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||| "WE SHOWED HER THE MIRROR. SHE CRIED."|||
THE AFTERMATH OF THE WOUNDS

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One hundred twenty-four victims were brought to the Ikhilov, Wolfson, Tel ha-Shomer, Beilinson, and Shneyder hospitals in the first few hours after the explosion. Some were examined and discharged the same night. By June 4, forty-seven victims were still kept in the five hospitals.
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By December 1, 2001, everybody had been discharged except for Alena Shaportova. Yet many still have small metal balls, bolts, and screws in their bodies: due to their proximity to vital organs, extraction is a risky proposition. Many suffered damage of nerves, muscles, and tendons; many are still facing plastic surgeries. “Typical” injury is bursted eardrums, a partial or complete hearing loss: the blast was so powerful that the children simply went deaf. Some will regain hearing; others won’t. Some teenagers still attend hospitals for therapy. Some face repeated surgeries. Sadly, the doctors admit that the treatment may last for months and years, and some of their young patients will remain disabled.
Igor Shaportov:
Recently we started taking Alena home for weekends. The home is the familiar setting, the dog she grew up with — in short, positive emotions. It’s good for her. She needs it. The hospital, the wheelchairs — this is all negative emotions. Three or four days ago, I brought her her dog. She burst into tears. She misses her home, her room, her bed . . . Her friends brought her presents, drew posters — lots of stuff. When she comes home, she’ll sort it out. The physical rehabilitation they’re providing — it’s good for her. But her soul needs rehab, too. She needs communication with her relatives and her friends.
Irina, Alena’s mother:
I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and she pointed at her eye. She doesn’t talk; she points. Her eye doesn’t see, and it worries her. She’s a pretty girl, she was always at the center of attention. She wanted to be a model. Everybody loved her. They still do, but they pity her, too. She realizes she’s not whole. And it makes her cry. For a long time we didn’t dare show her the mirror, but when friends came who wore glasses, she looked at her reflection in the lenses. She wanted to see herself. Finally, we made up our minds and gave her a mirror. She cried. Her legs survived, but there’re still splinters in them. She owes it to Catrin [Castaneda]. Catrin was shorter than Alena, so all the splinters hit her, and Alena mostly got away. Catrin’s mother came to see us. When Alena learned that Catrin had died, she went into hysterics. She couldn’t stop crying.
Rita Abramova:
At the hospital, I met a girl who had been here for a year. She got injured in an explosion in Hadera. Her both legs were cut off. When I look at her, I am filled with horror. This could have happened to me. I couldn’t go through it. I don’t think I would want to live. Even now, even as I know that one day it will be over, and I will get around normally — I believe I will — I feel I am limited, in the sense that I can’t do what I used to do, because my body doesn’t obey me. But when I think about this girl without legs — at least I know it will be over one day, but for her it won’t. When I think about Alena who is still hospitalized — her life has been mangled. I don’t know how one can go on like this. I’m just terrified.
Katya Pelina:
I am pained to think of those who died — they shielded us from the shockwave, from all those metal balls and nails . . .
Maksim Malchenko:
I can stand physical pain — I’m sort of used to it. Emotional pain is tough. But I hang in there. I refused to see the psychologist from the start. What helps me is my friends, my parents, my music, my guitar . . . there are many ways to help yourself.
Sonya Shistik:
I think I’ll recover in a year, a year and a half. Walking — that’s going to happen soon, but my hand — I still can’t pick up things. My wrist doesn’t bend. They say it’ll come back in a year. Or two . . . I celebrated my birthday here in the hospital on June 19. My best friend Yevgenia Dorfman died the same day. She got hit in the head with one of those metal balls.
Polina Valis:
I hate pain. I try to get rid of it altogether. I already know the doctors’ prognosis about my leg. They said they wouldn’t do the plastic surgery, and I’d have to wear long skirts and pants all my life. I don’t know how I’m going to handle it; on the other hand, it’s no big deal, one can wear pants. I’m just not used to it. I’m used to wearing shorts. I wore pants only in the winter.
Nadezhda Derenshteyn:
I didn’t realize then that the bomb was stuffed with all those little balls and bolts. I didn’t realize that anything terrible could happen to my face. I didn’t believe I could get burned or scarred. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and seeing that everything was fine. If something like this had happened to me, I would have just slashed my veins. I wouldn’t have been able to go on. Or else I would’ve gone crazy.
Anya Sinichkina:
If something happened to my face, a burn or something, I would put up with it. A face is important, of course. But I know myself, and a person’s beauty is not in her face, whether it is scarred or not. It’s what’s inside that’s important. A person is first of all loved for her soul. On the other hand, I’m a very physical person, I love running and jumping. If I lost an arm or a leg, I couldn’t go on. That kind of life is not for me. I couldn’t live like that.
Victor Komozdrazhnikov:
I have constant headaches, and ringing in my ears . . . If there’s a loud sound from an exhaust pipe, I shake all over. If there’s a blast someplace, I begin to tremble all over. Anything falls, I’m shaking. I work at the harbor, there’s a large parking lot — the other day the police came, looking for a suicide bomber. They gave us the license plates and the color of his car and told us to be careful. Every time a car passes of the same color — I know that’s not the one, but I can’t help shaking. As recently as a week ago I was still taking sedatives to go to sleep, because I couldn’t sleep at all. Now I sleep only when I get really tired. I come home from work, I fall on the bed, and I go to sleep. If it’s a weekend or vacation—I can’t go to sleep without a pill.