At 8:20, our Gaza coordinator Amar texted to say that Ziad had died this morning. I quickly ran through the children that are hospitalized because I couldn’t believe that news. Maybe there had been a typo or a mistake. There was no one named Ziad at Hadassah Hospital; only one Ziad at Sheba. There hadn’t been a mix up.
The last blog from Thursday was celebratory and full of hope. There have been times that Ziad was in a very bad condition, on the ECMO machine or needing resuscitation, but not for the last few months. This was something none of us expected. Even as I write this, I can’t really believe I won’t see him tomorrow at the hospital. He went into cardiac arrest while in surgery to fix a problem with his gastrostomy. Devastating is a word that only begins to describe Ziad’s death. His cardiologist said today that this was the week they’d hoped to begin getting him ready to go back to Gaza.
His mother, and two older brothers will receive him today as he has gone back with his father. Please pray for all of them. There will always be a part of them that is missing without Ziad. May we hold this beautiful family before the Lord, and to the boy who loved blowing bubbles and playing with balloons, rest in the sweetest peace, my dear Ziad. You are deeply loved and so greatly missed.
There are occasionally some blogs that you just want to write in all capitol letters and lots of celebratory emojis, and this is one of them because Ziad has finally had his long-awaited surgery!
The doctors were able to do a peg tube in his stomach for feeding and began to close his tracheostomy. This last part they will do in increments and not all at once.
Please pray for Ziad that he recovers without any complications, that he gains weight, and that the trach could be completely closed and he will not need it again. The last time I saw Ziad in the Sheba Pediatric ICU, was when he was struggling to survive and had just come off the ECMO machine. Now this brave and beautiful boy is in a much better condition, and we truly praise God for this.
Today was supposed to be Ziad’s stomach surgery, but again it was postponed until a later date due to the lack of space in the Pediatric ICU of Sheba Medical. This has been the case for the past month, that because the ICU is at capacity, Ziad’s surgery cannot take place.
Of course, Ziad is only thrilled he no longer has to fast in anticipation for the anesthesia. But Ziad’s dad reminded me of something I was thinking about this week. In April, which is currently two months away, Ziad will have been at Sheba for one year. He also said that today he reached 8 kilograms, the highest weight he has had, while in the hospital.
The tracheostomy makes Ziad’s voice inaudible, but he and his father have a way of communicating that only they can understand. Today Ziad pointed to various items he wanted to play with. I’m always surprised at how good his memory is; for example he associates me with bubbles because we did those together two weeks ago, and he loved today when he, his dad, and I passed a balloon between us. I mean, he really laughed as we did this, and whenever the balloon would fall to him.
Please pray for this sweet boy. What a long road it has been. I know we are all looking forward to here his voice again.
When co-worker Georgia and I visited Ziad at Sheba Medical Center today, he was in the middle of physical therapy. He doesn’t enjoy this, but his room was gradually full of people cheering him on, including his dad, the physical therapist, Georgia and I, and eventually one of the women who brings the meals and laundry around the ward. Like many of the hospital staff, she has known Ziad throughout the months he has been here, and also like most of us once you know Ziad, you can’t help but adore him.
It was nice to spend time with Ziad and his dad. There is a plethora of toys stowed in a small play-size table that fits on his bed, so we drew from this during our time together. Ziad loved the bubbles by far, and enjoyed when I caught them on the end of the wand so he could pop them with his hand.
Please continue to pray for Ziad as he waits for his surgeries. We love this beautiful boy.
Ziad is preparing for his first procedure since his Tracheostomy almost exactly three months ago. This procedure will place a feeding tube in his stomach. They will attempt this first, and soon after close his Tracheostomy.
Please be praying for Ziad. Today he went to an X-ray for his abdomen, and after coming back, he had some problems from even this slight excursion. Even small interventions take a heavy toll on his body. I can’t help but feel anxious for him given his prior surgeries, and certainly his parents feel this anxiety amplified.
May God sustain his fragile life, as He has done many times before. God grant him an extra dose of strength to hang on and bring him healing.
Today I visited our lovely Ziad and his father in the Pediatric Department of Sheba Medical Center. During this visit, doctors came into the room to see how Ziad is doing.
One doctor spoke Arabic. He told the father, that they want and plan to close Ziad’s Tracheotomy. This was big news for which Ziad’s father was very grateful. I saw how happy this man was at this announcement. It means cute little Ziad will be able to breathe independently afterwards.
Please pray that this day comes soon and that little Ziad grows in strength and is in a good physical condition to prepare for this intervention!
