A song he will never forget
Today was the bittersweet day where we finally had to say goodbye to our good friends Hussein and his mother. After more than three months in Israel, two surgeries and very much waiting time we could finally send Hussein with a healed heart back to Kurdistan. I realized even more what a blessing and miracle it is that he is doing so well now after other kids just recently died. Thank you Lord for all you did in his life!
In his entire time here Hussein just brought so much joy into our lives. Especially the last weeks he mostly spent his days with us together in the staff house. He was “helping” us with our work, playing with us or just sitting next to us and singing a song. He loved to go with us outside to the park with Shevie, by bike to the beach or join us on a run with his little scooter. And we had fun teaching him words in English, Spanish and German while he was trying to teach us his own unique dialect of Kurdish.
His mother was such a lovely caring friend, sister and mother to all of us and we are so thankful for all she did for us, for her patience and the trust she had in us. Spending time with her and going with her through good and hard days was such a blessing. We love her so much and will never forget her!
Today I had the honor to bring the two of them along with another family to the airport and at the same place where I welcomed this cute little boy three month and six days ago, we now had to say goodbye. From everything Hussein loved here, he probably loved the most our song “Shevet Achim” that he used to sing all day long. And so this was the last song we were singing all together at the airport before we were sending them home.
Even though Hussein probably won’t remember a lot of things he has experienced here, this song he will probably never forget.
And God this is my prayer for them as they are on their way home right now: that they will remember their time here as a time where they could see how good it is when brothers live together in unity. That one day they will understand that the love we have for each other and for them is only a glimpse of the love that YOU have for Hussein and his mother. Please bless them and their time back home with all the challenges that lie in front of them. You will never forget them!
Hussein had his final echo at Sheba hospital this morning with great results. It’s been seven weeks since his big surgery and his heart is doing very well– well enough, in fact, that he can go home to Kurdistan!
Hussein is best friends with everyone he meets, including his cardiologist, and he was excited to take a picture together at the end of the appointment.
Today, I drove Hussein and his mother to Sheba Hospital for an echo appointment to see how he is progressing post-surgery. The doctors were happy with the images on the screen and enjoyed checking-in with him. Many of the nurses passing by recognized Hussein and were beaming to see him healthier. The cardiologist wants him to stay in Ashdod for at least two more weeks so they can make sure he’s good to go before sending him home to Kurdistan.
Hussein is always a joy to be with at the hospital. Many of the volunteers have heard him tell animated stories of his surgery and hospital stay. While he was a little nervous during the echo and ECG, he kept a smile on his face, and I got to teach him how to have a thumb war. He seemed to have success using both of his hands, leaving me hopelessly outnumbered.
It’s a true privilege to have gained the trust of this remarkable child. He lights up every room he enters and we are praying the Lord continues to provide for his body as it heals.
Electrocardiogram and echo today
Hussein had a little fluid in his left pulmonary artery, which is normal in the kind of surgery he had three weeks ago. Today he had an electrocardiogram. The doctors checked also his oxygen height and weight before his echo.
Hussein was so nervous about the procedure, so we played during the process and reminded him this was only a routine check.
After the procedure, Hussein found a lot of friends in the halls of Sheba Hospital, all of whom came around him and said hi. Hussein is usually happy and with a lot of energy before his procedures. In particular, he likes listening to this singer you see on his mother’s phone.
Because one of his valves is narrowing, he has an echo appointment in two weeks.
Hussein was discharged to Ashdod today after his fairly quick recovery.
Hussein had to said good bye so many times today to all the friends he made while he was in the hospital. All his friends were happy to see how fast he recovered, and how he has become more active and smiling. His recovery time has been going well.
Hussein will have his a follow up appointment at Sheba Hospital in one month to check his progress after the surgery and to check on the medication they gave him.
Oxygen support and some discomfort
Today in our visit to Sheba Hospital, we found our little Hussein walking slowly through the hospital’s hall with an oxygen tank. The reason for his oxygen support was that during the night and in the morning, his oxygen levels dropped to 88%.
In the morning, we saw a clown who had already become Hussein’s friend. He tried to walk faster to hug her, but because of the pain, his movements are limited. It’s good to see Hussein’s recovery and healing every day.
In the midday, we saw that Hussein’s mom makes friends easily. One of them took us into a music and art room.
The hospital staff thought it would lift Hussein’s spirits. We spent a good time there; Hussein was trying his music skills on the piano the way he does in our community house.
However this time, a bit less joyful and active because of the pain.
Please pray for Hussein’s completely recovery.
Today was finally the big surgery day for our friend Hussein. When coworker Lilly and I entered Sheba Hospital this morning, Hussein had just entered the OR.
