It was the second night of Pesach, we had just relived the story of our brethren leaving Egypt… Shevat Binyomin the first to jump into the Yam Suf… we counted Sefiras Ha’Omer and then we heard crying from upstairs. Benny had just woken up.
Earlier in the day, Benny’s eye looked infected with conjunctivitis. B”H a local eye doctor gave us eye drops to treat his infected eye. At the time there was nothing to be alarmed about. It was only at 1:30 am when the first sign of this illness appeared. Benny woke up with a lump on his temple the size of a gum ball. It literally just popped out… the first of many unusual things that occurred thus far.
On a side note, Benny’s great grandfather , Zaida Ben O”H, as he was known by all, whom Benny is named after, passed away three years ago. B”H Zaida did not suffer. He had difficulty seeing while learning his Seforim and required cataract surgery. If he were to wait 4 months the insurance under Israeli law would have covered the surgery. My Zaida did not want to wait that long. His reply was “Daf Gemara 18,000 Shekel!” and paid out of pocket for his surgery the following week. He loved to learn and did not want to wait even a day before he could have the chance to learn inside his Sefer again. Unfortunately, the surgery was not successful and he no longer felt he had a purpose living on this world anymore, being that he couldn’t learn inside his Gemara. He said his goodbyes and with the Kiss of Hashem he departed this world.
I believe it was thru Zaida’s ZTL” merit, his love for learning and him paying out of pocket 18,000 shekel (18=life= Chaim) that Hashem blessed us, Binyomin Chaim with the first sign thru his eye that something is wrong.
The other connection to my Zaida is the counting of the Omer. As a little girl I used to count Sefiras Ha Omer with him and my father and would get a prize at the end of the counting if we were still counting with a Bracha. Benny’s first symptom appeared minutes after the first counting of Omer. We have been counting ever since. We are counting the days leading up to Benny’s complete Refuah Shlema. We are counting how many cups we can fill with Zechusim (merits) for Benny. We are counting each day that passes that we are one day closer to the Geula (Redemption) the Refuah (cure).
So it’s 1:30 am and we run to the neighbor across the street asking them their opinion about Benny’s eye. Being that no one in the crowd of people knew what was wrong with Benny’s eye, we headed to the hospital. We were there for hours and hours and basically were told to go home and follow up with our pediatrician. The doctors felt that Benny may have “cat scratch.” Cat Scratch is a bacteria that comes from the saliva of a cat that comes in contact with the eye. One of the symptoms is a swollen gland by the temple. We were insistent that it wasn’t possible, but the doctors did not have another explanation. They didn’t want to do a cat scan because they didn’t want to expose him to unnecessary radiation.
We got home at 6:15 am. Enough time to be able to cook for 30 people I had coming for lunch that day. B”H Benny was feeling good, although a bit tired not having slept the night before.
Later that night after Yom Tov, we took Benny to a local pediatrician who checked Benny out and noticed Benny had an ear infection (something the Dr. in the hospital missed). He prescribed the medication Benny needed and felt that the medicine could help what ever infection was by the eye as well.
The following morning, Monday (1st day of Chol Hamoed Pesach) we went to see our pediatrician, who also did not know what the lump was and suggested we see an eye specialist. The first available appointment was 7 am Tuesday.
Tuesday morning we saw the eye specialist who wrote an encyclopedia on the EYE and basically thought it could be cat scratch as well. He wanted to wait a few days and see us back on Thursday. In the meantime, we made other phone calls as the bump continued to grow. After meeting with Bikur Cholim on Wednesday evening, and dozens of phone calls made on our behalf, we were able to get an appointment to see an ENT specialist for that Friday.
Throughout the week, we went to doctors, but were also able to enjoy Chol Hamoed trips daily. Universal Studios, Sky High, Go Karts and swimming were among Benny’s favorites.
Click on Video to View Benny enjoying his Trips:
Thursday morning we returned to the eye specialist and he told us we weren’t dealing with an eye issue and suggested we go for a blood test. A few hours later we were getting Benny tested but the results would take a few days.
