Medical personnel in the PICU in Sheba Hospital had the idea to bring Ahmed along with another of our Shevet children to the Safari Park in Tel Aviv. Ahmed has been in the hospital for a very long time so his mother was happy that they could finally see something outside the familiar hospital walls and get some little action into their daily life in Sheba, not to mention fresh air.
Normally Ahmed is very afraid of most of his surroundings but in the Zoo we saw him smile and giggle every now and then when he thought an animal looked funny or unfamiliar. It was a great trip and we had lots of fun with him and his mother. Please pray for him and his health so that he may go home soon.
Since I told Ahmed’s Mum that he can get discharged soon, she is asking almost everyday if there is a date yet. Unfortunately, because his INR-levels are too low, he has to stay a little longer. But the hospital, always taking good care of our children, planned a trip to a nearby zoo for him and one of our other children. Next week they will go there and distract the children from their boring everyday life in the hospital.
We pray for out big boy, that his INR-levels will rise until they are optimal and he can leave the hospital.
Sweet Ahmed just had an Echo. His cardiologist let us know they will stop giving him the antibiotics through an IV-canal, but will do so orally instead. This is really great news, because that means he doesn’t have to stay in the hospital just for the medication. He can hopefully get discharged next week! Praise the Lord
Ahmed is doing well at Sheba Hospital since his chest was closed and enjoys more or less his time in the secondary ICU. Today he and his mother joined us in the waiting area during lunch while we were waiting for the surgery of another child. It’s always fun to have them around!
Ahmed still needs antibiotics through an IV for another month. Therefore we will get a lot more time with him and his mother in the hospital. Thank God for how far he’s brought Ahmed!
When I visited Ahmed at Sheba Hospital today, I found him with a closed chest and waking up from anesthesia. He just had the procedure to close his chest completely done after the scar was cleaned from the inside a week ago. Hopefully he can go home soon if he recovers well from this. But even though it takes a while, his mother is happy to wait if it’s better for her son to do so. We ask for your prayers.
Our little Ahmed had a procedure done at Sheba Hospital today where the surgeons cleaned out his infected scar from the inside to get rid of all the bacteria and infected tissue. Before the small intervention, Ahmed was so hungry but not allowed to eat anything, so he cried a lot. Although this may sound very sad, it’s a sign of big progress considering one year ago, he didn’t want to eat anything and had to relearn how to do it.
The procedure went well and the doctors were happy with their results. Ahmed’s lovely mother accompanied us volunteers during our waiting time and it was just lovely to spend time with her and her son. We pray for further healing for Ahmed.
This weekend Ahmed was moved to the Intermediate Pediatric ICU. His mother had hoped they could go home soon but as Ahmed developed an infection in his surgical site they had to move him back to the ICU this morning.
Now he is getting treated for this and even the primary surgeon came today to look at Ahmed’s scar area. Ahmed still doesn’t like our visits a lot but today he at least didn’t start crying.
Please pray for a fast healing without more complications!
When we visited Ahmed at Sheba Hospital today he was laying in his bed really strangely. But I took it as a good sign, that he is fit and stable enough to sleep as a child normally does.
And his doctor also confirmed that he is doing really well and is even considered the most stable child in the ICU right now. They were able to remove the intubation and all his chest tubes. There are only some issues with his pacemaker, but his cardiologist is already trying to figure them out and fix them.
We are so happy and grateful about the recovery Ahmed is going through at the moment. Please continue praying for him and also for his mother. She is worried and still scared that something could go wrong with him, as many mothers here often do when their children face these serious health situations.
Ahmed is doing well after his surgery yesterday. The doctor said he was a little unstable this morning. His blood pressure dropped. The cardiologist came and changed some settings in the pacemaker and now he is back to normal. Ahmed will be extubated today and will hopefully respond well to it. His mother is very relieved her son is doing so well. She is easily worried about him, so she always asks me to talk to the doctor, even after she already did just to make sure she didn’t miss anything. I’m happy that the doctors can give good news to her. Praise be to God!
This morning Ahmed, who is slowly getting to know us better and sometimes even accepts us as friends, went into surgery at Sheba Hospital to repair his mitral valve. He waited a long time for this surgery and today was finally the day!
