Amnon Sharon, captured in the Yom Kippur War, is a rehabilitated Reuth patient who also volunteers at the hospital.
Amnon, 70, a resident of Kiryat Ono, married with eight grandchildren, was admitted to the Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital five years ago as a result of a stroke, from which he suffered paralysis on his left side.
“When I arrived at Reuth Hospital in a wheelchair, and when the professional staff explained to me the rehabilitation process that was waiting for me, I told myself that from here I was only going out of the hospital on two feet. I will go through the process and return to myself, just as I survived the captivity and went home.”
And so it was! “I was discharged from the Reuth Hospital, an independent and functioning person, after an intensive rehabilitation period of six months. Except for weakness in the left side, I am very active.” Amnon dances every day, paints and sculpts, conducts classes and workshops on survival in the IDF and in schools, alongside volunteering in Reuth.
“I was a 26-year-old soldier, a soldier in the armored corps when I was captured. I spent eight months in Damascus, five of them in solitary confinement. During this very difficult period, I developed a method of survival and today I call it physiotherapy for the soul and transfer it to the patients I meet once a week at Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital.”
“During the rehabilitation period in Reuth I met patients with despondency and despair who thought that their situation was the end of the world. I found myself giving them tools to train, how to deal with pain, from my experience of survival. With the help of the charming Ruthie Hoffman, a social worker at the hospital, I started helping patients.
Once a week I meet with them and accompany them throughout the period of rehabilitation in day care. Lots of personal conversations, lots of guided imagery to deal with the challenges ahead. When a patient tells me, ‘I’m in pain’ – I know what pain is. I know it closely, physically and mentally. The trick is how to deal with the situation as positively as possible.
The reactions of the patients thrill and amaze me every time. They write me thank-you letters, communicate and share my experiences.
One of the most important highlights in my conversations with them is to teach them not to hope but to believe. Always believe in themselves that everything will work out, even if there are problems. The first rule is that if something bad happens, after the crying and the sorrow, you have to gather yourself and say: ‘These are the limitations and with this you win!’ This way saved me and I lived there from the first moment I was in Damascus.