A few hours later, as I was getting ready to leave the house I saw an enormous Locust on the side of my car window. The window next to Benny’s car seat. I quickly ran into the house to get my kids to see it. I told them “look the Macke of Arbe, the Plague of the Locust is on the car window” It was a foot long (not exaggerating either)! Luckily I had my camera on me and was able to take a picture to back up my findings! At the time we did not have a diagnosis for Benny but I thought to myself, just as Hashem (G-D) brought the Makos (plagues) He also took them away! And so to with Benny, IY”H, Hashem will take this Makeh away. It was not until a week later that I was able to research the meaning of the Locus with the help of a dear friend.
It says in Sefer Perek Shira (The Song of the Universe) , there are two types of Locusts. The one on our car was the Locust of the Orchards, which says “I raise my eyes upon the mountains, from whence will come my help? (Psalms 121:1). In Talmudic times this insect was used for medicinal purposes. People made strenuous efforts to trap it. Vulnerable and in constant danger, it symbolizes man”s desperate quest for safety: from whence will come my help? the answer is in the next vets: My help is fro m Hashem (G-D) Make of Heaven and Earth. Thus, this locust is a symbol of faith.
Here is a picture of our symbol of Faith that was given to us before we knew we needed it. The Refuah (Cure) before the Makeh (Plague)
A couple of hours before the second days of Yom Tov (holiday) we went to an infectious disease doctor. We asked him what he thought of Benny’s eye and asked if we should go on Friday, Yom Tov to the ENT. He was not alarmed and felt the appointment could wait until the following week.
We did feel a sigh of relief and went into Yom Tov with Smite (happiness) and a feeling that everything will be okay. Aside from the bump, Benny felt and looked great!
The following Monday, after most of the Pesach dishes were put away and the refrigerator semi restocked, we saw an ENT doctor. He said that Benny’s ear infection cleared up but that he would like to order a cat scan of the bump. The scan was to take place the next day, but there was a mix up and the wrong scan was ordered and therefore, had to be cancelled and rescheduled for Wednesday. Every day that there was a delay felt like an eternity. Little did we know it was only the beginning.
Tuesday, we went to see a pediatric dentist after it was suggested that maybe it was an infection in the mouth that travelled. The Dr. was kind enough to open after hours and meet us in his office to examine Benny. Within a few minutes, that theory was ruled out.
Wednesday the cat scan was performed. We waited all day to hear the results. We got a call from the doctors office saying the doctor would like to meet with us Thursday afternoon at 5pm. The waiting was unbearable! Ari was scheduled to leave town later that night and would only return Friday morning. I called at least 1/2 dozen times insisting we speak to the doctor over the phone to give us the results. We explained Ari having to leave out of town on business but would not go if it was important to stay. We were told by the receptionist that the Dr. was in surgery all day and would only be able to review the scans in the evening. By then, it would be too late because Ari had to make his flight. After several phone calls and continued persistence,the doctor called back a couple of hours later and advised Ari not to get on the plane. He then informed us that he would like to perform a biopsy Friday morning.
The doctor also prepared us that most likely we will be admitted into the hospital for the weekend and treatment will begin shortly after.
The biopsy was scheduled for 9am. All foods and liquids were either stopped the night before or limited to 5 hours before the procedure. It wasn’t easy denying Benny his morning snack or drink of warm milk. B”H we managed somehow. The ride to the hospital at 6:30 am was filled with singing the Modeh Ani and other Tefillos. Benny was so happy to go “bye bye.” My heart ached as my eyes filled with tears, knowing what was about to take place and yet Benny was happy. A lesson we can all learn from. Life is a journey! We may think we know where we are going, but do we really? How do we prepare for this journey? How do we survive the ups and downs? The answer is B’Simcha ( being happy). If we could only live our lives like Benny who is singing the Praises of Hashem (G-D) as he is about to undergo a procedure that will take him on a new direction in life.
Throughout Benny’s journey so far, he has only been B’Simcha (happy) B”H (Thank G-D). You say the word “dance” and he kicks his little feet and shakes his body. Benny’s not scared. He believes! He trusts! He has complete Faith in those that love him that he’s going to be cared for. It is us who are scared. It is us who have to work on our Emunah (Belief) our Bitachon ( Trust) that our Father, G-D Almighty is going to cure our precious baby Binyomin Chaim and bless him with a long and healthy life for 120 years IY”H. We have so much to learn from Benny. The importance of Simcha (happiness). Simcha is Life and that is what Benny celebrates each and every moment.
Click on Video of Binyomin Chaim singing Praises to Hashem :
to be continued…