When I arrived in hospital, he was already in the OR and so I found his mother together with other mothers from Gaza. As expected, she was deeply worried and couldn’t hold back her tears. Through the whole day she started crying several times and I saw her deep love for her son behind those tears. But she was not alone. One of the other mothers from Gaza in hospital accompanied her almost the whole day. Despite the sadness of Ahmed’s mother, she made us laugh several times. I’m glad and thankful every time I see these moms and for how they became good friends. They help each other out and encourage each other.
But still, hour after hour passed by. After eight hours of not hearing anything about how the surgery was going, Ahmed’s mother became more and more anxious. Then finally the surgeon came out of the OR to talk to her. Thank God the surgery went well and Ahmed is doing well.
However, they couldn’t repair the valve as it was completely destroyed. The surgeon said it wouldn’t have lasted long if they had repaired it. Instead they had to replace the valve completely. Once Ahmed was out of surgery, his mother ran directly into the ICU where his room had been prepared. After a long time of waiting, his mother was finally able to see her son again for whom she had waited so long. Praying for his recovery from this long surgery.
When I went to Ahmed today at Sheba Hospital, he was not at all amused to see me. Every time I visit him in his room,
he just starts crying cause he thinks I’m a doctor.
Later when I met him downstairs, he was in a completely different mood. His mother told me with a smile that his surgery is scheduled for next week and his doctor confirmed that they plan to do it next Sunday. Please pray that the surgery will happen then and for a good outcome!
Ahmed has been in hospital for a long time now without much happening. He’s doing good but until now there hasn’t been any solution or treatment plan from the doctors. But today when I met Ahmed and his mother in the hallway, she was so happy and told me that he’s going to have surgery. A nurse confirmed that he will have a mitral valve repair. It’s not yet fully decided when it will be, but probably next week.
This is really good news and we are all glad that there’s finally something the mother can look forward to. She and Ahmed are often walking through the hallways of Sheba Hospital. Even so we as volunteers like them and are always happy to see them around, Ahmed is still crying almost every time he sees one of us. Hopefully his surgery will go well and he will recover well.
Today we visited again our old friend Ahmed. Although, it seems like he doesn’t want to be friends with us right now as he cries every time someone except his mom comes close to him.
The doctors at Sheba Hospital are still trying to find out what is causing his deterioration and the only thing they found out so far is that it is not caused by a virus. Ahmed will soon need another surgery to repair one of his valves but it won’t happen yet. It is too dangerous to do the surgery in the bad condition he is in right now, so the doctors first need to find out how they can help him to get better.
It’s not an easy time for Ahmed and his mother, so we pray for them and for the doctors to find the problem, treat it effectively and move on to Ahmed’s surgery.
Ahmed returned for his follow-up echo. However, it was once again clear as soon as he arrived that he was in poor health, with a rattling cough, extreme weakness, and a slight yellowing of the skin. The doctors decided to hospitalize him and run tests on him over the next couple days, as his condition is potentially symptomatic of dangerous complications which need to be resolved before his upcoming surgery.
His mother fears for Ahmed. He was in a similar condition when he was last here over a month ago, and although he recovered well, she is understandably distraught over this recurrence. As for Ahmed’s part, Sheba is a frightful environment for him. He cries often, but without the strength to make much noise with it. Please pray for him and his mother–for healing, for encouragement, for endurance, and for good test results.
Early this morning, Ahmed’s mother came to our staff house next door, asking when they could be brought back to their home in Gaza.
Because she had a lot of bags and a stroller, it was pretty hard for her to carry everything on her own. Thankfully the people at the border were really friendly and helped Ahmed’s mother. We thank God for their nice and quiet stay here with us in Ashdod, for their protection traveling back home, and that they can be reunited with their family.
After several days of getting their hopes up for a discharge from Sheba Hospital, today was finally the day for Ahmed’s discharge. He was admitted last Thursday after he was not doing well and had a viral infection that made breathing very hard.
In his lab results from this week, the doctors found out that he has low albumin levels which can be caused by some kind of liver or kidney disease. To rule out something like that, Ahmed had a final test done today. Although he was discharged, he couldn’t go home because he has to stay in our Ashdod community home with us until his treatment with antibiotics is finished in a few days.
