One of the Kurdish parents said that you don’t have to ask how Salwa is doing, just look at her mother’s face (below middle) and you’ll know!
At this wonderful news all of the other Kurdish families celebrated Salwa’s improvement with her mother and with us. The families, the volunteers, and everyone who has prayed for her know the significance of this moment. The word ECMO becomes a sort of dreaded byword in the hospital because it is only reserved for the most dire of circumstances. Its purpose is to do the job of the heart and lungs, a buttress for these vital organs when they are in a drastically poor condition. The goal, as was realized in Salwa’s life, is for the body to be given enough of a rest that it can eventually cope without the machine. The sobering statistic that only half of the people put on ECMO ever come off is why so many despair for their loved ones when they have to be put on this machine. There really was no guarantee Salwa would ever live off of the ECMO, and yet here we find ourselves ending this week with her so much better off than when the week began.
After the surgery to switch her great arteries Khanda is now the closest she has ever been to discharge; in the words of the doctor, the only thing keeping her in the hospital is that she cannot feed properly:
She has a feeding tube to supplement her bottle, so once she can drink milk from her bottle sufficiently, they can remove the feeding tube, and she can come to our home in Jaffa.
Lia from Kurdistan was hospitalized this week after we brought her from Jaffa to the emergency room to check a persistent cough. The doctors saw she was in a good condition, but because she was refusing to drink or eat anything and had the beginning of a rash they decided it was better for her to stay in the hospital, especially as a toddler with a cardiac problem:
Our beautiful Meera has two chest drains in order to get rid of the fluid in her lungs. Please continue to pray for her. The days are often very long and busy at the hospital, but visiting with Meera is consistently one of the best parts. She has these big and inquisitive eyes that I hope and pray soon will be able to take in all the sights in the world, the beach, new friends, the sun instead of just her hospital room:
Her dad, this whole time, has never once complained about being in the hospital. He has a beautiful relationship with his daughter. Please pray for him and Meera’s mother back in Kurdistan.
It was a busy catheterization week for Shevet Achim kids as Hena from Iraq and Ghena, Yazen, and Kenan from Gaza all had caths.
Yazidi refugee baby Hena was extubated the day after her procedure, we are praying that the stent they placed in her heart will help her oxygen saturation increase. If they see this is effective, then hopefully at the end of May, once she finished the course of antibiotics, Hena can be discharged:
After a sudden worsening of her condition last week baby Ghena from Gaza was scheduled for a catheterization today. For pretty much all of her short life she has only known the hospital, and her grandmother continues to be among the best caretakers we’ve seen.
Newborn Yazen from Gaza remains intubated after his emergency cath this week and is with serious fluid retention, so please pray for his recovery. A sweet moment this week was that, in addition to be under a neonatal warmer, the ICU staff gave him a small, knitted yellow hat to keep his head warm, which his grandmother really loved:
Samaa from Kurdistan was discharged to our Jaffa house this week from the hospital after her surgery. She had an echo three days later; her heart function is very good, thank God! She is responding to new medication to help with the liquid around her heart, a stubborn but common problem. But other than this she is doing wonderfully and is back to her normal feisty self (to be fair, she never really stopped being a force to be reckoned with, this girl was extubated only hours after her open heart surgery!).
Lastly, please pray for our community. These months have been far from easy with so few volunteers and many families, yet I am surprised at how God is enabling us to do this work–he is sustaining us by changing each of us deeply.
May God bless you,
Alena for Shevet Achim