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84 years old Feiga became a client of Hesed nine years ago. She came to know this organization by pure accident. In 1998, the office of Hesed was located in the house directly across from her apartment. One might say that the fate brought her to Hesed. Feiga receives the benefits of several programs of Hesed at the same time. She gets food parcels and assortments, medicaments and medical consultations, the loan of rehabilitation equipment and patronage.
Feiga is a lonely old woman. Two years ago she slipped on the street and fractured her femoral at the neck – that is most common fracture among the elderly. In most cases, they do not recover. That was last time when she went out to get fresh air. Since then, she has not left from her apartment – for two years already. She can move only with help of someone else. But there is nobody to help her.
Feiga is very modest, kind and nice old woman. She receives the support of Hesed with a great gratitude. She never asks anything, neither from doctors nor from visiting nurses. She is scared of being a burden to somebody. In contrast to many other old people, she speaks about herself and her needs very unwillingly. She does not like to complain. With a pension at the rate of $43, she has to pay $19 for utilities each month. It is hard to overstate how important the support of Hesed is for her.
- Feiga Samuilovna, do you have any needs or requests? Maybe, you want me to bring any newspapers or magazines to read for you?
- Thank you, I do not need anything. I’m brought a newspaper weekly, and I like it very much. – She motioned to filing of newspaper “Jewish Shtetl”. Do not ask me, I don’t have anything interesting to tell you. And I don’t want to talk about my diseases. It would be better if you tell me, how is it now there – outside? People say, the weather is very warm – is it true? And is there anybody sitting on the bench by the doorway?
She makes pause and asks confusedly:
- You have seen some old people, having the same fracture as I do, have you? And what do you think, shall I ever be able to walk? Will I ever see the sun again?
Our conversation was interrupted by a phone ring. Gladness and utter surprise flared up in her eyes – there is nobody to call her.
- Hallo. No, you dialed wrong number. That’s all right. – Looking upset, she hangs up the receiver.
Before I left, she asked me to turn on the light in the corridor. Feiga is a very short person; it is difficult for her to reach the switch, leaning on her stick.
- But how will you turn it off, before you go to bed?
- I sleep with the light. Otherwise I cannot fall asleep. I fear.
Nightly fears are peculiar not just to little children, but also to lonely and forgotten older people. Solitude has a really fearful appearance. But, at the same as with little children, the elderly do not complain. For a long time ago they understood that there is little use of complaints.