Pray for Ahmed and his mother that all the results will come back normal so they can be reunited with their family soon.
Ahmed is slowly getting better after getting admitted to the Secondary Pediatric ICU at Sheba Hospital last week. Today it was tentatively planned that Ahmed would be discharged, but his mom told me directly that he has to stay a little longer.
The doctors received blood test results which indicated the number of one of his blood proteins is too low and they need to finish his blood work before discharging him. They don’t know yet how long this will take, but other than that, Ahmed is doing fine by now.
Ahmed isn’t very happy. Every time we walk into his room, because he fears we are doctors, he hides behind his mother. Please pray for them that they can go home soon.
Ahmed was collected this morning from Erez Border Crossing to take him and his mother to Sheba Hospital for a follow up Echo appointment. I noticed his breathing was labored and when he breathed his chest rattled a lot. His mother explained that he had been sick for the last four days so we decided to talk to his doctor during his echo and see if they could help.
After the Echo it was decided that a visit to the ER was necessary. The doctor made the necessary arrangements so we could also make his pacemaker appointment. After his pacemaker appointment we hurried back over to the ER and thankfully Zech, my coworker, was able to stay with lovely Ahmed and his mother while they went through the examination.
Ahmed received some help with his breathing and it was decided that it was wise to admit him for follow-up tests and observation to see how they could deal with his breathing difficulties. Praise the Lord Ahmed’s heart function seems to be doing well. Please pray that Ahmed will recover soon and be back to his normal cheerful self once again.
Today was a difficult day for Ahmed. He was originally scheduled for a simple echo and pacemaker check-up, but upon his arrival, it quickly became clear that he was unwell. Ahmed was experiencing substantial respiratory problems, a rattling cough, and pronounced weakness, so the examining echo doctor recommended we take him to the Sheba Hospital Pediatric ER for blood tests and observation.
Ahmed was fearful in the hospital environment and fussed often, but his cries were quiet and soft due to his weakness. Several blood tests and many hours of waiting later, the doctors gave us their verdict: they wanted to keep him in the ICU and closely observe him for some time. At his level of vulnerability, complications–especially to the degree we saw today–need to be taken seriously.
By the end of the day, both Ahmed and his mother were exhausted. She had expected to return to Gaza that day, and she was discouraged at having to remain so long. Please pray that they will have good rest and encouragement over the weekend, and that Ahmed will quickly heal from whatever the source of his complications is.
One month after Ahmed’s discharge to Gaza, he and his mother returned to Sheba Hospital today for follow-up appointments. The nurses of floor three, who had accompanied Ahmed and his mum all the way out and waved goodbye a month ago, were very excited to meet both of them again today. They greeted them warmly, had some small-talk and helped with everything needed. It was very touching to see the warm connection that had developed between Ahmed’s mother and the nurses – people who would most likely have never met under regular circumstances.
Praise the Lord, who heard out prayers, for Ahmed is drinking and eating as he should back home in Gaza. He still loves drinking from his bottle the most, however, as hoped, his mother’s food quickened his appetite. After quite some struggle around this topic during his rehabilitation, these are great news!
Also the rehabilitation doctor was excited to hear that Ahmed is eating, drinking, running around and walking as he should. Only his faculty of speech is somewhat underdeveloped, but the doctor is hopeful that this will change once Ahmed is going to enter kindergarten (in Gaza this happens at the age of four). There is no further need to come back for follow-up appointments in the rehabilitation department. What a joy!
More than that, also the cardiologist was happy to see that everything is alright with Ahmed’s heart. His next cardiac follow-up will only be in three month from now. Until then, Ahmed can return with his mum to Gaza and continue to gain some weight and energy.
We are thankful for everything the Lord has done in Ahmed’s life and the life of his parents who so lovingly and patiently support him and his healing process. Let’s be thankful and rejoice in these good news! May the family be blessed and a blessing to other people around them back home in Gaza.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV
Today, after nearly three months in Sheba Hospital, three surgeries and a successful course of rehabilitation, Ahmed has finally been discharged to Gaza.
When I entered the hospital this morning, I found Ahmed’s mom waiting for me in front of the ward, happily waving with the discharge report for Ahmed.
It was very sweet the way all the nurses of floor three came with us outside to wave goodbye to Ahmed.
