Ahmed's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Ahmed Leaves the Hospital Ten Days Post-Op

Posted on Sun, 01/02/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West
One sign of Ahmed's healing was his healthy appetite when we saw him in the hospital today. Another came as Tim (a short-term volunteer from Wales) and I were waiting when Ahmed and his mother came off the elevator from his echo appointment. The look of delight on his face when he saw us was second only to when he walked up to me, took hold of both my hands, looked up into my eyes and smiled. How precious this little boy is!

After some playtime while we waited in the hospital, Ahmed was discharged. On the way home Tim took us by the sea near Jaffa so Ahmed and his mother could see just how magnificent our Creator and Healer is.

Once we arrived back at the Shevet House there were many warm welcomes and embraces. At medicine time this evening, we saw the grace of God in action once more. Ahmed took his medicine with a sweet drink to wash it down without any problems. We look forward to having another week to enjoy this family as they await the final echo in Israel next week. Please pray the rest of this healing will be completed by the Lord and another surgery will not be necessary in the future.

Confessions, Clowns, and Coca-Cola

Posted on Tue, 12/28/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

It is a gift to have a trusted friend to share your fears and heartaches with, especially one who understands AND speaks your own language. That is what Ahmed's mother provided for the 26 year old mother of Lawand this morning as Ahmed still lay sleeping. Ahmed's recovery is a testimony to the healing power of God's grace and mercy and we a very thankful. We enjoyed time together today, including a clown act and fun with a balloon.

It was a great morning until the nurse came in with Ahmed's medications and that presented problems that were beyond the capabilities of four women to resolve. We did the best we could to get the medicine in him but the taste was SO repulsive to him he actually threw it up. As he sat up on the bed, his little body quivering from the experience, I knew we had to find another way. Later on, while pondering the problem and considering what we had already tried without success, I remembered the line from a song that said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down".

I brought Ahmed his personal bottle of Coca Cola along with pantomimed instructions of taking the medicine and then washing it down quickly with a drink of Coco Cola. It went very well in the practice session. Please join me in prayer that it will work for him at medicine time.

Ahmed Making Strides Towards Wellness

Posted on Sun, 12/26/2010 - 00:00 by Laura_Waris

I arrived at Sheba early in the morning for a visit with Ahmed and his mum. He had his most eventful post-op day, and I was pleased to be there with my meager Kurdish skills and trusty little pocket dictionary, since Ahmeds mum was full of questions and wanted to know how her son was really doing. Regardless of the language gap, it was nice to note the friendly manner of the hospital staff.

Ahmeds echo today showed that he was doing very well and the doctor was pleased with his progress. He ate for the first time since surgery, and my Kurdish vocabulary expanded to contain the words for his breakfast of yogurt and eggs (mas and hyelka). Ahmed was also detached from his IV and morphine drip. Once all his attachments were removed he also took his first shower. Since he will no longer be receiving his medications intravenously, he also took his first medications orally via syringes filled with syrupy medicine. It took some coaxing before he agreed to let his mum administer them to him.

All these events signify that Ahmed is progressing well in his healing. As I left he was set to leave the ICU for the Pediatric Cardiology Ward on the floor above. Please continue to pray for his recovery and that there wont be any setbacks. But also give thanks with us for his good condition!

Ahmed Lights Up After Surgery

Posted on Thu, 12/23/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Mary and I were awake slightly after 4 AM this morning, preparing to avoid major traffic problems so we could arrive at Sheba Hospital by 7 AM, where Ahmed was resting in advance of his surgery. Our Israeli friend and Kurdish interpreter Ilan was on standby for the doctors to phone for interpretation to Ahmed's mother prior to his surgery.

After she acknowledged that she understood the contents of the consent forms, she put Ahmed's shoes on him and we took a little walk up one floor to the surgery department.

I was very impressed with the time and personal touch the doctors gave Ahmed and his mother before Ahmed entered the surgical suite itself. Ahmed's mother accompanied her son into the surgical suite at about 8:30 AM this morning, strong, assured and composed. When the she left her sleeping son in the hands of the doctors, she returned to us barely able to stand. A doctor once told me he has two patients in this situation, the mother and the child who each have individual needs to be attended to.Now was that time.

Ahmed was brought from surgery to the ICU about 2 PM and at nearly 3:30 PM his mother was still waiting to catch little more than a glimpse of her sleeping son.

But even in the short glimpse the favorable result of the surgery was evident in the brightness of Ahmed's coloring. He looked as though a light bulb had been turned on inside him, so pink and healthy. Please keep Ahmed in your prayers as he continues to heal. The Lord has a bright future in store for this young boy.

