A fracture, a celebration and another new chapter

October was an ambitious and big month. I started a new job, ran the Amsterdam Marathon and celebrated my son’s barmitzvah, with our close family from around the world. It was a month that brought tears of happiness and pride, busier work days than I’ve had in years, and crying over spilt milk. Or rather, milkshake.

Let’s start with the milk part. I was riding home from the station one evening, after a day at my new job in Utrecht. One of the best things about going to Utrecht a few times a week is having Five Guys right next to the station, “home” to great fries, milkshakes, burgers and hotdogs. That evening, I had gotten us takeaway supper that included a vanilla milkshake from my son. I was confident I could get the milkshake home in tact – just one train ride and a short cycle home later. But on the way home, as I was turning, I fell off my bike, landing on my hands, and as I got up to assess the “damage”, I saw the milkshake dripping from my basket, now on its side. I salvaged what I could, and then did my own walk of shame, pushing my bike home, with Andrew coming to meet me and help.

The next day, with my arm in lots of pain, I went to the doctor. Here’s what you need to know about Dutch GPs: they will usually prescribe rest and Paracetemol for minor’ish illnesses, and they’re the gatekeepers to specialists, ie you can only visit a specialist by getting approval from your GP. There’s no such as just taking yourself to the X-ray department (unless critical) – there are systems in place, and the GP is generally the entry point. There is a lot of criticism about the system, but so far, the conservative approach hasn’t been a problem for us. So it wasn’t a surprise when the doctor recommended Ibuprofen for my sore arm as I still had some mobility. The prognosis suited me – I was running the marathon two days later, and if anything, despite the pain, I felt a bit like a drama queen for even going in the first place.

And so I ran the marathon, comfortably and happily (thanks Ibuprofen) and was an official pacesetter on the day, which was huge fun and something I would love to do again.

At about 15km, my family came to see me – the Coke is always a welcome gift en route

From there, it was time to get ready for my son’s barmitzvah, something that was originally going to take place in Israel, but which we moved a few months ago to Amsterdam. My son wanted something simple with close family, and once we had made the decision re size and location, so begun the task of finding a shul, venue and caterer. The former was fairly simple. The venue was more or less straightforward but limited – we need a space within walking distance to the shul, and which would allow for external kosher catering. Once that was ticked off, so begun the task of chatting to the few kosher caterers in the city. Some didn’t want to cater for such a small occasion, one never returned my emails, and the other, our first choice, spent weeks and weeks putting together a menu and quote, which left us a little in the dark about what we would be paying – and for what (this was unchartered territory for us in Amsterdam – we had no reference points, and didn’t know what to expect at every turn in the whole process).

It was all such a surprise considering the Dutch efficiency and ways of working, but it all came together at the end, and it was a success. Another thing that caused a bit of worry was the decor. We had to do it ourselves as neither the venue nor the caterer offered it. I looked around for suppliers – some got back to me, most didn’t. Some either did flowers but not the table setting part, while others did table settings not flowers, and I wanted a “one-stop-shop” to do it all. Some only worked with big budgets, while another left me waiting for ideas and quotes for so long, I gave up up on her. I neither had enough talent nor time to do it solo, and after lamenting about the situation on a run one morning, my two friends offered to do it for us. And so they put together some ideas, gave me a shopping list, arranged the flowers, and did the most gorgeous settings for the Friday night and Saturday lunch events. (PS: There is a market for this kind of thing in Amsterdam – someone efficient and responsible, who can put together great decor).

We had family here from Canada, South Africa, Israel, France and Australia, and it was a few days of celebration, Amsterdam experiences, reminiscing and happiness, and it was so special to be together again, despite “missing” some close family members from around the world.


It must be noted (for dramatic purposes) that during this time, my arm was also really sore. I couldn’t really lift anything with my left hand, and was a little debilitated. And so I went back to the GP, who diagnosed a radial head fracture, and granted me permission to get an X-ray the next week. And so I went with my “permission slip”, got promptly X-rayed and diagnosed, and then went for a checkup with a nurse and then a doctor who looked at my arm thoroughly, asked a lot of questions and really handled things thoroughly and compassionately. I was bandaged and strapped, and was told to go the gipskamer the following week for a checkup.

What is a gipskamer, you might be wondering? It’s like a “cast” clinic, where they specialise in, you guessed it, casts and bandages. I was seen to by a technician and a doctor. I was liberated from my bandage and sling, and was told I could start running (woohoo) as long as I don’t fall (well, I absolutely cannot guarantee this). My elbow should be healed in about six weeks. And then we shall celebrate with the full Five Guys spread. Milkshake include.

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  • Cherise Modlin

    14 November 2022 at 4:53 am

    Mazaltov to you and your family! Hope your arm is healing well.

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