Ahmed arrived from Gaza exactly one week after I started my time at Shevet and was the first child that I collected from Erez. I still remember how we were playing together in the waiting area and how much he smiled on that day. In all the time after his surgery that he was not doing well, it was so hard to visit him in the hospital and to see how he was not reacting at all to what was happening around him.
Probably we can’t even imagine how hard it had to be for his loving mother, who stayed so faithfully and patiently with him for such a long time. But even though the circumstances have been everything but easy, she was nearly always smiling at us and full of joy and hope. This made me think a lot about the fact that also our joy should not be dependent on our circumstances, but should be inspired by and from God.
To make this day perfect, when we were leaving the hospital, and after Ahmed’s being three months in the hospital, he was again smiling at me and was the happy little boy I remembered from the first time I saw him. Ahmed will come back in one month for a neurological and cardiac appointment.
The only thing that we can do now is rejoice and thank God for all he has done in the life of this boy!
Today, when I visited Ahmed, there was some surprising good news. Ahmed will be discharged from Sheba Hospital tomorrow!
The rehabilitation of Ahmed went well. He can walk, will be able to speak and can swallow. So his neurological condition and his heart is in a much better condition. He still has a pacemaker placed.
Ahmed still refuses to eat normal food, he prefers the milk. But he can swallow, so he will be able to eat eventually. The doctors hope that Ahmed will especially want to eat his mother’s cooking back in Gaza. In one month, he will have a follow up appointment for rehab and cardiology.
When Ahmed’s mother heard she can return home to Gaza, she started crying for joy and called her mother. They are very happy. Let’s pray that Ahmed will eat at home sooner than later. God bless them.
Today, coworker Bria and I visited Ahmed and his mother at Sheba Hospital. We arrived during a rehabilitation session in which Ahmed was learning more about feeding himself.
Ahmed is on a good path, and has accomplished much, but he still needs to learn to eat well by himself so that he can go home. His mother really wants to return home. We can continue praying for a good rehabilitation season for Ahmed and that he will learn to eat soon and that his mother may have patience and joy.
Today we visited Ahmed and his mother in the rehabilitation ward of Sheba Hospital. Having started rehabilitation now, Ahmed is doing well and he is walking now!
The only thing that is not so good is that he refuses to eat normally still, and that’s the point that they don’t yet release him. The doctor said Ahmed has to eat normally before they let them go home. It’s much better for his heart if he is able to eat what his mother prepares.
Also, Ahmed’s talking has to improve more. He tries to talk now and wasn’t before, so there is at least a bit of improvement there. Amed’s mother wants to go home now but will still have to be patient.
Let’s pray that Ahmed’s improvement will go on and that they soon can go home, the best place to be for both!
When I visited Ahmed in the rehabilitation department of Sheba Hospital today, he had just came from a ‘walking’ training session. After just two days, he is already able to walk a little. Slowly, he will be able to walk fully again.
Now they are also re-training him how to eat. This is still hard for him. Right now he is receiving his food through an NG-tube.
Ahmed’s mother is very proud that her son is improving so fast. We are thankful that Ahmed has the chance to rehabilitate. This investment will change Ahmed’s life. Praise the Lord for this opportunity.
Ahmed and his mother were moved to the Rehabilitation Ward of Sheba Medical Center. When we visited them today, both greeted us with a big smile.
The rehabilitation will start in the next days; Ahmed will begin to relearn how to walk, speak, eat and how to use his hands again. Ahmed’s mother is very thankful and looks forward to when they can return to Gaza.
A visit to Ahmed’s room in Sheba Hospital brought some encouragement as his cognitive improvement is very apparent. But he still has a long way to go, including fundamentals such as re-learning how to eat with his mouth and to walk.
The good news is that intensive rehabilitation begins Sunday at Sheba for little Ahmed. The program should take roughly one month to complete.
We’re so thankful for his improvement thus far and look forward to his complete restoration with God’s help.
Today, coworker Doro and I visited Ahmed in Sheba Medical Center. It was so nice to see how happy Ahmed and his mother were. Ahmed is doing much better. He will get intensive rehabilitation from Sheba to learn how to talk and walk again.
