Without being able to see “inside,” we can see such a big change on the outside for Khonav! Since the surgery, she has vastly improved in what she is capable of doing physically. She is also very determined not to have to use the wheelchair. She has been out to the Carmel Market, walked to the beach a few times and yesterday even had a (short) go on the exercise machines outside!
Today Khonav had duly fasted ahead of her CT scan, and was feeling hungry when we arrived at the hospital. As we were waiting, a really lovely doctor passed us, who had been very taken with Khonav while she was an inpatient.
At Sheba Medical Center, after signing in on the fourth floor, Khonav’s first step was a blood test. On the way, she spotted a fish tank and we spent a while admiring all the fish. Khonav’s mum was really impressed by how beautiful they were – all sorts of colours and sizes.
After the blood test, we all made ready for Khonav’s echo-cardiogram. I was really impressed with how calmly she handled both the blood test and echo. Both Khonav and her mother have a real peacefulness about them, and a huge amount of patience.
Then came the wait for the doctor. Just as we sat down, we spotted the tea trolley! To be honest, we were all really excited by this. With hot chocolate, coffee, tea and cake, we sat together talking, looking at pictures, taking selfies, and looking at the rain out the window. Khonav’s love for all the other children at the Shevet house is really obvious. She is always asking about them and showing me pictures she’s taken of them. This is so reflective of God’s heart for community, and it’s so beautiful to see this heart in Khonav.
As co-worker Brianna and I entered Khonav’s hospital room, her face lit up and underneath her oxygen mask we could see a bright smile.
I haven’t seen Khonav and her mother in a week so there were many kisses and hugs. I just love them so much and the way they express their love to us. Of course, one of mum’s first questions was if we wanted something to eat! Her caring heart for Khonav and also for us is so beautiful.
After a while of sitting and chatting, the social workers came. These people are doing such a great job! Khonav went with them to a craft class to paint something. But before they went, Daiki Khonav showed us proudly a picture that Khonav drew – it was such a lovely moment.
After Khonav’s left lung collapsed yesterday, she is still recovering with high amounts of supplemental oxygen. She wasn’t too happy about wearing the mask, but it really helps her and she understood why she needs to wear it. Khonav talked a lot about coming home (to Jaffa) but before that will happen, she will need an x-ray tomorrow. Hopefully after the results, they can reduce the amount of needed oxygen so she can finally return to our home in Jaffa again.
I know she really wants to be at home, but I also know that she enjoys painting a lot so I am happy about the time she can spend in hospital to recover from everything. Please pray with me that she will not get upset about staying in the hospital a bit longer, but will enjoy painting even more. In our prayers we can also support her mother who is such a big help for Khonav.
The picture that she drew yesterday of a tree and a rose, was posted on a board outside of the unit. We all marveled at her creation. Today she drew a picture of a river and fields, which she described of as Kurdistan. She draws very beautifully.
Today was the first time I’d seen Khonav since her operation. As soon as I spotted her, propped up against a pillow in her hospital bed, I ran over, not really able to contain my excitement. I can’t put into words how happy it made me to see her. She looks so, so good. Before the surgery, there was an underlying blue tinge to her skin, but now her complexion has completely changed. Everyone can see the difference!
Khonav and her mum are such a lovely pair; they have definitely come to feel like family during their time here. Hospitable even in hospital, Khonav’s mum ushered me to the big comfy chair next to Khonav’s bed and rushed off to bring us cakes from the tea trolley.
We had a really nice time together – looking at photos from Jaffa beach trips, writing our names, talking about how the other families were doing, and of course, eating cake! Khonav and her mum are really looking forward to coming back to Jaffa soon. It’s really good to see how at home they feel here, and I was really touched by how happy they were to see Georgia and I.
Please join us in thanking God for this wonderful change in Khonav. In the words of Psalm 75v9: “But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob”
Khonav today is improving well, but is still on a high amount of oxygen support. Her mother is filled with so much joy over the changes she sees in her daughter.
Khonav’s mother was so eager to point out many parts of her daughter and ask us to confirm her excited suspicions: that she has had a complete transformation in the colour of her hands, feet and face. Yes, we had to agree with her, she is looking a beautiful colour, no longer blue.
The mother also has had a transformation. She was so so happy, it is hard to put into words. Thank God for the joy that she has. It was a very big blessing to see her beautiful face lit up with delight seeing Khonav.
Khonav was already in the secondary ICU, although with chest drains and with oxygen support from a nasal cannula. She was reasonably cheery and bravely said she wasn’t in too much pain. She needs to do some breathing exercises, which Claudia empathised with, and said from her own experience, it is one of the most painful things to do. Khonav’s mum was quite persistent in trying to encourage her to get on with the exercises.
Thank God for the quick recovery of our little sister Khonav after surgery, just on Thursday last week!
Do you have a dream of your life? Khonav has. The 14-year-old just wants a surgery for her broken heart, that makes her able to experience the world out of the car or the wheelchair, to move faster than in slow motion. And praise God, today she was admitted in the hospital for a surgery tomorrow!
Our teenager started the day with a happy smile on her lips that shows also a little bit of confidence. And the smile remained on our beauty’s lips during the long waiting time in the hospital, the different examinations and the preparation for the surgery. What a gift to be able to smile facing a big surgery! Her mother is more anxious but also a very sweetheart and has got a happy spirit and is just such a good support for Khonav.
For me, Khonav is my little sister, the sister I always wished to have. And it is just so difficult to send her to the surgery. My heart is a little more worried than I usually experience since not all surgeries are so easy and completely successful. Therefore I need to build my trust in God – HE is good!
I know God knows all the dreams Khonav stores in her heart, for sure also her biggest one. Please God, hold Your hands over Khonav! Please pray for a good night and a blessed and shepherded surgery tomorrow!
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.