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Urgent Departure

The Story of Elena and Petr N from Odessa


In mid-September 2017 Elena came to our office in Odessa along with her husband Petr.  Elena's arm was in a bandage and she moved very carefully, supporting her arm.  Elena sat down very cautiously on the edge of the chair.  We just assumed that she had broken her arm but it turned out to be much worse.  Elena's shoulder blade is destroyed and her shoulder is also collapsing.  The couple came to us from the Jewish Agency - sent to us for our help.  When I called the JA office I was told that Elena couldn't fly to Israel without an accompanying Doctor.  They still needed confirmation of an airline that would take her on board and Jerusalem JA also had to be consulted about her flight.


And so our daily talks with the JA began.  At first the airline didn't reply for a long time and then we had to wait for an answer from Jerusalem.  In the meantime Elena was getting worse and worse.  We found a doctor who would accompany her and provided a lot of documents from the Doctors which were needed by the JA.  Poor Elena was no longer able to get out of bed as any movement was painful for her.


Elena's diagnosis was bone cancer.  It completely destroyed the shoulder blade and began to break down the shoulder joint.  Doctors in the hospital here only 'made a helpless gesture' and didn't want to deal with his patient.  Instead of chemotherapy they injected glucose!  She was advised to leave that hospital and look for a better Doctor.  Elena was sent away to be sick at home.  Petr was looking for ways to help his wife and continued to fight, though their finances were exhausted.  Then there came the hope that doctors in Israel could help and Petr and Elena applied to the JA and to Ezra.


Elena was prescribed painkillers but they didn't help her.  After a month and a lot of fuss we finally moved to the last stage.  The JA called and gave us the flight date.  We paid for a return ticket for the Doctor to Israel.  Together with the Doctor I went to Petr and Elena's home so that the Doctor could examine Elena before the flight to Israel.  Everyone was nervous about how Elena would cope with the flight.


We were able to arrange with the Consul for an urgent appointment for the couple - and they received their visas!


On the day of departure an ambulance was needed to take Elena to the airport - all the regular ambulances refused to take her.  After a long search a private clinic was found which provided a fully equipped vehicle and a good Doctor - they were very professional.  The couple's apartment is very small and they couldn't turn around with the stretchers but the Nurse and the Doctor transferred Elena down to the street, laid her on a stretcher, covered her with a blanket and transferred her to the car.  She was given an injection to ease the pain.  Elena felt better after the injection and was even able to have a little nap.  They arrived safely to the airport but didn't begin to load her on the stretcher immediately.  They waited until the last minute - 5 minutes before the flight the ambulance was allowed to go on the runway.  We watched at the gate as the ambulance was checked by the Border Guards and as the car drove to the plane.  We blessed this flight and were happy that we had managed to do everything.  We stood at the airport and believed that everything would go well - and everything did go well as Invisible Eyes watched over the whole process and Invisible Hands accompanied Petr and Elena to their historical homeland.


A few days later, Petr phoned and reported that the flight was good and that Elena was immediately taken to hospital from the airport.  The next morning she was examined and chemo was prescribed.  The latest news from Petr is that Elena is now not only able to sit up but also to take short walks in the hospital grounds.