It was a little bit sad to see that Ahmed cannot really talk or walk due to damage sustained during or after surgery. Because of the neurological damage, he has to learn how to do everything again.
He also has to learn how to eat and drink. But it was so nice to see his improvement today. He was really reacting to us and also laughed.
Ahmed’s mother is still patient and was really thankful that we care about the rehabilitation.
We can thank God for what he already did in Ahmed’s life and we can ask him to help Ahmed in the process of learning to walk, speak, drink and eat again, also, we petition the Father for more patience for Ahmed’s mother.
Today my coworker Tabea and I went to Sheba medical center and visited little Ahmed from Gaza.
Right now his heart seems to be okay. The doctor told us today that Ahmed is a possible candidate for rehabilitation at Sheba for his neurological condition.Tomorrow Ahmed will have an appointment to find out if he is really a good candidate.
Ahmed’s mother is very worried and desperate, but today she greeted me with a big smile.
Ahmed’s mother was very optimistic today and hopes that Ahmed is getting better and better. The nurse at Sheba Hospital told me that they will try to feed Ahmed slowly today and will watch how he is reacting. Ahmed will need time and the nurse agrees with Ahmed’s mother and I, that Ahmed will need time to conquer small steps, little by little. Change will require time and muc patience. We are at the same time reminded that our biggest hope is in God.
I prayed at Ahmed’s bed out loud, that God may lay his hand above Ahmed.
Ahmed is still getting better slowly, but his neurological damage is concernable. His doctors have instructed that Ahmed undergo rehabilitation and are thinking on how he should proceed in it. Maybe they will even discharge him soon.
Today, when I visited Ahmed and his mother, Ahmed was sleeping peacefully while his mother prayed. She was happy to have a visitor, but also really wanted to know what the next steps will be for Ahmed.
Please pray for Ahmed and for wisdom for the doctors as to how to proceed in this case.
Today, when I visited Ahmed at Sheba Medical Center, I was really happy to see him sitting in his carriage.
I sat a while with Ahmed but sadly, he didn’t react to me at all and I saw he was in some pain. Ahmed’s doctor said, he has sustained some neurological damage either during or after his surgery, but they will keep working with him.
Ahmed’s mother is really depressed by the whole situation. Please pray that she gets new strength and can encourage her son somehow.
Ahmed really needs our prayer! God can change the situation and help with improvement.
This morning when coworker Amelie and I entered Sheba hospital, we found Ahmed’s mom crying in front of the elevator. We comforted her and went with her to Ahmed’s room, where the nurse was taking care of him.
Ahmed still has a lot of problems with breathing, so today Ahmed was re-intubated. Doctors ordered an X-ray for Ahmed to determine the trouble with his breathing. Probably Ahmed’s diaphragm is too weak, which means that his abdominal muscles don’t work with him when he breathes. So he might need a small surgery to strengthen his diaphragm.
Hopefully when this is fixed, he will be able to breath on his own again. We ask for your prayers for Ahmed and also for his mother, who is very worried.
This afternoon, Ahmed was moved back to the critical side of the pediatric ICU in Sheba Hospital, as the doctors expect they will have to reintubate him soon. He is not breathing well on his own and they are not sure why, though it may be caused by his diaphragm not functioning properly.
Please pray especially for Ahmed’s mom, who is feeling very discouraged and exhausted after all this time in the hospital.
After his surgery at Sheba Hospital to place a pacemaker last week, Ahmed has been in post-operative delirium.
As his doctor explained to me today, this means he is awake, but not fully aware or responsive, and he has experienced strokes since coming out of anesthesia. Half of his diaphragm is working partially, while the other half is not working at all. If he does not improve, he will need surgery to repair this.
Please continue praying for Ahmed and his mother, who is struggling with the stresses of staying in the hospital with Ahmed not doing well.
Following a surgery at Sheba Hospital to place a permanent pacemaker last week, Ahmed is now awake and extubated. However, the doctor in the ICU explained to me that his diaphragm is paralyzed and he is in respiratory distress. He will have surgery in a few days to repair his diaphragm. In the meantime, if his situation worsens, he will need to be reintubated.
Additionally, the most recent tests show hemorrhaging in Ahmed’s brain. The doctors are performing an EEG today to determine the best course of treatment.
