of his difficult condition, and sometimes she smiled, but she always had the same look, an uncertain, sad look, full of questions.
Elai's mother, a Jewish woman, full of energy, constantly tried to be strong but sometimes she also got tired. She sat next to her son on the right side of the same room, and devoted her time to being with him during his rehabilitation and made sure that he didn't give up and continued his hard work.
The two mothers were separated by a fabric curtain drawn all the way, and many invisible barriers. In rehabilitation, the conflicts are of a different kind; parents are too occupied to fight with each other. They are busy processing the situation, managing the pain, continuing pushing their children to work hard for their rehabilitation. They are busy managing moments of crisis with moments of celebrating victory with every small progress their children make, even (and maybe mainly) in the smallest details.
What might be obvious for someone else, is not obvious inside the department rooms. Here it is not obvious to be able to communicate with a 4-year-old child, and it is not obvious that an 11-year-old child will be able to walk on his own.
In the room, each one of them heard what was happening with the other behind the curtain. One day they both laughed at a joke another child told during a meal, for a moment their eyes met, a look that spoke without words of a heart full of tears hiding behind the laughter.
In that moment a special language was born. Even though Omar's mother does not understand Hebrew and Elai's mother does not speak Arabic they communicated a little in English and mainly in body language, listened to each other and started motherly conversations between them - about the difficulty, pain, hope, and fear. They did not give up on the conversations, they used translation apps, or communicated through caregivers who spoke both languages.
This bond also permeated to the children, Elai spoke to Omar often and complained to him during the busy days, and Omar for the first time smiled in response to Elai's voice.
On August 10, during Operation Breaking Dawn, Elai's mother returned from a weekend in Ashkelon and told that a missile fell in the parking lot of their home. A minute later, while standing in front of their room, I was able to notice a strong hug between the two. They released their anger, fear and worry in a strong hug that broke all prejudices, stigmas and generalizations.
Lately, when you enter the room, you see that the curtain between them is open. If you happen to pass by room 10, you'll usually see the four of them sitting together, like a family, each of them making sure to call the team whenever the other needs help, and both women do their best to prevent the other from breaking.
Here it is humanity above all, here it is unconditional love. In my view ALYN is not a hospital but a home, full of love without borders, Beit ALYN (ALYN home).
The rehabilitation environment at ALYN is ideal for humanity. There are no borders or religion and a great deal of acceptance to all. Those who enter the doors at ALYN are exposed to and get to know those who are different. For me, it is a huge privilege to be a part of this environment.
These two mothers left me with a lot of hope and optimism for a better future. They taught me that all that is needed is to dare and open the curtain.
Now, more than ever, I believe that if you choose to see what we have in common and not our differences, you can learn a new language... A language of peace.