In the beginning, Hussein’s lovely mother was quite nervous and cried a little bit, but later we had lots of fun together. Some other mothers and grandmothers from Gaza and Kurdistan who were also in hospital, joined us while waiting; we were eating, talking and laughing together.
After six hours, the doctor came out and told us the relieving news that everything went well and Hussein is stable. They were putting a patch over the hole in his heart and widened his pulmonary artery and fixed up all the problems in his heart. They still have to decide in the coming weeks if Hussein may need another surgery or catheterization when he is older.
After a little more waiting time, Hussein’s mother could finally enter his room and was so happy to see her beloved child.
The first thing she realized and showed us with a big smile on her face, were his hands. She said, “They are not blue anymore.” And indeed, you can really see a big difference.
Thank you Lord that the surgery went so well for my little friend! Please let him recover soon and without complications! Thank you that you love him and his mother so much!
This evening, coworker Tatiana and I brought our little friend Hussein back to Sheba Hospital for his surgery tomorrow morning.
We enjoyed the whole weekend with him in our community home in Ashdod very much.
He loves to come for a visit to our staff house to try his music skills on the piano,
to play with our dog Shevie, or to just spend time with us girls.
It is always so much fun with him and it’s especially cute when he practices his English and counts with us to ten or says “I love you” which sounds more like “Alibu.”
Yesterday, we had to bring him to the hospital for a short blood test, which he didn’t like at all. However, after it was done, he was again smiling very quickly when I told him that we are going home to Shevie now.
Another detail regarding our hospital visit this evening, Hussein was crying very hard as soon as the doctor entered the room. We stayed a little while with him in the room and he was in my arms until he was finally calming down. He kept saying that he wants to go back with us and doesn’t want us to leave, but in the end, he was okay.
Lord I pray that the surgery for our beloved Hussein will go well tomorrow! Please bless him and his wonderful mother!
Our little friend Hussein is doing great after his dental surgery at Sheba Children’s Hospital yesterday. He was happy to see us again today, but was also really tired.
He will already have his heart surgery on this coming Sunday, but as he is doing so well, there is no reason for him to be in the hospital over the weekend. He was sent therefore by the doctors on “vacation” to Ashdod, and we have to bring him back to the hospital on Saturday evening for his surgery on Sunday.
When I drove him and his mother back to Ashdod, he was directly falling asleep in the car. For now they are really happy to have a weekend of rest in our house and we will enjoy our time with them. Let us pray for Hussein’s surgery on Sunday and also thank God that he can finally have it now!
A CT-scan and a dental assessment
Today I drove together with little Hussein and his wonderful mother early in the morning to Sheba Medical Center. When we went out of our house, he was very tired and wrapped in a blanket, which was so cute.
We had to wait a few hours for his CT-Scan, but it was no problem for him and his mother. Actually we had a very nice time together. His mother and I talked a lot and he was just sitting around and watched sleepily what was happening around him. After a time he was more awake and so more active.
Then finally they called his name and made his CT-Scan. Afterwards we had to wait a little bit until he was awake again from his anesthesia.
He did a great job and was so brave. Also his mother was so wonderful and cared so lovely about her son. I could really see how save and comfortable he felt in her arms.
After everything was done there, we went to his dentist appointment. He needs a tooth operation so that he won’t have any bacteria in his mouth. It is essential before his big heart surgery, that his body is not weakened by anything like this. When we said to him that we were going to the dentist now, he just said “no, no, no” and was a little bit afraid. He absolutely didn’t want to go there, but he had no other opportunity. On the way to the dentist building, we came across a pond.
We stayed there a few minutes, because he really loved and was so excited about watching the fish.
After a short waiting time, we went into the dentist room and he started immediately crying. Everybody in the room was trying to make him happy again and the doctor was also very friendly. The doctor allowed him to raise the lounger up and down and he showed Hussein every instrument before he used it, so Hussein was a little bit more calm. Just after a few minutes, the dental check was done. The doctor only checked real quickly which teeth they have to fix, and Hussein did very well.
After everything was done, we drove together back to our home in Ashdod. We spent a really wonderful time together with a lot of laughter and it is very nice to see how joyful and active Hussein is. Please pray for this cute boy, his lovely mother and for a tooth surgery appointment soon.
Today we picked up Hussein and his mother at Ben Gurion Airport They already planned to travel with coworkers Jonathan, Willem and two other families last week, but due to a problem with their visas, they had to stay in Kurdistan.
Now, a week later it worked and we are very happy to welcome them in Israel. Hussein is such a cute guy. He was very tired of the long travel and soon slept in the car. Hussein’s mother is also so lovely.
We pray that they have a blessed time in Israel with us in Ashdod and that Hussein can get his needed treatment at the Sheba Medical Center and everything goes well.