After being called in many times without having a procedure, Khonav got her Cath today. Her mum was very happy about this even though she was scared at the same time. Hope for a better quality life for her daughter however, gave her strength.
As I entered the hospital room in which Khonav was recovering, I found a sleepy smiling, beautiful Khonav. Her smile widened as I approached her bed. Khonav‘s Mum hugged me and I could feel how relieved she was. After the Cath, Khonav’s oxygen saturation dropped, but the amazing hospital staff took care of it.
Khonav and her mum were filled with so much joy which spread to me! They received all the instructions of the staff with love and patience. Together they were able to understand and communicate – a beautiful duet.
Today, Joela and I brought lovely Khonav home to the Shevet house! She was supposed to have a catheterization on Thursday, but instead had a CT scan, so the hospital called to say she could come home until her catheterization. Hopefully it be scheduled for next week.
Her mother greeted us with her inherent warmth and benevolence, embracing us and saying a blessing. It was a very quick discharge, so we were done in about five minutes! They were happy to be back at Shevet upon arriving, to sleep in their bed and eat their own food! Please pray for our beautiful Khonav as she is looking towards her cath! Please also pray that we could continue to be like older sisters to her.
When she came back, I asked her if she was too big for a teddy bear. She held out her hand. I placed the teddy in her hand, and she smiled and held it close to her. Mum got up and hugged me. Funny how a teddy bear can cross the language barrier. When I left, she smiled and waved.
Today was Khonav’s first “official” day at the hospital, despite her ER visit when she first arrived. She is settling in well and I think really enjoying her time in Israel. She went to the beach for the first time yesterday, although she was too tired to walk the 5 minute journey home, and we had to collect her in the car. It seems like they have grateful hearts for everything and I know this attitude of not grumbling is very beautiful to God.
Thankfully, today at the cardiology clinic, things went smoothly. It was very special to spend the day with Khonav and her mum, and with many of the other families. It felt a bit like everyone in the hospital was Kurdish today! Israa’s father was able to help navigate the new families around the hospital, and translate into Bahdini.
The cardiologist explained that despite the low saturations, he saw on her echo that her heart is functioning relatively well; she has a VSD and a problem with her pulmonary artery. Tomorrow he will carry out a diagnostic catheterisation, and get a better idea of her situation including the state of her coronary arteries so they can plan a surgery.
Khonav and her mother arrived in Israel this morning, traveling from Kurdistan with another child, Halbast, and his mother. They were escorted from Kurdistan by our Shevet head nurse Colin, as we were concerned that both of these children might need oxygen given during the flight and could become unstable during their journey here.
I woke up to Colin calling me, saying that they had arrived and Khonav’s oxygen saturations had dropped dangerously low, so the airport doctor in Israel wanted to call an ambulance and transfer her immediately to Sheba ER. Co-worker Jana and I got up quickly as we realised a second car was needed to bring Halbast home, releasing Julio to translate for Khonav at the hospital.
The updates kept coming from Colin: “Her saturation has dropped to 40%”… “she’s improving, she’s stabilizing…” “the airport has not called an ambulance….”. Thank God that we don’t have to do any of these things in our own strength, but only we are joining in with what God has already laid out before us!
So, after we met them, Julio and I took Khonav to the emergency room of the hospital. Khonav is 14 years old, and very beautiful. She was very tired during the time I was with her today, and her whole body looks blue. Her main diagnosis is Tetralogy of Fallot, which is a combination of different structural heart defects. In addition to this, her body has developed some additional blood vessels to help provide oxygen to her body. She has never had any surgery before, and isn’t on any medication. Her normal oxygen saturation is around 60-75%. It seems a miracle that she has lived this long with a heart with so many complex problems.
Today we observed the problems of her heart condition in the ER. As her blood was drawn for the test, we were stunned by the colour of it; almost black, and very thick. Khonav was put on IV fluids to help hydrate her and improve her oxygen, however after one bag had infused, her oxygen saturations were as low as 30%.
Her mother was strong throughout the difficult day, despite her tiredness. I loved to see how she was caring for Khonav, and was able to be in a good spirit. We also received news from the mums back at our home, that they were waiting to welcome them, and wishing Khonav well.
We were able to bring her home after many hours in the ER. She will return to the hospital for her “official” first assessment on Wednesday, and hopefully to be admitted for a diagnostic catheterisation. Please pray for Khonav, that she will settle in well to our home, and that she and her mum will feel loved and welcome. Please also pray for her safety and healing of her heart in God’s timing and under his perfect care.