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||| The Injured 2 |||
"Two friends met, like two soldiers who survived"

"All around, people were letting out silent screams"

A husband and wife are sitting near the reanimation chamber. Their eyes are sore - one can see that they haven't slept for some time. Behind the well-shut doors is their daughter, Katia Pelen. On June 1st, the 16-year-old, with her friends, Larisa Azyasski and Irina Nepomnyashi, left for the disco in the club "Dolfi". The explosion sounded near them. Irina died immediately, Katia fell unconscious, and Larisa, soaking with blood, her hair on fire, started scrambling out of the crowd. She found a taxi by herself and asked to be taken to the nearest hospital. Right from there she called her parents and said: "Mom, dad, don't worry I'm just injured".

The doctors evaluated Larisa Azyasski's injury as a light one. However, here's what this medical term actually means: Larisa's leg and back are traumatized by debris, her hair and ears scorched, her eardrums suffering. Only on the 3rd day after the terrorist act, Larisa got up on her legs and, with the help of crutchers, made a few steps.

The Azyasski family arrived in Israel 3 and a half years ago from Tashkent. Larisa is youngest of 3 children. She became friends with Irina Nepomnyashi even before she came to Israel - in the Hebrew learning facility (Ulpan) in Tashkent. "This was a real, devoted friendship, one that can only occur in our youth", says Anna, Larisa's mother. Some of the other patients tell: when Larisa discovered that Irina was no longer alive, she refused to eat, didn't want to take her medicine and cried uncontrollably.

In the chamber next to Larisa, lies Vika Gorenko. She is also 16. She came to the disco with her friends. A moment after the explosion, Vika awoke on the ground in a puddle of blood. Around her was surprisingly silent - people ran, opened their mouths, but she did not hear any of it - the hit wave ripped apart her eardrums. Even when she was brought into the hospital, the doctors put forth a diagnosis: open crisis of an arm and a leg, heavy blood loss. Vika was assigned to a surgery - the screws that were used to maximize the explosion penetrated her body and needed to be taken out. "When they binded my daughter up after the surgery, she was screaming in pain", tells Vika's mom, Svetlana Gorenko.

"Great boots, a back that saves lives"

Larisa and Vika are being healed at the "Ichilov" medical centre in Tel-Aviv. At midnight, June 1st, most of the injured in the Dolfi terrorist act were brought here. The other ten were driven to the "Wolfson" hospital in Holon.

That's where we met Nataly Shechtman. Nataly is fourteen. "I loved that disco. Went there every Friday", says the girl. "It was wonderful! And that time (June 1st), nothing seemed out of the ordinary. It was only later brought to light, that the suicide bomber stood extremely close to me - there was only one tall guy separating us. I guess his back saved my life, because my friend Yael (Yulia) Sklyanik died".

Nataly Shechtman's injury is also classified as "light", but behind that simple statement lies a tragedy: the girl's right hand is chopped and she'll most likely carry traces of that injury, and the operation after it, for the rest of her life. Her hearing still wasn't restored, because of confusion, and on her face you can see gunpowder burns.

On the next bed lies 16-year-old Maria Shtengoltz. Near her sit her mother, father and brother. They never leave the chamber, not for a minute. Maria is a favourite daughter in an intelligent family of former Moscow residents.

Last Friday Maria asked for permission to go out with some friends. At first, the girls thought they'd pay a visit to a nearby caf?, but then decided they'd rather go to a disco in Tel-Aviv. Maria was, of course, asked to go with them. She couldn't resist - and agreed, the first time in her life she did something like this without her parents' consent. Maria Shtengoltz wound up at the end of the waiting line. That saved her, along with the elegant boots she was wearing. Only one metal ball penetrated the boots (the bomb was filled with miscellaneous metal objects to maximise the damage caused by the explosion), which stopped in the girl's skin. Surgeons at "Wolfson" extracted the ball.

"Wolfson" personnel promise that the above injury will not remove Maria's ability to walk. But just to walk is not enough for her. "Our daughter was working her way into professional dancing" - explains her father. "In a few days there will be a major show and it took Masha (Maria's first name) forever to prepare to it. Obviously, now, the concert will pass without Masha".

"They are new repatriates - they have problems"

All the hospitals with the teens injured in disco "Dolfi" - all the abovementioned, plus the "Rabin" medical centre, the "Shiba" hospital in Tel-haShomer, the "Schneider" childrens' medical centre - are getting a constant inflow of visitors. Classmates, friends, teachers, politicians, charity representatives, etc. come to visit the injured. They bring candies, toys and other presents. Every delegation tends to carry a Hebrew-Russian interpreter, although nearly every one of the injured fluently speaks Hebrew. But will the community care so much for those repatriates after the anxiety subsides and the injured will be sent home?

The Gorenko family, for example, lives in Israel for 7 years. Vika (one of the victims), has an older brother, who is also ill. 3 years ago Svetlana Gorenko invited her mother to Israel - an old woman, left in Russia completely alone after he daughter's departure. The 70-year-old woman was allowed to live in our country, but she wasn't, and still isn't, eligible for any welfare or pension. Now she is obligated to take care of even older people in order not to be a burden for the family.

Natalia Shechtman (Nataly's mother) has a similar story. Not very long ago, she got divorced and now has to take care of her daughter alone. Some years ago, her adult son, who, after heavy diseases, became disabled, arrived in Israel. Because he isn't Jewish, he can't receive Israeli citizenship. Natalia Shechtman is now - the only working person in the family. And what's worse - according to the law, her son can be deported out of Israel at any moment.

The Azyassky family isn't one of those who can complain too much, "We can only ask for one thing" - says Larisa's mother, embarrassed. "We live on the last floor of a highrise and our apartment gets too much temperature at times. Larisa, after her signing out of the hospital, has yet to live at home for a long time. If anyone could find any air conditioner - an old, unneeded one maybe, we might be able to lower our daughter's suffering".

"After reanimation - there is life"

As "Vesti" reporters were leaving "Ichilov", it became known that there was an improvement in Catherine Pelen's condition, who was in reanimation for 3 days. The doctors deemed it possible that soon she'd be removed to another department. Not a moment after the stretchers with Catherine were brought out of the reanimation chamber, the girl began to plead for a visit to Larisa Azyassky. The doctors' explanations that Catherine was connected to an artificial breathing apparatus and can't stay out of the chamber for long, did not help. So the medics went for it.

Catherine's stretchers were rolled into the department, where her friend was present. Larisa's anxiousness would not let her stand up, so she was seated in a wheelchair. As soon as the stretchers became level with the chair, the girls tightly hugged. They cried, not letting go of each other - cried silently, as do soldiers, who are left standing after a vicious battle.

- Evgenya Lakhimova - "Vesti" special edition.

:: Read Also ::

"We looked for a beatiful blonde with blue eyes"
"I will stay here" - Those who have lived through hell.


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