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A Marathon with a metal shard in the hip

השארת תגובה

A flash of light and then an explosion. I fall to the ground, hearing the screams and cries of my friends around me. I want to get up to help them but I can't move. A few seconds later I realize I can't move my right leg, and then it hits me

– shit, I got injured too!
{for the hebrew version click here}

I am an IDF disabled veteran.
I got injured on the 4th of January,2009 during operation "cast Lead", being a platoon sergeant in Golani. For those of you who don't know, a sergeant is second in command in the platoon, in charge of replacing the platoon commander if he in unable to function. Before this operation, my officer took me aside and told me there is a chance he will be hurt and I should take it in to consideration. I took it in to consideration and I learned the walking path, going over different options so if he does get injured, I will be able to replace him as best as I can. As faith wanted to have his way, he did get injured. To this day I joke about the new nose he got in surgery made him less ugly.

I remember the injury as if it were yesterday. A mortar landed approximately 10 meters away from us (or so I was told in a debriefing done later), causing a large number of casualties, me included. I remember the shouts & cries of everyone around me, the big mess, the friends carrying me on a stretcher, the fear I won't be able to walk again, and the fact that I insisted that my friends would be evacuated first, and I would be evacuated last. To this day I am glad the values I had didn't disappear when things got rough.

At the hospital, an X-Ray revealed I had a metal shard in my right hip. I remember I was happy to realize it hit only tissue and not something more substantial. At the end, it meant that I was like a baby – I have to learn to walk again, but it will happen at the end.
One of the doctors who were in charge of me asked if I wanted to remove the shard.
"if we operate, there is a 50% chance you get handicapped because the shard is close to nerves in your legs. During surgery, we may hit a nerve" he said.
"And what if you don't operate?" I asked him.
"If we don’t operate, you may live normally to the age of 120 but there is also a chance the shard will move tomorrow, a year or 30 years from now, hit the nerve and make you handicapped".
I am glad I didn’t go through surgery. I still have the shard in my leg, but I have two functioning legs, and I make the best of them…

Jerusalem marathon 2014. 21.1 miles run, more than 5 hours. I am on the left

Jerusalem marathon 2014. 42 km run, more than 5 hours. I am on the left

During rehabilitation (6 months long), I went through several experiences which I take with me even today. There were experiences I wish to none, such as laying on bed and peeing in to a bottle because I can't walk, and I was too ashamed to ask anyone to take me to the toilettes, or a funeral I attended in a wheel chair. On the other hand, due to the injury I met angels who walk among such as an incredible family, which first contacted me when their daughter's kindergarten sent letters to soldiers and I was lucky to receive Shaked's letter. I am still in touch with the family, even today, especially with Shaked's mom – Ella. Dear Kohavi family – Thank you! Another angel is Erez Ya'ar – an incredible attorney and an even better person, who represented me for free in my case against the ministry of defense because he believes soldiers who got injured in battle shouldn’t pay for an attorney as well. Erez is the kind of person that after 5 minutes of conversation you realize he has a seat reserved for him in heaven.

On Erez's website there is a saying: "if you are not willing to stand behind our warriors, you are welcome to stand in front of them..". in my opinion, this sentence should be printed on T-shirts and stickers.
A few weeks ago I was on reserve duty and I got to think of those who dodge the compulsory military service in Israel. Those who do not know what its like to give 3 years of your life (and a few more in reserve duty) so the rest of the people in Israel (most of which have done their share already), can sleep quietly. When I hear of someone avoiding the army on purpose, I want to smack him to wake him up – Hello? What is up with you??? When every time a few high schoolers sign a letter where they refuse to get recruited, I am certain, c-e-r-t-a-i-n, that when they were younger someone threw them in the air twice but only caught them once. Only that can explain why something in their mind is just not right.

I can't wait for my children to join the army.
I wait for the day they join the army, Not because I want to sleep less hours a night knowing they are god know where and not because I would like to get some more grey hair on my head. I wait the day they join the army because it is a value to me. A value I intend to give them, and I hope they will take.

Baby Golani - for the future generation

Baby Golani – for the future generation

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