When I went to Sheba Medical Center today to visit our precious little Ziad, a nice lady was cleaning the room and the floor. Therefore the floor was wet and I thought, while I wait for the floor to dry, I can visit a couple of our other children who are in the hospital.
However, when I was about to leave the Pediatric ward, Ziad’s father came to meet me. He then told me that Ziad was slowly getting better, bit by bit. It is always nice to visit little Ziad and his father. Despite the fact that Ziad has been here for so long, his father has incredible patience and never asks when he can finally go home or why it is taking so long.
On the contrary, Ziad’s dad always exudes a relaxed calmness at every visit, and is grateful that his son is being given the opportunity to heal.
Please continue to pray for our precious little Ziad and his patient father, that the wait will eventually pay off and be well worth it, and that another stomach surgery will not be necessary.
Ziad is working on taking food orally, which, God willing, he will be able to eat consistently. At just under eight kilos, there is hesitation to bring him into a big stomach surgery as he is still very weak, so please be in prayer for this sweet boy.
Months ago, when Ziad’s mother was in Israel with him, we discovered that he found it fun to eat food via the ‘airplane’ method, which is, at least where I come from, a fun, classic way to have your child finish his dinner. Each spoonful zooms towards a child’s mouth like an airplane that has to land inside. Ziad responded well to this today when I played this fun eating game with him. He enjoyed how, after each bite, his dad and I would clap for him in encouragement.
It was also very good to see how communicative Ziad was. Multiple times in his life, he’s needed resuscitation. He was on the ECMO machine for about a week, but after all of that he is cognizant of how to express what he wants. It is a small thing, but also a significant one. We love Ziad so much and ask you to keep praying for this wonderful boy and his family.
For the seven months, Ziad was with his mother in the hospital. She would say how much Ziad’s father loves him and how much Ziad loves his dad; I think this picture tells exactly that. His father repeated what his mother had said, that for however long it takes for Ziad to heal, is no problem.
“For however long it takes,” are words of true and pure love, they are an unconditional commitment to the well-being of the beloved. The hospital staff also see this. I was talking with a nurse who was saying that both the mother and father of Ziad are outstanding parents, they’ve learned how to take care of his stoma and tracheostomy, and they do this day in and day out. It’s impossible to speak highly enough of Ziad’s parents.
And Ziad will need more time once he gains enough weight to make it to eight kilos. Then they will look at closing his stoma. He’s also frequently spiking fevers which take a disproportionate toll on him with all that he has been through.
Please keep this sweet boy in your prayer. I know a prayer of thanksgiving in my heart has been and will continue to be for the gift of such an incredible family to care for Ziad.
I found Ziad in a general pediatric ward today- he was sleeping soundly in his crib. I was so happy to see him and his dad. I had seen them before I left for some vacation. Ziad was in the ICU and hanging on to life. Now however, a nurse told me he is doing a lot better than before. His fever was down today, which is a good sign as well.
When I saw his dad, he was on the phone with Ziad’s mother. She is as beautiful as always and looked so well. I received a virtual tour of their house in Gaza on the phone. I really am in awe of Ziad’s parents; the commitment they have for each other and their family is so strong.
Please keep praying for this beautiful family; Ziad is a miracle, his parents know this, and treasure him. This beautiful boy is still in need of prayer throughout this time.
When I arrived to visit Ziad and his dad today, a nurse was inside checking his room to check on Ziad. Since yesterday he‘s not been doing well and has a fever but they don’t have know why. They tried to play with him with some toys but he wasn‘t amused and more sad and didn‘t want to play. So after a few minutes he just fell asleep. I asked the dad about his wife because they were planning for her to come to the hospital but he wasn‘t sure if and when she would be able to come because the borders are closed right now. Please continue praying so that the fever will disappear and he will become stable.
We found Ziad’s dad cheerfully by his side today, and Ziad at peace (as long as he can look up now and then and see that his papa is nearby). He still has good days and bad days, as his system is easily disrupted. Today, thank God, was a good day.
Ziad’s father is not willing to return home to Gaza until his son is stable enough to face conditions there. It is good to see his level of sacrificial commitment. This is what godly fathers do: lay down their lives for their wives and children.
Ziad’s father and I agreed today that it’s one thing to see pictures, it another thing to see this precious boy firsthand. It’s evident that he’s been through a long and difficult battle. It’s also evident from the way he gazes at his wonderful nurses that he knows he is loved:
Ziad’s father is committed to caring for his son; let’s recommit ourselves to do our part in prayer and support for this faithful family.