This time in the hospital has been very difficult for Ahmed’s mother, who is now struggling with the effects of prolonged stress. Please pray for rest for her as she awaits more news about Ahmed.
Today I visited Ahmed at Sheba Hospital. It is the day after the long and difficult surgery yesterday. The doctor told me that they can’t extubate him yet, because he suffers from arrhythmia. When his heart rate stabilizes, extubation becomes an option.
His mother is very worried and she asks a lot of questions, just to be sure that she understands everything. We had a little talk about her family. She has another four year old son at home. She showed me the pictures of her family; she’s very proud of them.
Ahmed was taken into the surgery room at Sheba Hospital early this morning at around 8. The doctors decided to place a permanent pacemaker, as his heart is not working on it’s own.
The surgery in its entirety was around ten hours, which is quite a long time. Co-worker Tabea and I spent the waiting with Ahmed’s mother. She was very worried, cried a lot, prayed and talked to us and to people on the phone. After around ten hours, the surgeon finally came out and told us how the surgery went.
He said it was a difficult surgery which is why it took so long, but they could place the permanent pacemaker successfully and they also did a repair of his marginal artery. Ahmed’s mother was really happy to hear this news and cried tears of joy after hearing it.
Afterwards, Ahmed was taken into the Pediatric ICU and needed to be stabilized. During this time, his mother couldn’t wait any longer to go into Ahmed’s room, her beloved son.
She still had to wait half an hour before she could enter the room. But now Ahmed is stable and in the ICU.
Please pray for a good recovery for him now and for his mother to feel peace and calm in the midst of all this.
Ahmed went in to surgery at Sheba Medical Center this morning at around 8:30. Ahmed’s mother was quite worried, and we spent much of the time in silent anticipation.
Doctors were able to dilate an outflow tract, but there were a few complications during the surgery. The doctors said they would be monitoring Ahmed very closely during the post-surgery hours, and that his recovery would be slow but sure, from what they can tell.
Coworker Amelie and I were thankful during the waiting time for the company of the other mothers who also have children in the ICU. They came beside the mother of Ahmed and comforted her along with us.
Please be praying that Ahmed’s recovery would go well, and for strength and peace for his mother.
Today, I drove a Shevet van for the first time. I traveled to the Erez Border Crossing to pick up little Ahmed from Gaza. We brought him and his mother to Sheba Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital today because he is going to have a surgery tomorrow.
During the admissions process, little Ahmed was playing a little bit in the echo area.
Please pray for Ahmed’s surgery tomorrow and also for his mother, for peace of mind as she waits for the surgery’s completion.
This morning, coworker Moshe and I took Ahmed along with his mother to his CT scan at Sheba hospital.
It was a challenging day for him, as he was fasting since last night and the scan was delayed by several hours. However, throughout the long morning, we were grateful for the kindness shown again and again by the medical staff and the other patients. One woman in the waiting room sat with Ahmed’s mother and chatted with her in Arabic for quite some time.
One doctor even slipped Ahmed some money to buy a snack when the scan was over. Ahmed needs a heart surgery quite soon, and the results of the scan today will help the doctors decide how to proceed.
Co-worker Sabrina and I arrived in Erez Border Crossing in the morning.
It turns out that Ahmed comes from a remote area in Gaza; his accompanying mother told us that she left her home at six in the morning.
We brought Ahmed and is mother to Sheba hospital where Ahmed had an echo test. The echo showed a membrane under the aortic valve which might cause stenosis. The Doctor still needs to decide whether it involves the valve or not.
Later in consultation with Dr. Khatib, it was decided to wait on the surgery for another time. So Ahmed went back to Gaza. The doctors will talk about his case and hopefully set a date for his surgery on Sunday.
We hope that Ahmed will be healthy and have surgery soon and that the treatment will be successful.
Baby Ahmed came from Gaza for a check-up today! He had been here with his grandmother for a few months for a multi repair heart surgery. Picking them up at the border was so joyful, I couldn’t help but break into a huge smile when I saw them. Despite being older, Ahmed still is very tiny and he was even more small when he was dwarfed by the giant snow suit onesie. When we got to the hospital, I was privileged to hold him for much of the duration of the wait. He was really so cute! When we went into for the echo, he was very upset, but his grandma knew the trick to get him to calm down even for a few moments, by alternating between putting his pacifier and his bottle in his mouth. The doctor was verykind, and explained everything in Arabic and English. The echo showed that the rests of the surgery were very good except mild stenosis of his left ventricle. He will have another follow up to see if further intervention is needed.
