One ‘swallow study’ closer to home

When we arrived to Maryam’s room this morning at Sheba her grandmother lit up with joy to see Jakob and immediately greeted and welcomed the new Shevet volunteer Grant. We talked and talked with broken English, broken Arabic and broken Google Translate! Maryam was wide awake – noticing everything with her beautiful bright eyes and was grasping for anything within reach with her delicate long fingers.  Maryam looks like she is feeling good today, but a bit fussy with hunger as she awaits her planned swallow study this morning – still very tiny and needing to gain more weight and strength.

We all crowded into a transport van to be driven to the radiology building and Grant & Grandmother gowned up in lead covering to be able to hold and to feed Maryam during the imaging study.  Such a tiny delicate miracle child to hold.  The grandmother fed Maryam first a soft food with a spoon, and then a bottle – to be able to test Maryam’s swallow ability with both types of substances.  Both foods were mixed with Barium to allow for the moving X-ray to capture the image of her swallow ability.   Maryam was a perfect little subject for the testing – pleased to eat the soft food, but then very eager for the bottle.  When we were done, it was difficult to explain to the grandmother why Maryam couldn’t finish the bottle mixed with Barium that she was enjoying so much.  But eventually the grandmother, who is so gracious and patient was able to understand.  With a full tummy, sweet tiny Maryam immediately fell sound asleep – unphased by the loud and bouncy drive back to the children’s hospital.

We will wait until tomorrow for the results of this study and are eager to hear answered prayers that this last barrier has been cleared so that Maryam can return to Gaza.  The news is that Maryam will be transported by ambulance to the hospital in Gaza tomorrow.  The grandmother expressed relief to think about having Maryam closer to her family, and closer to her mother.  We are rejoicing with the grandmother and praising the Lord for his steadfast love and faithfulness that has brought this tiny child thus far.  Still a long road ahead for Maryam, but we trust and rejoice at the same time.