Mel Pachino's Journal
Week 31 (and 30)
Written Dec 10, 2013 1:05pmBack in May, when Mel was just beginning his recovery at Kernan, our middle daughter with our son-in-law and our grandson, who had rushed here to be with us, returned to Israel and their life there. When Mel and I said goodbye, our hearts felt leaden because we truly did not know when we would see them again. At that time, it was inconceivable that we would be able to make the trip to be with them in the foreseeable future.
Baruch Hashem (Thank G-d), the miracles of Mel's recovery are boundless, and last night we returned home from a two week visit with our daughter, our son-in-law and our TWO adorable grandsons! The travel was challenging, but Mel managed beautifully. Meeting our new grandson was pure joy and seeing Mel hold him and play with him true bracha (blessing).
During our visit, Mel continued to amaze us all. He danced at two weddings, walked great distances over difficult terrain as well as up and down the hills of Jerusalem and Efrat. He managed innumerable steps (it was 97 steps to get to the the shul (synagogue) on Shabbat (the Sabbath) and Mel climbed and descended them four times over the course of the day alone)! He got down on the floor and played with our grandsons, rolling balls, reading books, playing with trains and cars. At the park one day, he accomplished his craziest feat of all. He climbed up a seven rung metal ladder, pulled himself up onto the platform and then slid down a winding tunnel-like slide all for the amusement of our grandson who wanted Saba (grandfather) to join him. To be honest, I often worried, but Mel is Mel and it is his drive and determination that has gotten him this far on the road to recovery.
The trip was a delight and we truly are blessed to have had the ability to go. I recently read a story about a spinal cord injured man whose father died. His significant other was trying to figure out a way to get the man to a neighboring state to visit the grave site of his father having missed the funeral. There were many hurdles to jump because the man needed full time assistance to manage even the most basic of life functions. The man's recovery does not truly compare to Mel's but the article made me realize anew how fortunate we are. As I watched Mel rest on the long plane rides, I was ever grateful to Hashem (G-d) for allowing us the opportunity to make the trip and to be with our children and grandchildren - the most important thing in the world!
Shavua Tov ( A good week) to all! Enjoy the winter wonderland. (I hear it is also supposed to snow in Israel this week).
Written Nov 30, 2013 10:58pmThis week we began to celebrate the holiday of Chanukah. On Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, we celebrate the many miracles that Hashem (G-d) did for us in the time of the Hasmonean revolt and their victory over the mighty Greek army. Hashem's hand was clearly guiding the righteous and leading them to success.
We light eight candles in commemoration of the victory and the fact that the small cruze of oil that was found in the desecrated Beit Mikdash (Holy Temple) lasted for eight nights. it is our custom to light one candle the first night, two the second and so on building up to the eight.
I have taken note and often mentioned the miracles of Mel's recovery, but as I watched him light the candles the past four nights, I was awed anew at the compilation of miracles it has taken to get Mel to the point of recovery he now is.
With wonder, I watched as Mel walked up the steps and over to the menorah with sure footing and no aid (miracle #1). Then he stood unaided before the Chanukiah ( miracle #2), held the match between his fingers with sensation and dexterity (miracle #3), bent over the candles with balance (miracle # 4), intoned the brachot (blessings) with a clear, strong voice (miracle #5), lit each candle with steady arm and working hand muscles (miracle #6),and blew out the match with a clear airway and breath that comes from fully functioning lungs (miracle #7). As Mel wrapped his arm around me shortly after the lighting, I took note of the eighth and most important miracle of all. Mel is here beside me. Hashem has and continues to guide him along the path of recovery, His miracles clearly evident!
Chanukah samayach (Happy Chanukah) to all.
Written Nov 22, 2013 10:27amMel's new routine continued. Therapy three mornings a week followed by rest and life therapy. The regular activities of daily living should never be trivialized. I often find myself smiling as I notice Mel performing his daily activities with independence. He is often frustrated, because his movements are not as efficient as he expects. I am amazed that he can do them at all! Months ago, I watched as Mel struggled to breathe and then to drink and eat. Those challenges were followed by the painstaking and arduous rebuilding of each muscle in his body with constant prayers that progress would continue without plateau or setback, So far, baruch Hashem (Thank G-d), this has been so. Even though there is still much recovery that Mel needs to resume full functionality at a level to which he is content, he is experiencing and appreciating life.
The cadence of this new life is very different than at any other time previously. Instead of the frantic rhythm of life prior to injury and then the out-of-control staccato of shock trauma and inpatient rehab, the cadence of life now is rather calm. It is quieter, yet more predictable. Mel's days are filled with davening (praying), therapy and/or exercise, and learning. It is the cadence of healing. With gratitude to Hashem (G-d), his pain level remains low and his stamina is increasing exponentially. He is able to attend more functions outside the home (even at night time - which has not been the case). He learns with his regular havruta (study partners), attends all his regular shirring (classes) via computer and starting this past week embarked upon a new subject of study with Rabbi Silber a few times a week as well. Thank you to Rabbi Silber for finding the time and bringing such joy to Mel.
The highlight this weekend was Mel actualizing a profound accomplishment. Dear friends had a wedding of their oldest daughter. These friends came to visit regularly and with extreme kindness throughout Mel's recovery, and we often discussed the upcoming event. Mel declared in the depths of the summer and amidst the most difficult and unknown time that he would dance at the wedding. And he did! This past motzei Shabbat (after the Sabbath), broad smiles and camera clicking recorded the moment of wonder as Mel joined those on the dance floor without cane, crutch or wheelchair, danced and swayed to the music for over 20 minutes. Absolutely incredible, miraculous and simply Mel!
Please continue to daven (pray) for Mel that he be able to resume more and more of life and return to complete and full functionality in the near future.
Shavua Tov (Have a wonderful week)!