My eyes had tears today when we visited Ziad. I tried to be strong in front of his father, but was so sad to see him laid down in his bed.
Today at Sheba Medical Center, Ziad had a Tracheostomy. The doctors are now waiting for the results from his X-ray and other tests, in order to decide the next steps for Ziad.
During this visit, I asked Ziad’s father how we can try to help him and he answered, ” My help is from God, and we must pray and pray to him that God will heal him.” I expressed to him that we are praying for Ziad and for them his parents also, that they will have strength during this time.
Please continue praying for this little one. We’re thankful that our good, good Father is in control.
Today, co-worker Julio went to pick up the father of little Ziad today from the Gaza border to bring him to the hospital. It was lovely to meet him, and they chatted about many things, having a connection over how they enjoy Columbian coffee in Gaza. As they spoke about Ziad, Julio shared that he fondly calls him “Zizu”, deeming the father to therefore be “Abu Zizu” or father of Zizu. Julio encouraged him with how loved and precious his son is, and how we have been praying for him so much.
Praise the Lord they were able to enter the hospital smoothly. It was an emotional and very special moment as Ziad’s mother reached the car to see him. The two parents hugged each other, finally they were able to see each other for a brief moment after so many long, difficult and heavy months apart.
Each of them has been carrying a big burden; we have seen Ziad’s mother faithfully standing at the side of her son, through multiple surgeries and events for more than six months. Ziad’s father has now come to replace the mother and she returned home to Gaza today to be with her other children. Praise the Lord for this beautiful moment, and please keep praying for God’s will in Ziad’s life.
A week after the surgery to treat a wound infection, Ziad’s chest was successfully closed today at Sheba Medical Center. His mother came down to the fourth floor waiting area to spend there.
It was a busy day as there were three Gaza families that came to the hospital for admissions, and there was an Echo appointment. But I thank God because the timing worked out where I could be fully present with Ziad’s mother for most of the closure procedure.
She has been through this many times, and today was a minor procedure compared to some of the other operations Ziad has been through. She has become like a sister to me and so just to be there with her was a priority. No matter how long of a day it was, spending time with her is always something I look forward to.
Please keep praying for this family. It is my prayer that the Gaza border will approve permission for her husband to come and be Ziad’s guardian for a time so she can return home and embrace her two other boys.
Dear friends, please pray for Ziad as he continues to recover. It has been such a long road for him, and healing is never straightforward. He has developed a fever today, so please pray that the cause of the fever could be found and treated and not endanger his health.
When I look through the window and see his face, it makes me miss him so much. I am just praying that he will come back to us.
I also would like to ask you to pray for his father and two brothers back in Gaza. It has been six months since Ziad and his mother came to the hospital, and this whole time their family has been without them. And of course please keep his beautiful mother in prayer who has poured out her life these past six months.
We pray that Immanuel, “God with us,” is present with this precious family.
While in the Sheba Medical Center Intensive Care Unit, I was informed that Ziad was currently in the operating room. The doctors were working diligently to remove the cannulas from the ECMO machine. A healthcare professional shared that Ziad would be returning to the unit momentarily.
Literally a minute later, I turned around in response to hearing the sound of a hospital bed coming towards me. It was little Ziad, with his chest still open. Following him was his mother, holding co-worker Alena’s hand. It warmed my heart to see them together, and the bond that they have formed.
We waited together with Ziad’s mom outside in the waiting room. We watched the sun prepare to set. His mother has been with Ziad through these last five months. I hope she is able to rest and to soon see her two other boys at home in Gaza. I welcomed her to our home in Jaffa to visit the ocean, when Ziad is finally able to return there also. I hope this will occur one day, and that Ziad can enjoy the beauty of the sea.
His cardiologist updated his mother regarding Ziad’s heart. His left ventricle function is better and his right ventricle has shown slight improvement. Ziad is still battling high pressures in his lungs, as he has been for a long time. He’s been fighting even under sedation, grabbing the cardiologist’s hand in an echo. The doctor said this was a good sign because he is “still with us.” Praise God for Ziad’s life. Praise God because He is with us.
As I’m writing this, it has been 14 hours since Ziad’s surgery started. The surgery itself finished after five hours. According to doctors, they were able to accomplish what they wanted, but due to pulmonary hypertension, Ziad had to be placed on the ECMO machine, which is taking over for his heart and lungs.
