Yesterday was finally the day for our beautiful Liya to go back to Gaza. Early in the morning, before even entering the ICU, I already saw all her mother’s bags piled up next to the elevator. She was all excited and ready to go, and told me she was up at six in the morning in order to leave the hospital as early as possible.
I was home in Germany for two weeks just as Liya was in such a dangerous situation. I feared I would never see her again, and then after my return I was so so happy to hold her hand again. How much more must her own family, her father and her older siblings feel this. They haven’t seen Liya for over four months and didn’t know if she would ever come back to them! They live so close and are still not allowed to see her. What a big joy it must have been for the family to get reunited yesterday! For her dad to hold Liya again and for her mother to hug her other children again! Liya has still a long way ahead of her, and God willing will be back in Israel and in the ICU again.
At the same time Liya left the hospital yesterday, little Yousef from Gaza was wheeled back into the OR. During his first surgery on Sunday, Joanne and I waited for hours together with the nervous grandma until finally he was back in his room. The surgery went well and they did everything as planned, but Yousef’s heart was too weak to take all the changes and doctors had to put him on ECMO heart-lung support. They hoped within three days his heart would get strong enough to work again, but after hours in the OR yesterday they found that his heart is weaker than expected, and they had to increase the support again.
Please also keep remembering our friend Niyan from Kurdistan. After another week on the ventilator she successfully came off on Monday, and is now awake again and getting oxygen support with a bipap machine. It’s a special oxygen mask which is not very comfortable for her but helps her breathe. During the last days they were able to remove the mask for some hours and only put her on normal oxygen support.
Just a few rooms further little girl Asil from Gaza is still recovering from her big surgery two weeks ago. She is slowly getting better and stronger and yesterday they woke her up and took her off the ventilator:
Eslam from Gaza was left with a paralyzed diaphragm following his heart surgery nearly a month ago, which has kept him from being able to breathe on his own. He had a small surgery this week that doctors hope will allow him to breathe on his own soon.
Last week I wrote that Yazan and Hamza would probably go home to Gaza soon, but they are both still waiting at Sheba. Yazan‘s doctors discovered something suspicious in a CT scan of his brain. They can’t tell exactly what it is, so he needs to see a neurologist and probably have an MRI scan.
Hamzah is still not able to eat on his own because of a paralyzed vocal cord. He will receive food through an nasal tube until his doctors find a solution, and spends the days snuggling with his mother.
At Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, our coworker Berith shares that baby Mam from Kurdistan is looking more and more healthy after the battle for his life in the ICU:
Let’s also thank God for little Majed in Hadassah, who is still breathing on his own since coming off the ventilator for the seventh time last week! He’s getting a lot of oxygen support, and even though he still has some trouble breathing he is fighting until now.
Yesterday newborn Sham from Gaza arrived by ICU ambulance to Hadassah. She is only a few days old and diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta. Today they already took her into surgery to repair her aortic arch:
Little Salma from Gaza had her own difficult surgery and recovery a few weeks ago and is now doing very well! She is off oxygen support and eating on her own again.
Berith also asked us to especially keep praying for little Jude, whose heart is hardly functioning after his surgery. Doctors believe the only medical solution now would be a heart transplant, which is difficult to arrange for a child from Gaza.
And we ask for special prayer for newborn Wateen from Gaza, who was rushed to Hadassah two weeks ago. It turned out she didn’t have a serious heart defect as was first suspected; but instead she has a life-threatening syndrome which is affecting her kidneys.
Let’s thank God for answering our prayers for peace between Israel and Gaza. At the start of this week a ceasefire agreement was reached that is still holding. Sunday morning the border to Gaza opened again, and after a beautiful last lunch with all our waiting families we could send them home, thankful for the time we had with them and thankful that they can go back to their families now!
After they were all gone our house felt empty, and with not so many kids from Gaza coming this week it has been relatively quiet, and we had more time together as a community.
Today is the day Messiah ascended to the right hand of the Father, 40 days after his resurrection. We read in our morning meeting the last chapter of each of the gospels, and were especially touched by what is written at the end of Luke:
What an amazing thought, that the last thing the Messiah did on this earth was bless his disciples. His entire time here on earth he cared for others, loved them and blessed them – and he did so until God brought him home. What a beautiful reminder for us to also bless those around us with all our hearts – until God will take us home.
Thank you for joining us in prayer,
Doro for Shevet Achim