Dr Judith Guedalia

Love With Respect
"In the nine years since the car hit me, leaving me at 14 years of age a quadriplegic on a respirator, the options available to me for work, narrowed dramatically.  You see the only part of my anatomy that I can manipulate is my face.
"This being the case, there are very few vocations for which I can apply.  One of the fields with the most potential for me though, is to work with the computer.  There is a special mouse I can use and over time I have perfected my skill level. 
"You see, since the accident I have had a lot of free time and spend a lot of it on the computer.  So, I have learned a great deal.  However, until now I haven't had any opportunity to use all this knowledge rolling around in my mind. 
"My sister works for a charity called Shalva.  This is a very unique institution that works with very handicapped children.  My sister is a Hydrotherapist which means that she does therapy with her clients in water.  One day she introduced me to the director of the organization and he asked me what I do.
"I mentioned my interest in computers and he said that this was a true min haShamayim(Heaven sent) moment because they were looking for a webmaster (Manager and Site Administrator for their website).  He offered me the job and I accepted.  I have started working there and am really enjoying it.  Most of the work I can do from home, they send me memos or notes over the Internet, and once a week I go into my office in their building in Har Nof.
"The work I do includes putting up pictures on the website and troubleshooting when there are problems - in essence things I love to do - and best of all I can work at times that work well for me. 
"When I arrive at the building my sister comes to visit me in my office.  I am very goal oriented, so when I arrive I go straight to my office and do my work.  When its time for me to go home  - I leave. 
"As I have said before I am quite 'closed' in my own bubble.  I don't mingle and socialize.  In the Amuta Shalva there are many young women doing their National Service, Sherut L'Umi, in lieu of serving in the army.  This week my sister told me that some of these volunteers came to her quite insulted, saying that they were surprised she is so nice, as her older brother (me) is such a snob.  Even though he doesn't speak to anyone, he must think he is too good for them, and all he has managed to do is hurt everyone's feelings when they have approached him just to say hello.
"But let me tell you, my readers, the real reason for my reticence in opening up lines of communication with these Sherut L'Umi young women.
"The story began six years ago - when I should have been attending high school, but because of my situation was at home.  The Ministry of Education assigned a Bat Sherut whose job it was to study and do homework with me twice a week.  I was 17-years-old and she was 18.  After a while we really connected - not just as student and volunteer, but with a stronger bond - at least on my part.  I had fallen in love with her.  During the whole year that she came to work with me I never told her how I felt.  When the year was over, she continued on with her life and went to study in University.  I began to miss her.  One day I spoke to her and asked that she come and visit me, just like that.  I told her how I felt, that I felt I was really in love with her.  It was so hard for me to tell her these intimate feelings.  I was so vulnerable and wasn't sure how she would respond.
"Her response was one of shock and panic.  She said that the feelings I had towards her were not love, but rather gratefulness for the work she had done with me.    'What do you want me to say,' she asked.  'You know what your situation is, and that there can never be something real between us,' she continued.
"I was very hurt by her response.  But I don't judge her, because I don't know how I would have behaved if the tables were turned.
"In the ensuing six years, I maintained a connection with her; we met occasionally and spoke on the phone.   The reason I kept up contact with her was that it was just too hard to completely disconnect from her. During those six years I prayed, fantasized and dreamt for a miracle - that I'd be cured and be able to 'just' walk up to her.  That miracle hasn't happened yet.  A few months ago I was in a bookstore with my father and I saw her as she came in.  There was a big change in her - her hair was covered.  She had gotten married.  The site hit me like lightening, and I felt as though an ice-pick had gone thru my heart.  My heart was shattered into a million pieces and bleeding through and through.
"During the six years the pain had been great, but there were also glimmers of light.  From the day I saw her in the bookstore, I haven't spoken with her, the contact which I thought would be impossible to break was gone; the glimmers of light that hope had allowed to seep through, dimmed to darkness.
"I put myself into a shell, not allowing feelings, clearly such as these, to enter or leave the protective coating of my bubble.  It is like a moth who loves the heat and light of the fire, but as he flies closer and closer he gets singed not warmed.  He can't resist the light or the heat and he moves yet closer and closer until he gets totally burned and dies.  But I am not a moth.  Once I got close to the fire the feeling was warm and the light was bright and nice.  But the second I got burned, I learned my lesson and now I stay away from the fire - notwithstanding the glorious feelings the light and heat bring with it.
"I have a job I love; I enjoy going to work once a week.  I don't want to get burned and I don't want to hurt anyone the way I was hurt.  I hope one day to be strong enough to take down the shield I put up and maybe meet another nice girl, and hope for a different ending.  I have learned though, from Shlomo HaMelech, who wrote in Shir Hashirim, Song of Songs: Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised."

"In my case that means that though the fire of love stills burns deeply in my heart I will not open myself and take a chance on being derided or despised by throwing all my riches, the totality of my 'house', after love.  I pray and I know it will come to me, one day on its own."


             Judith Guedalia, PhD is director or the Neuropsychology Unit; Senior Medical Psychologist; Shaare Zedek Medical Center; Licensed Psychologist; Supervisor and Specialist in Medical, Rehabilitation, and Developmental Psychology; EMDR Level II, Co-Chair Nefesh Israel. She can be reached at www.drjudithguedalia.com.  Mr. Chaim K. can be reached by his email: .