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MY ILLNESS - PLEURITIS              20231120


In September 1943, I contracted a severe pneumonia with a hugh fever. The thermometer  showed the tempeature - over  40C degrees. Two weeks later , the doctor gave  the prognose, determined that I got Pleuritis  in my  left lung, and water is accumulating around. The incomming water began to divert the heart to the right side. I felt well my heartbeat by placing a hand on the right side of my chest. The doctor who treated me, decided to dry the fluid, with the help of Calcium injections. He prefered dehydration of the lung instead of inhaling the fluid from the lung, which was customary in the ghetto at that time. A remedy for dehydration, he prescribed me, were 31 injections of calcium 100cc each, into my vains, a day yes – a day no - for two months.

The problem was, the drugs were out of reach. In the Ghetto, no any pharmacy were. Medications, were barely in the ghetto hospital, but it was dangerous to be hospitalized. Because from time to time, the Gestapo evacuated the patients to an unknown place (at that time). Because the Gestapo has evacuated the sick people from the hospital and they never returned to the ghetto. It was later revealed that they had been eliminated.

I knew that my father had many influential friends. I lay at home and received exceptional care. It was also forbidden for anyone to know about my illness. The drugs, the parents probably obtained on the black market, in exchange for food, gold or other valuables. I did not know, because I was unconscious. I would like to point out that at the beginning of the disease for the first three weeks or so, I had a fever beyond 40C degrees. I was unconscious, sleeping most of the time.

The paramedic, who had to give me the injections. there was a problem. The reader must take into account, that this was a time when disposable injectors did not yet exist as there are today.

The paramedic who had to inject me with the medicine, was sent to me by the doctor who treated me. To inject the medicine he had the reusable equipment, which was that time. This includes a glass container, a glass syringe and a needle. Before use, the equipment had to be sterilized. Pretty simple. The syringe and needle should be put in a container. Fill the container with water and put it in a pot with water. All this should be cooked in boiling water for about 10 minutes. This was the method of sterilizing syringes.

I had an unusual problem with my paramedic. He had only one needle left, but the tip of which - was broken. My parents could not turn to another paramedic.  I had no choice. For two months, I received 31 injections into a vein (day-yes, day-no) with the broken needle. Each time during the injection, a heat wave enveloped me and came out through my mouth which I kept open. But this drug saved me. After a month of injections - water started to recede from my left lung. Until the ghetto was liquidated, I managed to get all the 31 injections.  I heard the heartbeat again on the left side. I was sick for almost a whole year. I was very lucky.

I was already 18, when I fell ill and disappeared from work. The thing itself was very dangerous. I guess my father was probably exerting pressure on his circle of friends. The doctor who treated me in the most dedicated way, objected to transferring me to the hospital. He took care of me, in my own house. It is clear to me that thanks to him I survived.  In this situation, while I am still reconvalescating from my sicknes, the Germans started the elimination of the Ghetto. I arrived with 5cm of fluid in my lung, at the "convalescent" house of Auschwitz-Birkenau .


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