The hope is that in a few days, after his body has rested and adjusted, he will come off the machine, but there was a large amount of bleeding after the fact. The doctors are still working to stabilize him late into the night.
Please pray, and intercede for Ziad and his mum. Looking to God for Ziad’s protection.
Ziad’s mom was just finishing up his bathing, ostomy care, and dressing him when I arrived to his hospital room in Sheba Medical Center. She quickly gave him her phone, and Ziad pressed the button to start the “Chicken Dance” song! He seemed to enjoy my chicken-like motions, and even waved his arms a few times in time to the beat!
It’s easy to see that Ziad is more tired and breathing more heavily than he was in the past; we hope that his next heart surgery will happen one day this week, and that having this intervention will bring needed improvement.
Please pray for Ziad and mother, who are both tired of the hospital, but aware that for Ziad’s medical needs, it is best to be there for care.
At Sheba Hospital today, co-worker Julio was so happy to see Ziad moving his arms and playing with the toys on his bed.
Ziad is currently waiting for his next heart surgery, which will hopefully improve his heart function. Please pray for Ziad and his mother, as they patiently wait for this surgery, trusting it will be scheduled soon.
Beautiful Ziad was smiling today as co-worker Colin brought him a perfectly-sized toy car for him to do physical therapy on. He was also quite verbal with us, as now he associates us with the chicken dance, so he was saying “Ja Ja” a lot and was eager to see chicken-dance videos.
He is in the secondary ICU now due to low oxygen and weakened heart function; it is possible he will go in for cardiac surgery this week to aid in this. It was a joy to see him and his mother.
Please pray for him. He has had a long road, with many ups and downs, but God has protected his life thus far, and we pray that through another surgery, God will sustain him and give him more life.
Today Erika and I saw Ziad for a short time through the window of the ICU at Sheba Medical Center.
His oxygen level dropped so he was transferred to the sixth floor for more monitoring. Since he was placed there, we could not enter his room. We talked to his mother and watched him beyond the glass.
Until we left, we did not understand the reason for the decrease in oxygen. Erika shared that Ziad appeared very restless when we saw him and the doctor came to check him.
She prayed the Lord would make His presence strong in Ziad’s little body which is experiencing trouble, and that the love of God would help Ziad get through this difficult time. Erika is hoping that Ziad’s mom would also feel His presence in the midst of this and relax.
Both yesterday and today, I had the joy of visiting Ziad and his mom at Sheba hospital. When co-worker Colin and I were with him yesterday, his mom was encouraging him to say the word for chicken in Arabic “djaj.” Ziad’s rendition of it was adorable. He loves videos of chickens, which is what spurred this, so we introduced him to an American children’s classic: the chicken dance!
Today, co-worker Erika and I had fun picking up where Colin and I left off yesterday. Ziad was, at some points, doing a few of the learned dance moves and was enjoying himself and the spectacle of two adults teaching him how to do the chicken dance. This has been one of my favourite memories with him so far. I love seeing him and his mother smile.
He’s been receiving physical therapy and the difference is apparent. Even though he can’t walk, he engages more of his body when he interacts.
His physical therapist walked in when we doing “baby shark” together. He encouraged us to keep doing this with Ziad as this assists in what she routinely does during his physical therapy sessions to help with his mobility.
Ziad’s mother is doing a wonderful job in keeping with the regiment of the physical therapist. Spending time with her and Ziad is always a gift.
Ziad went in for his third catheterization today. The process required a few hours and included some complications, but he was able to be extubated in the end so we as thank God for that.
For his last stomach surgery I waited with his mom. She said that whenever Ziad is having a procedure she feels so anxious. During this wait for his Catheterization, his mother joked that since being in the hospital with Ziad, her hair has turned more grey. They have been four months in the hospital. However, as we talked today, she explained that for her it is about Ziad getting better and not about the time.
I really love her, and wish I could somehow solve everything for them, but that’s impossible for me to do. Only in God’s time will Ziad recover. Please pray for them both.
Today we went to visit little Ziad. His mom was so glad to receive us. Ziad was awake and watching YouTube videos on his device.
Co-worker Debi brought a little bubble solution and began to blow tiny bubbles across the room. Some flew over Ziad, putting a big smile on his face. Ziad’s mom also enjoyed blowing bubbles and trying to catch some for her little son. We also sang together the popular song, ‘Baby shark.’ Ziad was smiling and dancing, so it was a good time together.
Medically, there is not too much to report. Ziad is eating a little, but still needing to gain more weight for the next catheterization and for his stomach surgery. Thanks for your prayers for this little trooper.
