Above and Below the Surface

I pulled a muscle in my foot a few weeks ago, and from some combination of being impatient, stubborn and optimistic that it’d just go away on its own, I kept walking around as normal.

I knew that was a bad idea.

About a week later, I turned it just a little bit, and now it is sore – very sore.  After continuing to limp around for a while, I’m convinced that it’s not going to get any better on its own, and the doctor has had no productive advice other than “rest.”

Like the good Israeli I am learning to become, I have taken matters into my own hands.  It turns out that you can go to any Yad Sarah branch and borrow medical equipment like crutches.  And an active person like me would rather be out and about on crutches than stuck at home.

Today was the first day of getting around with these hand crutches, and I’ve had people offer to let me cut in line and give me their seat on the bus.  I could get used to this.  One older man I passed on the street just looked at me and said “תהי בריאה, תהי בריאה” “Be well, be well.” What do you say to that? “Thanks, you too!”

Ever since I got a stress fracture in my foot 10 years ago, right before a family trip to Italy that forced me to get along on crutches in areas paved with cobblestones and absent of elevators I’ve thought a lot about physical disability.  I even wrote a big research paper on it during study abroad in Chile (in Spanish!)

It’s an interesting social experiment.  This injury is not severe at all (at least I hope!) but because I manifest some obvious physical symptoms of something being wrong, people feel obligated to help me! (Or demonstrate pity.) What if my eye really hurt?  Or what about if my heart was broken?  Would they offer to sit down and chat with me?

Actually, yes.


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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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