In addition to the echo, the doctor also recommended an RSV vaccine due to Ahmed’s hacking cough and aggressive cold, so this beautiful baby will hopefully be protected from worsening symptoms. Before getting the vaccine, I texted Jonathan to approve it, and he said yes within minutes. This is an example of Jonathan’s leadership and the pattern he sets at Shevet, he lives the conviction that God will provide for what we need, and although we are still finishing our financial year at Sheba for 2019, Ahmed’s unplanned vaccine was still important. All in all, it was a really good day. It meant a lot to be with Ahmed and his grandmother, and I enjoyed every minute of cuddling him!
Today was a long day for Ahmed and his grandma – even more than usual for a day at the hospital. We arrived at the Erez border expecting to take two children for follow-up echos after their surgeries, but only found Ahmed. A twenty minute wait for baby Omar turned into a two hour wait. Sitting there in the car with Ahmed and his grandma, I expected her to become frustrated and annoyed, but she waited with an incredible patience. Looking back, it was really nice to spend this time with her. We talked a little bit about her family and I quickly discovered she has a great sense of humour. We compared passports and laughed at our photos.
Just as we had left for Sheba without Omar, we had a call that he had arrived and had to turn back. Even after this, Ahmed’s grandma remained patient, and was delighted to find Omar’s grandma was a friend of hers. Both babies were lovingly bundled up for the winter:
Later, as we waited in the hospital, she seemed much more restless, constantly asking where the doctor was. Everytime a nurse walked by, she asked hopefully “Is this the doctor?” Despite only being a 30 minute wait, this must have seemed so much harder than our hold-up at the border. Our attitude to waiting and our perspective on it can change the entire atmosphere of a situation.
The Echo went well. Ahmed only started crying later on the process, but his tears were barely recognisable due to his constant wheezing. For the first time during an echo, I saw the valve moving. The heart was pumping very fast and it was beautiful to see it.
On the way home, the grandmas tried out some English phrases on me and Jana like “good morning”. Finally, as we neared the border again on the way home, she was so happy to be back she whooped with excitement – it made all of us laugh.
I think I could sum up Ahmed’s day in three words; “waiting, laughter and love”. All of these are used by God throughout the bible, and throughout our lives today.
As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country.
Proverbs 25:25 NKJV
We arrived later than usual at the hospital today, and Ahmed’s grandma greeted us enthusiastically, saying that they were being discharged home today! She is a very beautiful lady, and especially so today, as her face was lit up at the thought of being home with her husband and family. They have been here for 21 days, she told me, and she excitedly spoke on the phone during out journey back to explain that she and Ahmed were on their way home.
Ahmed was sleepy and sweet, cuddled in many many blankets, prepared for his return home.
Thank God for the healing of Ahmed, brought into good health, and can return to his family. We will see him again hopefully in one month, for a check up. His grandma and I parted ways with the hope of seeing each other again.
Lovely Ahmed from Gaza has improved and been moved from the ICU to the secondary ICU unit, just down the hall. He will be fitted for a Holter moniter today so the doctor can measure his heart beat, which has been sometimes slow. His grandma is very tired after these long two weeks, and has asked to switch out with another guardian, but Ahmed is recovering steadily, so hopefully it won’t be too long for them in the hospital.
His grandma is joined by the grandmothers of Aimen and Omar, who are very good company. Please continue to pray for strength for all of these women, and especially Ahmed’s grandma. Please also pray that through the Holter moniter they could find and treat any remaining or underlying problems with Ahmed’s heart, so he could return to Gaza and not need any further interventions in the future.
On our visit to Sheba ICU today, a closer examination of Ahmed revealed a very pale baby.
The nurse informed Moshe and I that she too was concerned and so took a blood test to monitor his haemoglobin levels. She was also concerned about Ahmed’s low urine output. During the previous night Ahmed had some episodes of low blood pressure and low pulse that were managed by calibrations of his external pacemaker and medications. Today he was more stable. Thanks be to God, he is slowly improving.