Today, we found Ziad on the fifth floor in the General Pediatric Ward of Sheba Medical Center. He was moved here three days ago from the Intensive Care Unit. He is receiving injections for a blood clot in one leg. He had an ultrasound to check the status of the clot. He is also still on antibiotics from his infection that sent him to the ICU, but he was awake, alert, and in an interactive mood today.
He is receiving milk through a nasal tube but is also slowly eating solid foods as well, and praise God his stomach has been able to handle it. Please keep praying for precious Ziad and his mother who is very tired after four months and still a long way to go.
Through many ups and downs has the Lord brought Ziad. We thank him for the work of healing thus far.
Ziad was taken to the ICU this morning after four days with an unabated fever. He has bacteria in his blood that possibly issued from the sight of his stomach surgery. His little frame is so frail and his body is struggling to fight this infection. It has been, quite honestly, very upsetting to see him continually so unwell, and then somehow get even worse.
As I sat contemplating what to pray for, the words from one of my favorite hymns repeated in my head, “What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul? What wondrous love is this, oh my soul? What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.”
I find that with those words, I remember Paul’s words, “He who did not spare his only Son.” Because of the ultimate act of love we see in Jesus, I know I can trust in the grace of God, He is a safe place.
May your grace, Lord, be the refuge for Ziad’s mom. Thank you for giving our minds the comprehension to understand medicine and for creating our bodies to respond to medication. May the antibiotics fight off the bacteria which is in his blood stream. Amen.
We visited Ziad today at Sheba Medical Center. He was looking good despite the fever he presented with yesterday. The doctors are running various blood tests to determine the cause of the fever.
In the meantime, Ziad is receiving antibiotics.
He enjoyed looking at pictures in our phone as his mother was trying to feed him. In general, they were in a good mood. There is not yet a decision about when to perform the next surgery. Keep him in your prayers, that Ziad would soon be bacteria-free and fever-free.
Ziad looks so frail, but he has his mother’s strong heart. When his mother told us his weight, we realized how small he is. She hopes her son can regain weight and strength. He needs extra supplements to maintain his nutritional health. Coworker Georgia and I enjoyed our time together with Ziad, which may have also involved a little bit of dancing. He enjoyed watching videos on the phone of other children from Shevet Achim. Please pray that Ziad would grow and also to find his strength in God.
When I entered Ziad’s room at Sheba Medical Center, his mother was standing at his doorway. I could hear him quietly whimpering inside. She gestured for me to come in. I saw Ziad’s tiny frame lying in the crib. He was moaning for water. His mother proceeded to explain that previously he had been able to eat, little by little, but two days ago he vomited and since then has been fasting as his body slowly adjusts to his stomach surgery. He is only allowed a few syringes of water a day.
Today, he had been awake since three in the morning, whimpering and crying; his mum was by his bedside comforting him, though he was only consoled by the syringe of water she gave him, and after it was finished his crying would resume.
It’s hard to know exactly what to do for them. I wanted to help or make it better for Ziad and easier for his mom, but I couldn’t. I could only converse and try to encourage her. In these circumstances, all you have is time, time to stay with them to show they aren’t alone, that you love them and do care for them. I was blessed today because of the way the appointments worked out. I could be with them for longer than usual.
Please pray for Ziad, that God would work in his body to make it possible for him to eat and drink and get prepared for his second stomach surgery which will be in a few months. Please also pray for his mom, just practically, that tonight she and Ziad will sleep soundly and wake up rested to face another day.
Ziad has remained stable enough to be moved out of the intensive care unit, and back into a general ward at Sheba Medical. It was a pleasure to be able to see his mum again, as it hasn’t been possible to visit her due to Coronavirus restrictions.
Ziad is still recovering from surgery; he is now having a small amount of milk via an NG tube.
Please pray that he continues to recover and also that his lovely mum will have strength and encouragement as she remains by his side.
Ziad continues to recover from his Ileostomy surgery in the Intensive Care Unit of Sheba Medical Center. He had appeared to be making progress, and even begun orally feeding, but it seems that his body just isn’t ready to be processing food in this way yet.
Please keep praying for Ziad and his mum after this surgery.
Ziad underwent his first surgery for Hirschsprung’s disease. His mom had to release him into the arms of the doctors once again. Not for the first time, her poise and strength during Ziad’s surgery amazed me. She is so committed to him and to doing what he needs.
