For me it was the first time that I got to know Ahmed and his mother. Even before I saw him, the other coworkers told me what a joyful boy he was. Willem, a good friend of the Shevet Community, even sent greetings to the two from the Netherlands.
The stories told by others turned out to be correct – Ahmed really is a communicative and lively boy. In the waiting area, as can be seen in the photo, he had fun with the coworkers Elise and Luisa. He kept saying “Elo” and then started laughing out loud.
During his echo, which was scheduled for today, he had less fun. A total of three doctors teased him to keep him calm. All the better that the results were good. The doctor explained that a small stent with a valve might be implanted in a few years. That is why the doctors want to hold regular follow-up appointments.
His ECG and echo looked both really good, his doctor was very happy for now and said that he wants to see him again in three month. After we finished everything in the hospital we brought both of them safe back to Gaza. Let us pray for the whole family of Ahmed and his time until he comes back!
We brought him and his father back to the Gaza strip, and they where so glad to go home!
Ahmed has a really special place in my heart. When we picked them up one and a half weeks ago at the border crossing, Ahmed was in such a bad state. Now after his operations, it’s going much better with him! This is why I am so glad to do the work at Shevet Achim, because God uses us to serve these families.
Ahmed went into surgery today at Sheba Medical Center. Doctors discovered in Ahmed’s CT-scan yesterday, that he needs a new pathway for his blood to flow properly. It is extra complicated because Ahmed’s coronary arteries are flowing in a different pathway than what is normal.
Finally Ahmed received his urgent cath at Sheba Medical today. It went well and the doctors could do what was planned. For now Ahmed is in a good condition, but after some follow-ups, Ahmed probably needs another cath in a year.
We are glad that for now the cath could save Ahmed’s life and that the doctors had the opportunity to take care of him. Let’s praise God and pray for a good recovery.
Today Ahmed with his father were in the Sheba hospital and I went with them for an echo and other investigations. When the doctor looked at the computer screen for the medical records, he was shocked and ask why Ahmed was not coming two years ago to them!! Now the situation is very serious and they have to catheterize him as soon as possible.
Going back to Gaza today would have been very dangerous, and the doctor asked if Ahmed could stay in Ashdod with Shevet Achim. So now they are here in our new Shevet Achim house and we hope that Ahmed can have his operation very soon.
One of his cardiac doctors mentioned that last Thursday evening, he developed seizure-like symptoms. Ahmed was treated with an anti-seizure medication. They performed a brain ultrasound and EEG for Ahmed today, and the doctors are waiting for the results. Despite this, he looks very well, and hopefully he will be transferred to a lower acuity unit soon.
Many of us marveled at Ahmed’s photo, as he looked like an entirely different child. I thought of how Christ died so that we could be a new creation, and to be born again–redeemed and renewed. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 states,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
My prayer is for this to reign true in all of our lives.
Yesterday, Ahmed had his third big surgery. As we walked into the ICU, his Doctor told us they did a com-plete repair, and he should not have another surgery – praise God for that! His doctor told us to see for ourselves. As we entered the room, it became clear exactly what the doctor had meant by that.
Ahmed’s Doctors were performing an echo. They laughed together and seemed pretty relieved. But so much more, you could see the joy in the face of Ahmed’s Auntie. In German, I would say, “Sie strahlt wie ein Honigkuchenpferd“ – to grin like a Cheshire Cat. She was always kind and loving, but today you could see how much love she has for her nephew and how happy she is about this good news. One of the nurses told us they want to try to extubate him, which would also be very good news. We left a very happy auntie behind.
Earlier in the day, on our way to the hospital, Colin and I talked about how much we love Ahmed and his auntie. We agreed that both of them have been through a lot in the long time they have spent here. Ahmed has had to go through three surgeries so far; his patient auntie had to hear the words, ” Maybe we do the next surgery tomorrow,“ so often. I am more than happy for them. Praise God for His grace, that He is always working. May He bless them and surround them in the next day, so little Ahmed can completely recover.
The auntie waited happily during the many hours of surgery. I think she is feeling very hopeful that this time will be the last of the surgeries, and we will be seeing progress with his healing. She has many of her own children at home in Gaza, whom she misses during this time, but she remains faithfully beside Ahmad.
Even though I’ve been quite a lot to the hospital lately, I never had the possibility to meet Ahmed from Gaza.
So today, when I saw him for the first time, I realized that his arms are not much bigger than my thumb. He is such a tiny little boy. It was lovely to meet his aunt, she was very happy to have us visiting him.
However, her mood changed quite quickly when she found out that her nephew will need a third surgery.I talked to his doctor to get a few updates and here is what he told me:
During the weekend they had tried to extubate him – without success. He was too weak. They performed some blood tests in order to find out if the little boy has some kind of virus. But the main issue is still that his BT shunt is too big. Most of the blood goes to the lungs and not to the organs and other parts of the body. They know for sure that he’ll need another surgery when he is stronger, however they have not yet decided what exactly they’re going to do as they have several options.
Please pray for strength for his aunt, so that she can get trough this difficult time together with Ahmed.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”
As I entered Ahmed’s hospital room, I was very happy to see him resting in his bed with his eyes open. I smiled at his cute little face and his auntie entered the room. Her face lit up as she came to greet me. Ahmed’s aunt has been by his side from the beginning, and she has given everything to keep him safe.
Only one day after his surgery, Ahmed is doing very well, but he is still intubated. Please pray.
Please continue to pray for Ahmed, as his body adjusts to these revisions. They will continually monitor Ahmed and see if he is responding well, and if they will be able to extubate him soon, perhaps tomorrow.
His patient auntie was so happy. Her face was lit up with a beautiful smile, as she explained that he is just 20 days old, but they want to do a very big surgery for him. She has waited on behalf of her family for over a week for his surgery to happen. All were growing anxious. Archie showed her a photo of Ahmed which he had on his phone and we all agreed that he was a very handsome boy. Thankfully, he is in the hands of God.
“He is so small!” These were the first words Ahmed’s smiling aunt said to me. What can I say, she is correct. But Ahmed is not only small, he is also incredibly cute. His beautiful little eyes rested on me as I was visiting him, and I couldn’t stop staring at his beautifully made face. Even though he is just a few days old, he had an awake and curious look in his eyes. Such a beautifully created and uniquely loved baby.
Ahmed is still waiting on the doctors to decide what kind of surgery they will perform, and in the meantime, the loving staff and his auntie are always by his side.
On his second day of life, newborn Ahmed’s parents rushed him to the hospital in Gaza after noticing he was blue. He spent nearly the next month in the ICU, waiting for someone to help him get to advanced medical care in Israel.
We heard of Ahmed this week, and waited all week for space to open up in one of the hospitals which performs heart surgery. Finally our friends at the Sheba Medical Center made every possible effort and opened up a free ICU bed on Thursday afternoon, just as everything was closing for the weekend.
Yousef and Amar though kept pushing and arranged for Ahmed’s transfer on Friday morning. Moshe reports that he and Frank were at the hospital to meet him:
Ahmad came today, and while we stayed outside as the nurse organized his room, we met his aunt, who looked worried. About hour later, we entered his room:
Ahmad was there, lying peacefully, everything calm. Before Shabbat there are just a few people available in hospital, and his room was peaceful and quiet.
The nurse said he is stable hemodynamically, and he is not eating except for an IV. They hope his surgery will be on Sunday.
Please pray that God will bless his time in Israel and keep him healthy, and that he will grow to be happy child.