Air bubbles in brain

Written by Elise and Luisa

Today was the long-awaited day of Liya’s Glenn surgery. I went to Sheba Medical Center early in the morning to see Liya before the surgery started, but it was delayed for one hour, so we played a bit together. Her mother was very worried as this is a big surgery and there was some survival-risk for Liya.

Finally some doctors entered the room, managed the paper work with Liya’s mother and picked up Liya. From that point on, Liya’s mother and I had to wait. I’m glad there were some other mothers from Gaza in the hospital at the moment, they comforted her a bit and even made her laugh.

For seven hours we had to wait for the surgery to end. Finally the surgeons came out to talk with us. From the first moment I saw them I had the feeling something was wrong because they weren’t talking to Liya’s mother right away to say the surgery went well or as planned. Instead they had a small ‘doctor meeting’ in the hallway at first, sometimes looking over to us. I was so scared that Liya didn’t make it, but the surgeon reassured us that for now Liya is okay.

It was explained that they found a hole in Liya’s pulmonary artery. They were suspecting air to enter the blood stream through it and collect in Liya’s brain, so they closed the hole and didn’t do the Glenn surgery. The new plan was to get rid of the air bubbles by getting Liya to a Hyperbaric Chamber. At first her doctors had to get a CT-Scan of Liya’s brain, to reassure that she has no bleeding there, which would make the Hyperbaric treatment impossible. Thanks be to God she wasn’t bleeding!

As soon as that was confirmed, they called an ambulance for her, since there is no Hyperbaric Chamber in Sheba Hospital, so we moved her to another hospital half an hour away.

When we arrived at that hospital at 6 pm, Liya’s treatment started immediately. The doctors let us know we had to wait for six hours.

Shortly after they began, coworkers Lena and Luisa came to the hospital since Liya’s mother and I had had a long day and needed some support. In the waiting time we explored the hospital a bit and Liya’s mother showed us some photos of her family. It was a great time we spent together and Liya’s mother seemed to be able to relax more and more.

At midnight the six hours were finally finished and the doctors carefully removed Liya from the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. We then rushed Liya back to the Pediatric ICU at Sheba Hospital. On the way there it was such a high-tension situation, but Liya’s mother seemed really strong and even made jokes with the nurses who joined Liya’s trip to the other hospital.

But once Liya was back in her room in the ICU to be stabilized, the reality of the situation became clear. Her doctor later explained to me that Liya is in a very critical situation. She wasn’t doing well at all despite receiving the maximum dose of medication. With a saturation that was okay and a very low blood pressure, she wasn’t that stable.

With the words of the doctor, “We hope she will make it,” I realized how critical the whole situation was at that moment.

When I went into Liya’s room to see her a last time before I had to leave, she didn’t look good at all and I almost didn’t recognize her because her face was so puffed. But I was relieved when I saw that at least her mother seemed somehow okay. Many family members called her, so she wasn’t alone. I’m still in a state of wonder as to how she went through this day without crying so much. Although she shed a few tears, she seemed to be fine although really worried.

Please continue to pray for Liya and her mother. Right now they need our prayers and our support to get through this hard time. But please also thank the Lord, our Heavenly Father, for how far our little girl has already come. This is surely a miracle!