27-year old Eitan from Kibbutz Mishmar HaNegev, served in a classified intelligence unit in the IDF. During the course of his service, Etian suffered a sudden massive brain hemorrhage. Following immediate, complicated surgery, resulting in substantial motor impairment and speech difficulties, Eitan was admitted for long-term hospitalization in Lowenstein Rehabilitation Hospital in Ra’anana.
Once his condition stabilized and he was able to continue rehabilitation close to home, Eitan arrived at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, where he is now completing two years of intense rehabilitation. Today, Eitan is beginning a new and challenging life as a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As this period of his life comes to a close, Eitan sat down with Liraz Samet, the occupational therapist who worked with Eitan from the time he arrived at the village, to summarize his experience at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran. Liraz was witness to the amazing path Eitan traversed and the immense strides he made.
Eitan, how do you summarize two years of therapy? What was your biggest change?
I changed from being a closed person to being more open. I once again lead an independent life. I live alone. I began volunteering and studying. I can do things a healthy person doesn’t even realize – to zip up a zipper, to lay tefillin, to cut up a salad. I learned to notice the “small” things. To appreciate and enjoy them.
What do you have to say about ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran’s Rehabilitation Wing?
I am grateful to this organization for keeping my head above the water and for not giving in to me on anything. Rehabilitation consists of ups and downs and they knew to be there for me during the down times.
What are your goals for the future?
To continue going forward step by step. To be satisfied with life’s small pleasures. To finish my degree and . . . if I could find the right person.
What message would you give to new people coming into rehabilitation?
Don’t give up, even when it seems like a dead-end. When you have a setback, remember that in the end you will also make progress. Learn to accept yourself.
What is your next step?
During rehabilitation, I was able to see things from a different angle and I began studying for a degree at the Hebrew University. On Sunday, March 10, 2019, I began my second semester at the University in the Faculty for Language and Arabic Literature, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, subjects that always interested me. I plan on moving to Jerusalem. For now, that plan is on hold as I wait to be accepted into the student residences. Meanwhile, I’m looking for a place to live in Jerusalem.
We’re so proud of Eitan and the progress he made. Eitan is a true hero.