Ahmed's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Ahmed Heads Home to a New Life

Posted on Sat, 12/18/2010 - 06:40 by Jonathan Miles

A brisk sunny Friday brought Ahmed's stay with us in Jerusalem to a close, with one more fun time in the garden out back with our coworker Ryan (click play arrow above).

Then Saturday it was to the airport in Amman, Jordan for the flight home to Iraq, Ahmed and his buddy/competitor Hemin together until the end.

May God be glorified in the new lives He's given to these boys.

Ahmed's Last Echo Brings Shouts of "Kurdistan!"

Posted on Mon, 12/13/2010 - 00:00 by Alyssa Henson
Today I had the privilege of riding with the Kurdish mothers and their children to Wolfson hospital. Ahmed went for his follow-up echo. The look on Ahmeds mothers face told me she was fearful that the results would come back abnormal, but thank the Lord, everything was normal and the doctor agreed that they could be discharged and return home! She showed me a picture on her phone of her other beautiful son in Kurdistan, and I could tell she longed to bring Ahmed back home and to her family. A thumbs-up sign from Ahmed indicated that he was happy to be at his last appointment and ready to get back to his home as well. He shouted Kurdistan! Kurdistan! and we all hugged and headed to the nurses station to have his stitches removed before heading to the cafeteria for lunch.

Ahmed, shown here on the left, is all smiles after a successful echo. I am so relieved that he is doing better and I would ask that you pray for his continued health. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us Ephesians 3:20. Let us remember to give Him praise for our health and never doubt that God can and does perform miracles.

Intertwined Lives

Posted on Mon, 12/06/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West
When six mothers, each with a child having a life threatening heart defect, come from a distant land, leaving all family, friends and belongings behind, to enter a foreign country and live as family, how do you separate their stories? They are strangers with intertwined lives. Today four of those six children were scheduled for echocardiograms at Wolfson Medical Center.

When we entered the echo department we found it more than half full of currently hospitalized patients waiting for their echoes. The evidence of patience seen in these children and mothers was remarkable. It was long wait, far past lunch time, but an excellent time of teaching, sharing, taking turns and learning the difference between taking a toy and asking for a toy.

Once Ahmed's echo was completed he just wanted to get outdoors were he could roll in the grass and play with his friend Hemin. But his mother wanted to know if she could return to Iraq yet. The decision from the doctor was to reduce the medication again, and if all continues to look well next week he will be released to travel from Israel to his home in northern Iraq.

That sounds like a good reason to celebrate with a ride to the Sea! Next week will be busy with preparations and celebrations of healed hearts and reunited families. Please pray for continued healing and new lives for these children and their families.

Ahmed's Second Echo Encouraging

Posted on Mon, 11/29/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West
This morning Gadi transported a van full of women and children to Wolfson Medical Center. Three little boys from Kurdistan - Ahmed, Hemin, and Hastiyar - were to have follow-up echocardiograms. Jenn took the families to the echo room as I went to the ward to collect medical charts. When I arrived in the echo department, the three mothers of the three boys were seated along the wall, watching Jenn play with the children. The time and appointments progressed quickly today and all three boys got an excellent progress report. Each mother is wondering how many more echoes their child will have before being released to return home to their families. Please continue to pray for Ahmed's recovery and healing.

Echo Shows a Healing Heart for Ahmed

Posted on Thu, 11/25/2010 - 00:00 by Jennifer_Chang
It has been 10 days since Ahmed had his heart surgery at Wolfson Hospital. Today was his first post-surgery echo, an imaging procedure allowing doctors to observe how well his heart is responding to the surgical procedure.

Gadi and I arrived at the hospital sometime mid morning, together with Ahmed and his mother. There we were met by Mary, Connie and Sara's mother in the 'Fish Room.' Mary and Connie had already arrived much earlier because Sara (another Shevet child from Kurdistan) was scheduled for morning surgery. As Sara's mother seemed rather downcast, I was glad that Ahmed's mother was there to bring some comfort and assurance.

While waiting his turn in the echo room, Ahmed was in a cheery mood and entertained himself in the little play corner. But shortly he was called in. The echo process went smoothly and we were happy to receive the encouraging report that his heart is healing well. His next echo has been scheduled for the morning of Monday, November 29.

Fresh Strength for Ahmed

Posted on Sun, 11/21/2010 - 00:00 by Michelle_Bradburn
Ahmed was the first familiar face this morning as I walked down the children's ward. He greeted me with a big smile with that friendly squint in his eyes. It was wonderful to see him walking around, so cheerfully! He looked a bit weak, with shadows under his eyes, but there was a care-free confidence in his eyes seeming to shine with determination. I'm sure he'll soon be running and playing with new, unfamiliar energy.

