Asmaa’s surgery

Walking into Asmaa’s room at eight o’clock this morning felt a little bit like walking into my grandparents’ house. Almost immediately Asmaa’s grandma offered me tea and breakfast, insisting I take a seat at Asmaa’s bedside. Although she’d barely slept, she looked at me with a sincere kindness and hopefulness, her patient smile never wavering.

After this peaceful start to the day, everything started to get more complicated. The operating team called Asmaa and her grandma through to a little room and began to explain the procedure. Then, realising only the grandmother was present, they explained they needed the permission of a parent before going ahead.

Eventually this was managed with a three-way phone call involving the head surgeon, Asmaa’s father and co-worker Julio, our Kurdish translator.

In the midst of this chaos, I felt a sense of God’s peace, his hand over everything, despite all the confusion. I was so thankful he’d provided a way for us to get the parental permission the doctors needed.

We all shared a brief sense of relief before the doctors returned to call Asmaa into surgery. Julio, Asmaa’s grandma and I all waved encouragingly until Asmaa disappeared behind the operating doors.
Suddenly, the days and weeks of staying strong for Asmaa seemed to hit her grandma all at once. Overcome with emotion, she could no longer keep it in and the tears began to fall. The next five hours of waiting was definitely a roller coaster of emotions for her. Every time a familiar face appeared, the tears returned afresh, but in-between were so many moments of peace, and even laughter.

A few other mothers were at the hospital for various appointments and they faithfully sat with Asmaa’s grandma, encouraging her to eat and taking her mind off her fears. It was so beautiful to see the way they took care of her – the whole time she was never alone.

Finally, we heard the news that the surgery was finished and it had gone well. Asmaa’s grandma couldn’t hide her relief and joy, her beautiful smile radiant and contagious. Almost immediately, she was flooded with phone calls from various family members back in Kurdistan, all eager for news of Asmaa. Walking into the room, the nurse explained they were hoping to extubate her either today or tomorrow – this is great news.

As I reflect on the day, I see God’s hand clearly on each and every moment. There was a real sense of peace, a real sense of community and a tangible sense of God’s love. Please pray for Asmaa as she recovers from her surgery and thank God for His presence with her today.