Ahmed Poised for Heart Surgery

Posted on Tue, 12/21/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Myself and Brian, a short-term volunteeer from Wales, arrived at Sheba Hospital slightly before 7:30 this morning to find Ahmed and his mother still sleeping. The nurse came to check his name and statistics and lead us to the area where the procedure would take place. At the elevator we met Ahmed's new friend from yesterday and he and his mother were on their way to surgery as Ahmed was on his way to the catheterization lab.

Ahmed's mother began having problems receiving calls on her phone. I could see her becoming concerned, and she kept saying something about Ahmed's father calling from Kurdistan. The isolation of the language barrier was stressful enough without being cut off from family back home also. So Brian and I took her for a walk looking for a phone store for some help. When the problem was quickly remedied she just hugged me and hugged me in appreciation. We immediately returned to the waiting area and found Ahmed had been taken to ICU upon completion of the procedure. The doctor said the catheterization gave them all the information they needed to perform the surgery. Tomorrow they will make the decision on when the surgery will be done. We found a very strong and determined, yet restless Ahmed in the ICU, requiring more than one nurse to keep him from moving. I am sure the "fight" instilled in this gentle little boy has helped him fight for his life more than once, but today it kept us busy for a while until the medication could calm him down. By early afternoon he was sitting up in bed, having lunch, and squirting me with water from a syringe as he waved good-bye. Please keep this family in your prayers, as well as Ahmed's new found friend.

Ahmed Brings Language of Peace

Posted on Mon, 12/20/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

We had an incredible day at Sheba Hospital waiting for Ahmed admission for pre-surgical heart catheterization. The play area where this five year old boy was 'contained' was full of many different children today. Some were developmentally delayed and walked unsteadily for their age and size. Some were infants and toddlers, boys and girls. Some had curious personalities, some aggressive, some shy, some from Muslim families, some from Jewish families and some you just couldn't quite tell. The one thing all these children had in common was they were all waiting in a pediatric cardiac area because of heart defects. The one little boy who was close to Ahmed's age plainly demonstrated that any toy Ahmed was playing with was his favorite "I want it NOW" toy. Hour after hour I was amazed to see Ahmed accept his mother's direction to move on to a different toy. With my very limited command of the Kurdish language, my only positive re-enforcement was in the form of smiles, thumbs-up, and an acknowledging nod with the word "bosh" which means "good" in Kurdish.

When I heard Ahmed's mother quietly crying and praying in the car this morning in the back seat, I asked the Lord to send his peace to her and her son. I had no idea that those hours in such a diverse and small area would be the place where that peace was most needed. At one point this little boy on the playground came over to Ahmed to snatch a toy out of his hand and I intervened with that pointed finger that says "No" in any language, but Ahmed gave him the toy without any prompting. We had left Jerusalem at 10 AM and by about 2 PM we could see there was not going to be an opportunity to leave the waiting area to get lunch. So Gadi went and brought us a small lunch. As we began to eat the little boy was pointing to Ahmed's food and stomping his feet. He had been there about as long as we had. As the little boy crowded in a chair next to Ahmed, Ahmed moved his chair to make room for him. I smiled at Ahmeds mother and with a thumbs-up said," Good Salam" in an effort to communicate it was" good peace keeping today".

Many things caused the time to drag on and on but, when the end of the day came the hospital sent for an ambulance to transport us to another building for Ahmed's chest x-ray. The driver of that ambulance was delighted to meet these Kurdish visitors because he was working on a Masters Degree in Middle Eastern studies, with an emphasis on Kurdistan. There are no grand conclusions this writer can come to other than God is truly at work in the world and in our midst. The big picture is far more detailed than I can begin to image, but the fragrance is beautiful.

Please keep this family in your prayers as they face the heart catheterization tomorrow and surgery in the next couple days. They are somewhat isolated due to the language barrier but they seem to have the language of peace all about them. As ambassadors of peace, please also pray for all of God's purposes for their being in Israel will be accomplished.

Ahmed Reaches Israel Blue and with Hope

Posted on Tue, 12/14/2010 - 00:00 by Anna_Hakkien

Five-year-old Ahmed from Kurdish northern Iraq visited Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv for the first time today. His heart was operated on in Italy when he was 1.5 years old; fortunately his mother had the papers from the Italian hospital with her. This first evaluation included ECG, oxygen saturation reading, echocardiogram, and a clinical examination by a doctor. His oxygen saturation level is 73% and you can easily tell that there's something wrong with his heart by his skin colour (blue lips) and clubbing finger nails.

Ahmed was happily playing with other kids and on his own during the long wait in the hospital. He especially enjoyed the elevator trips and you could read it from his eyes that it was very exciting for him. Now we are waiting to see when his operation will be.