The hospital said he's doing wonderful, and sent him home to Jerusalem to continue his good recovery. I'm so thankful for this special boy and this beautiful new hope God has given him! Pray that God will use these recovery days to fill this boy with strength in his body, joy in his heart, and new hope every morning. Hope that comes only from the One who brought him here, the One who is healing him, and the One who loves him with a love that stronger life, and stronger even then death.

I pray that out of the Fathers glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Ahmed Already Walking the Halls

Posted on Thu, 11/18/2010 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey
We had taken Sara from Kurdistan to Wolfson this morning for her appointment, and in the process of getting her tests done we saw Ahmed walking the halls with his mother. He looked so good. He wasn't out of the intermediate ICU yet, but he was up walking the hall already. He and his mother walked down to see Hastiyar and all the families were rejoicing for his successful surgery. I didn't get to see him for much time because I was with Sara and her mother, but I saw him long enough to know that he is doing great. Before we left I hurried in his room and gave him a lolli-pop that had a tigers face on it. He smiled real big when he saw it. Thanks so much for all your prayers and pray that all will continue to go well.

Click to send an e-mail message to Ahmed and his mother.

Ahmed Released From Main ICU

Posted on Wed, 11/17/2010 - 06:40 by Donna_West

Ahmed was resting in ICU when I arrived this morning at the hospital. As I came down the hall a little later I saw him being moved into the intermediate ICU and doing quite well on only his second day after surgery. He didn't seem to be enjoying any sense of renewed energy or playfulness as of yet, but he did give one little quick smile as he continued to look forward to food.

As I left, his mother told me he didn't eat much but he was resting quietly. Thank you for your continuing prayers.

Click to send an e-mail message to Ahmed and his mother.

Ahmed Breathing On His Own After Surgery

Posted on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

Ahmed just had his surgery yesterday and I was really surprised today when I walked into the ICU and they were already extubating him (removing him from mechanical respiration). I really feel much compassion for a child when I see them extubating them because I can just imagine the fear they feel. It's not just taking the tubes out, you can tell that it's painful. Ahmed's legs were shaking and he had tears running down the sides of his eyes. He's really a brave little boy. I went and got his mother, and when he saw her he started crying and she went to him and it wasn't long before he had calmed down. It seemed that when she put her hand on his head a calmness went through his whole body. She must have been praying, I know I was. We love our children but God even loves them more then we ever could. This reminded me that God is like this mother and son, one touch from Him can give us the peace that all is well.

Michelle has been leading activities for Ahmed and the other children on a daily basis, and adds this report:
When I went to see Ahmed in the ICU, he had only just been extubated, and I found him resting with his eyes closed. Standing at the bedside, I my heart rejoiced for this little Kurdish boy who's made his way deep into my heart. He was resting, and even amidst the discomfort of having just been extubated, he looked completely undisturbed. I even saw the corners of his mouth twitching a bit, as if he were barely holding back a smile.

After a few moments he opened his eyes and looked at me. When he saw me he broke into a big smile, so I smiled back. As I rested my hand on his hand, I said aloud thankful prayer in his language. With a brimming heart I thanked God for bringing my brother Ahmed through surgery, for healing him, and for loving him so much. And with that sweet smile on his face he closed his eyes to rest again.
I pray that God would continue to bring strength and hope to Ahmed's body and heart, and that with each new moment, waking and sleeping, he would realize with excitement and gratefulness the hugeness of God's love for him.

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4)

Ahmed's Heart Surgery a Success

Posted on Mon, 11/15/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Ahmed was the second surgery of the day. Upon arrival at Wolfson Hospital this morning I found Ahmed in the playroom enjoying a Hebrew story after practicing writing his numbers in Kurdish. His only complaint was that he was hungry.

His mother told me that Ahmed is comfortable with the echo procedure, but that he is afraid of surgery (pronounced ameliah in Kurdish). I didn't fully understand what she was telling me until the nurse came to get him from the playroom to take him to the ICU. Then Ahmed 's mother, whose name is Taban, once again reminded me - "No ameliah" and then told Ahmed it was time for his echo. Ahmed was taken to the ICU to wait for the child from the first surgery to leave the operating room.

He watched the monitors and I told him which numbers were for the heart rate, which for blood pressure, which for respirations and oxygen levels. As the nurse began to prepare medications and lay them at the foot of his bed, I watched his heart rates and respiration counts increase. With a little distraction of looking at pictures on my camera which we had taken earlier, the numbers and the stress levels came back down. Within several minutes the medication had been injected into the port and Ahmed went from a whimper to a relaxed sleep.

Only then was it time to care for patient #2 Ahmed's mother Taban. Many people may wonder what you do for a frightened mother when you speak different languages whatever it takes! The time eventually passes and you get the wonderful news that the operation went very well. We are thankful to say that Ahmed is now recovering in the ICU from a successful heart operation which repaired his underdeveloped tricuspid valve. Thank you for your prayers for Ahmed and Taban, and please continue to ask the Father for a full recovery.