The operation was in the General Hospitalization Tower of Sheba Medical Center, so we were surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the nearby mall and pedestrian traffic hurrying down the corridors. We got coffee from the shop and for about three hours vacillated between sipping it, talking, laughing, becoming Facebook friends, and concentrating in silence.
There was a television screen in the waiting area that told the names of the patients, what time they went into surgery and what stage they were in – operating room, recovery rooms, or released to the ward. It was cool because I can’t speak Hebrew, but I know enough to read, so I could type into ‘Google Translate’ for what the words meant.
At around 2:30 in the afternoon, the location status next to his name changed to recovery, signaling his surgery was done. Not even five minutes later, a nurse came outside to call in Ziad’s mom. She remained with him there until being transferred again to the children’s hospital.
Even though this wasn’t open heart surgery, Ziad’s mom still felt fear that his body, which has undergone so much, would fail. But thank God that he has made it safely through another operation. Thanks for your prayers for this little fellow.
It had been a while since I’ve seen Ziad and his mum, so today was a really good time to be with them again. I’ve really missed them.
I’ve heard that translation has a lot to do with relationship as well as the knowledge of linguistics, and that when a relationship is established, communication is clearer and easier. I thought of that today as we were talking. My Arabic isn’t fluent, maybe proficient at best, and I also speak as a foreigner, often unable to pronounce specific vowels in the Arabic alphabet, but in all we talked about today, she understood me and I her. It is like being with an old friend.
Ziad was awake and alert. He will have surgery for his Hirschsprung’s disease next week, which is great because initially it was scheduled for the end of July!
Please continue to pray for this precious family. They’ve been in the hospital for over two months and still his mother has a beautiful disposition. I’m praying that there are no complications after this next surgery and he can be discharged soon after. Would you join with me in praying for this also?
I haven’t seen Ziad sitting up since the day before he went in for surgery. But today, co-worker, Colin and I found him on the general pediatric floor awake, alert, and sitting up!
He is still on supplementary oxygen, and it is often fluctuating, but I am in awe that this toddler who had to be resuscitated twice in one day a few weeks ago, was the same one before my eyes today. His mother was attentive to his every need, asking him what he wanted, did he want to eat, did he want to sleep? I was so happy at seeing them both. His mother also told us that he remembered and responded to a video chat with his father back in Gaza, which is so special.
In a month, Ziad will hopefully have a surgery for his Hirschsprung’s disease. Please continue to pray for Ziad and his mum, they’ve come so far, and still with more to go, we pray that God would strengthen them and at the end of this, see His goodness.
It was so lovely to see Ziad and his mother, who was smiling at the improvement of her son.
Ziad was moved to the second floor, which is now a part of the Intermediate Cardiac ICU at Sheba Medical Center. Praise God, neurologically he is looking much better! He has been sitting up and has been more interactive.
He is waiting for his Hirschsprung’s Disease surgery, which may be next week. Please pray for Ziad as he waits for his next procedure.
You’ve heard it said, slow and steady wins the race. And while we’d love it if every child could recover quickly and smoothly after surgery we can’t thank God enough that he has spared the life of Ziad. So far he is continuing to recover although very slowly.
When we saw him today, he was looking good and still on oxygen support. Please continue to pray for God’s hand to cover him and protect him. We can see even now evidence of God’s hand on his life and we pray that someday he will see the wonderful ways that God was (and is still) working in him.
The results of the ultrasound from yesterday look encouraging!
When my wife Anna and I met Ziad and his mum today, the surgeons came into his hospital room to speak about the scheduling of his next surgery.They also told us that they prescribed him antibiotics for the following six weeks to support his fight against the bacteria. Hopefully it all goes up for him soon.
To see him in this helpless state is so woesome. But I am reminded in II Corinthians 12, 9 of what He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Patiently, at Sheba Medical Center, Ziad is waiting for the neurologist to visit him to assess his brain condition.
He will have an ultrasound today of his abdomen to help identify what needs to be done for his future surgery. He cannot have his abdominal surgery until his condition is stable. Ziad is also receiving physiotherapy and treatments for his lungs.
His mother was bathing Ziad today, and she cared for him so beautifully and lovingly. She is so gentle with Ziad, and every time he opens his eyes, she is eager to see him.
Please continue to pray for Ziad as he recovers, and hopefully moves towards stability.
Little Ziad has needed resuscitation several times – firstly after receiving a Hickman line (a catheter line to allow medication to be easily administered), and then subsequently after every procedure requiring a lot of anaesthesia. Ziad’s doctors are worried that he may have some brain damage after all of these resuscitation efforts. A neurologist visited him today to access his brain condition.
