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Turning Tides

As told to Leah Gebber

She lost her footing. As she fell, the electric cord of the hot-water urn caught on her ankle. She fell to the floor, the lid of the urn flipped open. Boiling water splashed all over her. I ran.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

She was on the floor, curled up, stomach toward the floor. The hot water had spilled onto her back, on some of her face. It had missed her eye by an inch. I scooped her up: she was boiling to the touch. Adrenaline, instinct kicked in: I ran to water. I put her in the shower, peeled off her clothing and just kept the water trained on the areas which were burned. As I did so, I yelled out the bathroom window: “Call Hatzolah! Someone call Hatzolah!” Within ten minutes, paramedics were by my side in the bathroom. They looked at me and her and told me that I had saved my child’s life. Still, the sight of my little girl was gruesome: skin was melting off her back and face. Third-degree burns in action are shocking to witness. And yet, through some incredible gift from Hashem, I was intently focused and absolutely calm and in control. The paramedics told me to pack a bag for the hospital, and I haphazardly threw a few items of clothing into a bag. In the meantime, they applied ointment and bandages. As we entered the ambulance, the smell shocked me more than anything. There was this strong smell of burning and ointment, which gave me a visceral message that something hugely difficult was going on. Shuly lay on the gurney, bandaged from her head to her midriff. Of her face, I could just see two eyes peeking out. Her body had gone into shock. She no longer screamed from the pain, she was listless and limp. The entire journey it was me, Shuly, and my Tehillim. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I channeled all my strength into holding on to the emunah that everything was going to be okay. A paramedic sat beside me, making sure I didn’t fall apart. We arrived at the hospital. The receptionist threw questions at me. “Name, date of birth, ID number?” I stared at her. I was in a different headspace. Words? Who could speak? Eventually, I stuttered: “I can’t answer you now.” I ran off in Shuly’s direction.

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