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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Yesterday's Yogurt,Today's Tenth of Tevet Fast and Druggy Doctors

Yesterday on the way to my base I was greeted with a pleasant surprise when I was changing buses. As I was walking to my bus stop this youngish woman came running up to me and thrust a bottle into my hand. It was a Danone Drinkable Yogurt. "Peach Passion Fruit" flavored- which, for the record, was really good. My first reaction was: "Whoa who is this strange lady and what is she giving me". But then as the shock passed I realized: "Hey, free food! Yah, I'm hungry. I could eat again".

I'm not sure if it really fits in the category of "eating again", maybe it's "drinking again". I never really understood the whole "Yogurt Drink" thing. It's not really a drink. You wouldn't come in after a jog and go: "Man is my throat parched, I think I'll pour myself a nice tall glass of yogurt drink." Then again, it's not yogurt either. It's too liquidy and it comes in bottles. I guess it fits somewhere in the gray, in the food/drink spectrum. One positive aspect of drinkable yogurt is you get all the yogurty goodness but you don't have to worry about dirtying a spoon. Saves on clean-up time- something I like, or would like if I actually cleaned my dishes instead of just tossing them in the sink.

As I got on the bus I started to notice people all over drinking these yogurt drinks. On the bus, walking on the street, getting off other buses, everyone seemed to have been hit by the yogurt fairy. I thought it was a nice way to start my day off, and a pretty good ad campaign too.

Between yogurt and shwarma, I must have food on the brain. Probably because I fasted today for asara betevet- the 10th of Tevet. We fast on this day because it marks the day when the siege on Jerusalem began. An event in a chain that eventually lead to the destruction of the temple and the beginning of the exile.

The story I have to tell about today didn't happen to me. It happened to my CO and he told it to me yesterday. It's actually a happy story considering it's a sad day.

When he was in officer training, the second part of the training was several months at the Officer Training School -bahad achat. This starts off with an intense four weeks, designed to weed out the weaker people. For four long weeks you work really hard, for him, most likely in the rain. You have long marches, and navigations at night. All this on very little sleep. It's a very hard time and very draining. It's also hard not seeing friends and family at home and hard on them at home too (but not as hard, I would say). At the end of the four weeks, you finally get to go home for a much needed and much deserved weekend. My COs four weeks ended on a Thursday, the 11th of Tevet, the day after the fast. His COs at the time decided that they deserved to be rewarded, and since fast days in the army are days where everyone who is fasting gets to rest, the whole course would get to go home one day early. So he called his dad to let him know and he surprised his mom by coming home one day early.

And that leads me to my third and final story. Some of you may wonder how I was home early today. Well because of the fast I would have been allowed to come home at lunch time anyway, but that wasn't it. The "cold" that I have had since coming back from birthright seems to have developed into sinusitis. So the doctor sent me home until Sunday to rest and recuperate.

You know that this is a Jewish country because the doctors here are all Jewish mothers. She scolded me for having waited this long to come back to her while still not feeling well. She then told me to go home and rest and to do tipulei savta- grandmother treatment. She explained to me that that meant laying in bed with a compress on my forehead and drinking tea and chicken soup.

The other thing that army doctors are known to do are give out too many drugs. This proved true today. After listing the three she was giving me now (two of them the same as two out of four she gave me last week) she asked me if I wanted any pain killers. I told her no it was fine, I had plenty at home and I didn't like the Tylanol substitute that the army gives out. She said so how about some Optalgin- another, stronger pain killer, that is illegal in the US. I told her no it was fine, I prefer Ibuprofen. She insisted she give me army Ibuprofen, something I didn't know existed, which comes in large round pills. Not something I plan on taking any time soon. At home, I have a whole drawer of superfluous drugs that I have been given by army docs. I think I should open a pharmacy. That would be a good way to supplement my army salary.


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