The love Ziad’s mother has for him is enormous; through everything she has been by his side. Despite her pain, her love just seems to shine through, and she welcomes us with so much kindness. Please keep praying for the whole family.
As co-worker Georgia and I arrived at Sheba Medical Center and made our way to where little Ziad was, we discovered that Ziad was just being extubated. We can thank God for this, as he has had trouble being extubated in the past.
However after his cath yesterday, as well as during, he needed to be resuscitated; the second time, his mother witnessed it, which contributed to the fear she expressed today. It is too early to tell, but the doctor was positive about his ability to breathe without mechanical ventilation.
Georgia and I and his mum sat together; she had asked for a spice called ‘Zataar’ and Amar, one of our Gaza coordinators made sure she didn’t just have the normal supermarket brand, but instead procured the spice from a specialty store.
Please pray she can tangibly feel that she is not alone and that we love her in word and deed, and please also pray we can give an answer for the love we have received in Christ.
Thank you for praying for Ziad. I’m not exactly sure how prayer works, it will always be at least partly a mystery. Regardless of this, we are commanded to pray and to do so in the context of thanksgiving and in petition, and I believe our prayers have affected the preservation of Ziad’s life.
I had a special time waiting with Ziad’s hopeful and sweet mother today during his catheterisation. She was in a good spirit, even though she was worried about the risk of possible brain damage during the procedure. It was very enjoyable to spend time with her, and to get to know her more. It is a difficult time, to see many of the other children seeming to be improving faster, and being moved into other departments. His mother is waiting earnestly yet patiently for her own baby’s recovery.
The cath was not too long. When Ziad was brought back to his room, the doctor shared that they were able to use a balloon to dilate his pulmonary artery. However, the pressure of his lungs is still high, and it had been a difficult time for Ziad. He remains intubated in the Intensive Care Unit, although his condition is now stable. The doctors need to discuss what should be done for him next.
Please pray for Ziad, who is tired and on a long journey with his health. Please pray also for his beautiful mother, that she will continue to have hope and peace, knowing that her son is in God’s hands.
Upon our arrival to Sheba Medical Center, it was surprising to hear that Ziad had been moved to the less intense section of the ICU. But nonetheless, we found him there, extubated and without oxygen support!
Tomorrow, he will have a catheterization to check how his heart is, but also to open his pulmonary artery.
Please keep praying for Ziad, there is so much to give thanks for, especially that he was able to be extubated after crashing last week. Please pray for his cath tomorrow and also pray for the other parts of his body that need treatment such as his colon, which they want to treat only after his heart is in a good state. His mother is very concerned about his neurological state. There is much on her shoulders to care for her boy, please pray we can bless her and comfort her during this time.
Please pray for precious Ziad who was intended to have a cath today but his heart stopped. He received resuscitation and was thereafter intubated for a second time.
I just think of his mom, and can only ask you to pray for his life. Thank you Lord for preserving him. We ask you to do in his body what you are doing in all believers – making us whole, healing us, making us new. You are the God of the living, and we pray that you give life to Ziad.
It was so good to see Ziad again today and the first thing I noticed was that he was extubated! They did the extubation two days ago, and since then he was been withdrawing also from the sedation. He has been diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease which affects his colon. He will need a surgery for this but first the doctors want to make sure his heart is completely well. And they will still do an interventional heart catheterization, hopefully at some point this week!
Ziad was moving around a lot today and responded when he heard his father on the phone, which are hopeful indicators for further improvement. Please keep praying for this beautiful boy and his wonderful mum.
Today we got to go into the Children’s’ Cardiac Ward at Sheba Medical for the first time in months as the Corona restrictions are methodically relaxed, and to get to visit Ziad and his mum was very special.
He was supposed to have a catheterization today, but due to a recent fever it has been postponed. He was intubated still as he is unable to breathe on his own. The nurse said that his heart is working, but not well enough.
Seeing his mum was like seeing a dear sister. I was so happy to be with her again. She explained that he didn’t have a fever last night but in the days previously and that the cath he will have is supposed to be interventional.
Everyday she asks a nurse or doctor if he is better than the previous one. As she told me this, she was full of hope that each new day would bring for her son. She is very eager to see him recover but also committed to be by his side until he is fully well, no matter how long that road is.
Please continue to pray for these two, who are so dearly loved, especially for his upcoming catheterization.