Today as I walked out of the elevator I saw Ahmed‘s grandmother praying. Ahmed was finally having his surgery and had been in surgery since 8 o‘clock. We were very happy to hear that this long-awaited surgery was taking place. The next few hours were filled with getting tea, talking to the other grandmas and praying for Ahmed. Sitting there together and having a community which is with us in prayer really gave me strength. The prayers are perceptible and even the grandma was noticing this.
The surgery took very long. The doctors were able to repair the aortic interruption and also to switch the arteries. It was a full and successful repair in only one surgery. They did an echo which was also satisfactory. Tomorrow they will try to extubate him.
Since the grandma heard this good news the look on her face changed from fear to joy. I heard the word “El-hamdalula“ a thousand times and joined her in celebrating the good news. Ahmed had to go through a lot for his young age but our awsome God never let him alone and carried him through everything. Everytime I‘m waiting for a surgery to be over I just have a peace in me which can only come from God and it is so great to share this with the family while giving them hugs and strength.
I‘m very thankful for God’s work in Ahmed’s life. Still, his fight isn’t over yet. He and his grandma need prayers to recover from this hard time. We serve a God of rest and I believe that only in Him can we find that rest. Pray that they can find their rest in God too.
Ahmed’s grandmother shared today how her own son—Ahmed’s father—received congenital heart defect corrective surgery at Hadassah when he was 12 years old, and how her grandson’s condition reminded her of this. When I asked about her feelings regarding his surgery, she shared how she personally endured seven surgeries. She also raised seven children, and is now bravely caring for Ahmed in Israel. When I asked if she missed her family, tears started to run down her face. Though she has endured so much throughout her life, it must still be so difficult for her to see her grandson in this condition.
Ahmed’s cardiac CT scan revealed that his aorta is not completely developed, often called interrupted aortic arch. The cardiologist said that his heart is very complicated, but his respiratory condition is now stable. They are hoping to perform a corrective surgery next week.
As Ahmed and his grandmother wait for the surgery, please pray for them to find hope, comfort, and strength in Messiah. As I shared how we pray for both Ahmed and his cousin Joud every day, Ahmed’s grandmother was deeply moved. Let us continually pray for the two newborns who are both at the same hospital.
When Ahmed was only seven days old, he was brought to the hospital for severe cyanosis which means that he presented as blue rather than the healthy pink newborns often present as. Ahmed was experiencing difficulty breathing, and as a result needed to be supported through mechanical ventilation. One week later he was transferred, with his kind grandmother escorting him, via ambulance to Sheba Medical Center. Today Ahmed is 14 days old yet he has already faced many challenges.
In his brief time at Sheba Medical Center, he suffered left lung atelectasis, meaning collapse of a lung, in this case his left lung. The doctors intubated and extubated him. They then rushed him to a cardiac CT exam to learn more about his heart so that they can develop a plan of care.
Ahmed is on a medication which maintains the patency of a structure that normally closes following birth, this is allowing for the perfusion of oxygenated blood and is sustaining his life. He is receiving Prostaglandin E1 (alprostadil) to dilate the patent ductus arteriosus thus increasing the pulmonary blood flow. This results in an improvement of oxygenation. As Ahmed has very severe coarctation of the aorta, he is dependent on a open ductus arteriosus to maintain the blood perfusion to his body. He not only has severe coarctation of the aorta, but also has Double Outlet Right Ventricle with Transposition of the Great Arteries.
The family of Ahmed is sad when they consider him. He has an older sister, who is 1 year and 8 months old. Please pray for his whole family, including Ahmed’s cousin Joud (who is also at the same hospital!). We praise God for sustaining him through these past two weeks and pray that God will continue to breathe life into him.
Newborn Ahmed was rushed to the hospital in Gaza at the age of seven days, with severe cyanosis and respiratory distress. To save him doctors there put him on mechanical ventilation (assisted breathing), and sent out a top urgent plea for help to get Ahmed to Israel, the only place within reach where emergency repair can be done.
Ahmed’s father was born with the same congenital heart defect, and had surgery at the age of 12 years to correct it.
Doctors at Sheba agreed to accept him, even in the middle of the Sukkot holiday week, and Ahmed was rushed there by ambulance tonight.