Rawa was in very good spirits this morning as he awaited his surgery. The doctors wanted to do another echo prior to surgery to see exactly how the blood flow was traveling through Rawa's heart. Rawa pretended to do heart surgery on each stuffed animal in the waiting area and then threw them into the playhouse he called ICU. It is remarkable how much English he seems to understand and he is quite good at understanding pantomime also.
He was not fearful today as he had been last night but I cannot say the same for his mother. By the time the surgeon was ready for him in the operating room, we had exhausted all interest in the available puzzles, toys and iPod games until only his hunger and thirst was on his mind (children are required to fast before surgery).
It was two pm when Rawa's mother tearfully released her son into the capable hands of the Wolfson staff. For two hours Rawa's mother cried. I had no way to provide her with comfort except to pray. By four pm she quit crying long enough to tell me she had a headache. As I looked through my purse for some pain reliever, the only thing I could find was a small orange bottle of bubbles. So I opened them up and blew bubbles at her. She was shocked and then we both started laughing until we could not contain ourselves. It was so contagious the entire waiting room was laughing. When she told me her headache was gone, I told her (in pantomime and broken Kurdish), "Laughter is good medicine!" We still had another two hours to wait before Rawa was brought into ICU after a successful surgery, and another 45 minutes after that before she could see him.
I am thankful God's word is true and it can be trusted. Those last three hours were pleasant, joyful and relaxed. She was ready for sleep when I left and Rawa was resting under the watchful eye of all those who are caring for him. Please continue in prayer for this bright little boy that his future will be as bright and hopeful as he is.
Being eight years old and overhearing adults talking about removing your fingers and your toes and operating on your heart is no "walk in the park" as we would say in America. But that is what little Rawa faced tonight when we suddenly received the call from Wolfson Medical Center to bring Rawa in for surgery tomorrow. Our driver, Gadi, tried to help Rawa walk off the anxiety but it didn't seem to dispel all the fear. We made it clear that this surgery is only to close up a little hole in his heart - "only heart surgery" sounds like quite a contradiction especially to an eight year old who is desperately afraid of needles.
Rawa's surgery is the second surgery of the day tomorrow. Please pray for Rawa and his mother (as she became sick at her stomach on the ride to the hospital) that God will give them a good night's rest and peace. The presence of the Lord makes all the difference in the world. Let's invite that presence for this mother and son.
8 year old Rawa is a unique little boy. He joined the Shevet household last week in need of surgery on his heart to repair a common atrium defect. When the Wolfson team first met Rawa they suggested a follow-up appointment for some genetic testing. Today in the middle of much activity, our Hebrew speaking driver, Gadi, helped the genetic testing team of specialists speak with Rawa's mother through our friend, Mazal (a Hebrew/Kurdish translator). Gadi accompanied Rawa and his mother as x-rays of his hands and feet were made. In a few days we will know more, but for now the doctors feel that in addition to the heart surgery they should remove the extra finger from both hands and remove the extra toe from both feet.
In the time I spent with Rawa I saw a sweet child with a good memory while playing some memory games on my iPod. He was patient and cooperative and seemed to have a knack for quickly figuring out how to play different games and how to get back to ones he liked best.
Please join me in seeking the Lord for Rawa to have the best life (and surgical outcome) possible. I pray the doctors will have the Lord's guidance on what needs to be changed and what needs to be accepted so everything they seek to change will be for the good of Rawa.
Eight-year-old Rawa reached Jordan on Christmas morning with his mother. He is a small and gentle boy whose big eyes somehow express hope and fear and trust all at the same time. His heart must be repaired if he is to live and grow; and our coworker Dirk gently pointed out over tea in Amman this afternoon that Rawa also has six fingers on each hand. We traveled together to Jerusalem tonight, and Rawa will have his first exams tomorrow. Knowing the doctors at Save a Child's Heart, we believe they'll try to surgically remove the extra fingers to help Rawa feel that he fits in with other children.