Ziad’s mother reports today that he has a fever and swollen abdomen, which his doctors are attempting to get under control. They’re planning on a heart catheterization tomorrow to try to understand why his condition is not improving, and also hoping still to wean him from mechanical ventilation.
Ziad is still in the ICU and on mechanical ventilation, with doctors reducing his breathing support slowly in an attempt to wean him from the device. Ziad’s mother reports that he may also have a heart catheterization on Tuesday to explore the reasons for his slow recovery. These are the times that both child, family and doctors are all in need of our faithful prayer support.
The report from Ziad’s mother is that he is struggling the day after his surgery, with complications including bleeding. Father, thank you for the care Ziad is receiving, both from your hand and through these doctors you have gifted to help him.
The last thing we heard of Ziad’s condition was on Thursday, that he had a fever and therefore his surgery would not likely be today, Sunday. However, I found his mum diligently waiting in the area outside the operating room. She recognized me before I recognized her. She had a mask up to her eyes and was wearing clothes I had never seen her in before. She walked towards me and greeted me.
She said Ziad, was in fact, in surgery. He was taken in at 8:30 a.m. and came out at around 4:30 p.m.
Since Sheba Medical Center has restrictions, that there can only be myself and co-worker Georgia attending families at the hospital due to the ongoing precautions against the Corona virus and because today was a hectic day with a lot to do in it, I couldn’t spend the time I wanted to by Ziad’s mother’s side for the surgery.
Ziad requires substantial medical intervention in addition to his cardiac care, and requires some care toward his neurological problems as well, which his mum is very concerned about. When the surgeon came to say the surgery was finished and that he was really happy with the results, she asked if it would help him walk, but the surgeon answered no, this is sometimes a different problem apart from the heart.
One of the first things Ziad’s mother told me when we met nearly three weeks ago, was that she loves her son very much. I can’t fathom how deeply she must desire his whole person to be well. We can pray for this, that God will provide and make a way for Ziad to receive treatment in every area of need. We also thank God and rejoice in the victory of a very successful surgery. His mother asked that no post-operative picture of Ziad be taken, so we thought that a beautiful picture of him will be perfect to look at and to help us remember to pray for this wonderful boy.
It was another full day of studies for Ziad today, as doctors learn everything they can about his condition before decided how to approach repair of his heart defect. Mom reports that he is still awaiting a head CT before a decision can be made.
Today we found Ziad catching some zzzzs as he waited for his heart catheterization. Doctors at Sheba wish to study the anatomy of his heart more carefully in order to plan a course of surgery. It’s not an easy repair, and Ziad’s young mother expressed her gratitude for their acceptance at Sheba after two other hospitals turned her son away.
Just under two years old, Ziad from Gaza came for an echo today. It showed DORV and pulmonary atresia, but because he is stable the original plan was to have him go back to Gaza and come in month for a CT scan and cath.
However Amar and Jonathan helped with having Ziad stay at the hospital for the CT scan and cath now because if he went back today they would have to stay in a hospital in Gaza, completely isolated for 28 days due to coronavirus quarantine.
In order to hospitalize Ziad today, this meant he would must pass a corona test today. The results were fast tracked, and all the staff was very helpful. In the end we waited six hours together for them, and though neither Georgia nor I expected the day to go like this, it was a really beautiful time. We were sitting together and talking. Initially when she arrived, Ziad’s mum was very apprehensive as Sheba was new to her. But over the hours, and this is perhaps one of my favorite things, she gradually warmed up to the circumstances and to us. Not just in spoken details about her life, but in her mannerisms, in her smile, and even by the end we understood eachother much better than at first though there was little change in how I spoke Arabic. But much of translation is dependent on relationship and certainly if one thing can bond people together it is sitting in a hospital eating dinner and praying the corona test results come back negative.
Ziad also got used to his surroundings and after about five hours of being together he started to smile. Georgia and I played peek a boo with him and found other ways to evoke his infectious laugh, like playing with our masks. It is a wonder to meet each child and see a little bit of how God has made them specifically. It was a blessing to enjoy one another for these hours.
At 8:45 we got the results: no corona! We brought them to the children’s ward and once they were settled we said goodbye (and goodnight). Half way to the car we realized we forgot something in her room, so I ran back to get the bag we had left behind. We hugged and she asked if we would be at the hospital tomorrow (I told her Georgia would be and that I would see her in two days) and we said goodbye again with much laughter and love.
So even though today was an unexpected journey, it was a really special day with a very special new family. Please pray for Ziad and his mother. He will be having a cath this week to assess his heart, and we trust in God that he holds his future.