At 2 pm today coworker Bria and I talked with and checked on Haitham. We knew he was bleeding more, but we had clear instructions from the doctors to change his bandage twice a day. A few hours later, Haitham said he didn’t feel well. I went to check him, his bleeding was visible through his clothes. We called an ambulance and when it arrived at our home they took Haitham’s vital signs.
Because Haitham wasn’t stable enough, he was brought directly to Assuta Hospital near our home.
But Haitham was losing a lot of blood quickly. An X-ray and tests were done quickly, with the purpose of helping doctors understand the reason for his bleeding. Assuta medical staff couldn’t stabilize him; they knew intervention was needed and prepped him for the OR.
After an hour, he was transferred to the surgery area. One of the things I’m really thankful for is Haitham’s doctor at Sheba Hospital; he was in contact with the Assuta surgeon, trying his best to help.
On Friday night, in the middle of the Assuta Hospital hallway, Haitham’s surgeon came and told me, “We made every effort to make him stable, but we couldn’t. I’m so sorry.”
Please pray for Haitham’s family. If this is difficult and painful for us here at Shevet, I’m sure for his family, Haitham’s death is devastating. Our heartfelt prayers go up for this family. God be with them.
Today, Haitham had another short checkup at Sheba Hospital. He had to make a short blood test to see if the INR is good. It all went pretty fast and the number was alright.
Also, since yesterday, Haitham has some bleeding from his scar and we asked the surgeon to have a look at it. He said that he isn’t concerned about it and that this is normal after such a big surgery. It should stop without any treatment within the next days, and if he doesn’t get a fever, we shouldn’t worry about it.
After some waiting time for other families, we went again to our community home in Ashdod where Haitham will stay with us for another week and a half until his stiches can be removed.
Thank you for praying for Haitham, that he will soon fully recover and get his strength back!
It was a shock to enter the cardiac ICU the morning after Haitham’s big nine-hour surgery and find him already sitting up beside the bed!
He was grumpy and in pain but far surpassing the expectations of his doctors. In fact they had to tell him to slow down when they found one of the visiting Gaza mothers already allowing him to drink juice:
Doctors hope he may be strong enough to leave for the intermediate ICU by the end of the day.
Haitham was taken to the operating room shortly after 0700 this morning, after reading from Lamentations 3 (“his mercies are new every morning”) and listening to the beautiful Arabic version of “The Blessing.”
We parted with a wave and a kiss on the forehead in the waiting area outside the OR, and thus began a nine-hour wait until he reappeared.
The surgeons told us they accomplished everything they intended–replacing two valves on his heart–and additionally observing and removing a narrow portion of his aorta. They had to work through significant adhesions that remained from the surgery Haitham had at age five, and this caused some bleeding which was brought under control. They’re watching him closely now to see if there is continued bleeding, and if so they will take him back to the OR.
Haitham is without a family escort, but the other Gaza mothers in the hospital have taken him under their wings and are taking turns visiting him.
Doctors hope to remove Haitham from the ventilator as he starts to wake up tomorrow morning. We’re looking forward to seeing him, and thanking God together for his goodness.
Twenty-year-old Haitham was admitted to the adult cardiac surgery department at the Sheba Medical Center today, in preparation for his open-heart surgery tomorrow.
The well-respected surgeon Prof. Sarraf will be replacing two valves in Haitham’s heart, a big surgery but doctors are hoping for a good outcome. Haitham enjoyed a last shwarma tonight before his pre-surgery fasting begins at midnight.
Today, 20 year old young man Haitham from Gaza, went with us to Sheba hospital; he was scheduled for an echocardiogram. As he already had an echo one month ago, he only had to get an ECG and then the doctor really took his time talking to him and explaining everything.
After that, Haitham waited so patiently while we went to visit the other children in the ICU. He is currently studying religion in Gaza.
He will be admitted for his surgery in two week’s time. For this he still needs a Holter test before surgery and will stay in our Ashdod community house until then.
Today I had the joy of accompanying a young man from Gaza, Haitham, to Sheba Hospital for his CT scan. He is only three years younger than me, so we were able to quickly use Google Translate to communicate. This advantage became invaluable as our plans for the day were repeatedly changed. We arrived at 8 am for his scan only to find that the appointment was actually scheduled for 2 pm. Haitham’s food and water fast was prolonged much longer than he had anticipated, but he remained chipper and patient through all of the discomfort. Once 2 pm arrived, we received our place in the queue and waited another three hours before Haitham went in for the CT.
It is days like this when I wonder why the Lord sometimes shifts plans in seemingly impractical ways. But, upon reflection, it becomes quite clear. The time I had with Haitham while sitting in the waiting room, provided us time to bond. I broke the ice by asking if he has a job in Gaza. After sharing a little bit about my own life, we continued a pretty steady stream of back-and-forth for the rest of the day.
After the CT, Joanne and I surprised him with a chocolate croissant and drinks. He was relieved to be on the other end of a long day. As we approached Erez border crossing, he opened the bottle of Coca-Cola, but before taking the first sip, he asked if I wanted any. I was always humbled by his generosity, especially considering that I had stayed well fed and hydrated all day while he fasted. While Haitham was sad I would not be here for his next visit, I assured him that I hope to return to Israel many times, and one day, maybe I will be able to visit him in Gaza.
Please be praying for Haitham as he prepares to make future appointments at Sheba. Pray that the doctors are able to find a lot of valuable insight from today’s CT to better care for his heart.