“Akher jar”

This morning we woke up early to bring Lava to Sheba hospital for her last bronchoscopy. This was not for a dilation, but for the doctor to look exactly at her trachea, and determine if she is 100% safe to return to Kurdistan. We’ve been hoping this is the last broncoschopy (akher jar) since the procedure was scheduled two weeks ago. It was quite a high-stakes day for Lava’s mum because if they saw she needed another balloon dilation, it would be another two months of follow-up care here, and Lava’s mum was afraid of this.

After the doctors took Lava into the OR, we went to a nearby Cafe to get coffee. This took us about fifteen minutes and then we went back to the waiting area. We were sitting, drinking the coffee for less than five minutes, before the surgeon came out and brought us into a room to talk, where the long-awaited news came. Lava can safely return to Kurdistan. Doctors concluded in the likelihood that Lava grows, her stenosis will not return. There is always a chance though and her mother knows to follow-up with a doctor in Kurdistan for this. After two months since her last balloon dilation, Lava has not had any further episodes and has remained in a very good condition.

After the bronchoscopy, we sat together waiting for Lava to come around from the anesthesia. Her mother and I went back through our memories with one another. We went through the time of Lava’s second cardiac surgery; this was the first time we really talked together. We remembered the days after in the ICU, Lava’s first bronchoscopy and all the subsequent ones, the appointments, admissions, ER visits, not to mention¬†the memories of living together and of all that we both experienced with other families in the past five months. I basically owe all the Kurdish I’ve learned to Lava’s mother!¬† Also while we were talking, I thought how very extraordinary it is that I should have the privilege of knowing and loving Lava and her mum, a rare mum that I am blessed to call a friend, and Lava is a wonderful girl with, I pray, the brightest future ahead of her.

Goodbye will not be easy, but it will be the beginning of a new and beautiful chapter for them and their family.