Ahmed's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Ahmed's Farewell

Posted on Sun, 09/13/2015 - 20:46 by Maureen Grimshaw

Ahmed - as you have seen in all of the photographs - is a delightful child.  We have seen him change over the last 7 weeks in Israel.  Not only because he successfully recovered from his surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot but we have also seen him develop on all parameters as he gradually gained strength after the heart operation. 

I remember Ahmed from his first days here at Shevet, when he arrived after a tiring flight and the next morning was sent to Wolfson for his first assessment. His mother was breastfeeding him (even though he is already a year old he could not eat any kind of soft foods or crawl or move his legs).
After the surgery, Ahmed made good steady progress and was able to be discharged less than two weeks later, with no complications.  The follow-up echos showed good repair. After the final Echo, he and his mother flew out of Israel to their home in Kurdistan.  As always, we like to give our families a farewell party where everyone can encourage the parents about their stay and send them on their way to a new life after surgery.  
Ahmed's mother is a kind, helpful person who was willing to help with her small knowledge of English to translate for our staff.  She took care of Ahmed well, encouraged others, and was always very appreciative of the help she received from us.  
The days before he left we were able to watch him eat solid foods and begin to crawl and stand with support. The development of his interactions with people were encouraging and the doctors assured Ahmed's mother that he would gradually become stronger in the coming months.  
So we say a final farewell to you, Ahmed. May God bless your little life over the years and may you get to know Him as you grow and learn about your miracle in Israel.   

Ahmed's Final Echo

Posted on Mon, 09/07/2015 - 10:40 by Laura Graasvoll

Today, we took Ahmed to have his long-awaited final echocardiogram. 

He fell asleep on the way to the hospital, and we tried as best we could to keep him happy during the day. He cried a great deal, though, and was very tired. 

The echo was successful, however, and the Israeli doctors have permitted his travel home to Iraq. 

Awaiting paperwork after the echocardiogram, we played in the gardens and had lunch and tea.

After a long day, Ahmed was very tired and fell asleep on my lap. This gave his mother the opportunity to go for a short trip to the store, which she was very grateful for.

His mother said goodbye to her Kurdish friends at the hospital before we left. It was a very emotional farewell, and everyone was crying. These women have grown close to each other over the course of the treatment of their children.

Doctors, Echos, and Meds, Oh My!

Posted on Mon, 08/31/2015 - 18:21 by Jesse Tilman

Despite poor Ahmed's loud protests, the doctors were able to gauge his heart condition today with the echocardiogram and see that he is nearly ready to go back to Kurdistan for a full life. 

After some time crying, he did quiet down and let the doctors get the readings, which they can only do when the child is silent.

Today's echo, along with the rest of the scans he has had, were enough for Dr. Alona to say that next week will be Ahmed's final echo! Most of his few remaining medications have been stopped, and he is getting back to normal. 

He enjoys walking around between us when we sit down and hold him up. And although his dislike of the wires and probing of electrocardiograms hasn't lessened much, he has been healing well nonetheless. Soon we'll be saying goodbye to this special mother and son that God has brought over here for a short time.

Triple Whammy

Posted on Sun, 08/23/2015 - 20:21 by Alexa Bigl

Ahmed went to the hospital today for his first set of weekly tests since hospital discharge. After getting blood drawn, we headed up to the echo department. The cardiologist was very happy with how Ahmed’s echo looks.

He said the repair during surgery was great and that Ahmed is progressing wonderfully. We then got Ahmed hooked up to the EKG machine. Ahmed is on a strong medication to help his heart beat regularly without a dysrhythmia. The EKG confirmed this medication is doing its job, and Ahmed’s heart is in the correct rhythm.

We heard a while later the results from the blood draw were back and everything looked normal. We are so grateful for all the positive feedback in Ahmed’s recovery. Thank you for your prayers, and please continue them. God is doing a great work in Ahmed’s life.   

Ahmed Back in Jerusalem

Posted on Wed, 08/19/2015 - 21:55 by Laura Edwards

Praise the Lord for his healing touch! So far Ahmed is having a successful recovery and was able to come home today!

While we waited for confirmation on discharge I spent most of the morning playing with Ahmed and hanging out with the other mothers. We watched videos and sang songs. I took Ahmed with me for a walk around the halls and the play area. He was cheerful and seems to be feeling good and back to his normal self.

He is scheduled to have an echo on Sunday. Pray for good results and his continued healing, also for his mother as she cares for him.

Ahmed "Elvis" Has Left the Building

Posted on Sun, 08/16/2015 - 20:52 by Jesse Tilman

Ahmed is out of the ICU. More than that, he went straight to the children's ward! We got to be there today for mother and son's triumphant procession down the hall to their new quarters nearby the other Kurdish mothers. 

He's doing great and his rolly-polly physique with a good measure of baby fat is hardly the worse for wear. All drainage tubes have been removed and he is free to move around and be held up for some walking practice. Already he is good at pushing for what he wants, especially when he is ready to move out of one's lap. 
We thanked God for his goodness to this boy. God's care carries us each and every day.
"He delights in faithful love" Micah 7:18b

Ahmed Extubated

Posted on Thu, 08/13/2015 - 08:02 by Alexa Bigl

Going into the ICU today, it was very exciting to see Ahmed breathing on his own. He had the tube for his ventilator taken out earlier this morning. He has an oxygen mask on over his mouth and nose, but is able to have it taken off to eat. Ahmed is wheezing slightly, but we are hopeful this is simply due to throat irritation from the intubation tube.    

The doctors were doing their rounds when I walked in. The report was very good and Ahmed is progressing in his healing wonderfully. The plan is to take out his urinary catheter and atrial line later today.  

Ahmed was sleeping when we first arrived at Wolfson, but before we left he was awake. His big brown eyes are so beautiful. His mother has been very attentive to him and is always eager to hear how he is progressing.  

As Ahmed continues to heal, our prayers are for a transfer to the secondary ICU in the near future.        


Ahmed’s Surgery Day

Posted on Tue, 08/11/2015 - 22:36 by Austin Cords

Ahmed was the first surgery for today. We had been waiting for him for approximately six hours when he was transferred to ICU. It was an emotional time when he was put into surgery, but once he was being operated on there was a sense of peaceful expectation. Ahmed’s mother showed hospitality by graciously sharing her food and pictures of her family with us while we waited. There is something homely about sharing tea and memories with someone during such a crucial moment. I was glad that Anna, Maureen, and I were there to comfort and share with her during that time. It was evident that she was glad for the company regardless of who she was with.

We checked the board many times throughout the day to see the surgery progress and determined that there would be time to eat lunch before he was out of surgery. Some time after lunch Maureen checked just as he was admitted to ICU.

Ahmed’s mother was relieved and part of the team waited with her until they were finished processing him into ICU. He appeared stable. We are waiting to hear what the results of the surgery are.

What Are We Here For?

Posted on Tue, 08/11/2015 - 07:31 by Austin Cords

There are times when certain projects get put to the wayside to accommodate a more immediate need, and this was one of those days. We were contacted by the hospital in the afternoon; they were ready to begin the admittance process for Ahmed to prepare him for surgery in the morning. We gathered together in the courtyard and the community prayed for him and his mother.

Maureen and I then began our drive to the hospital. We reflected together on how often we can construct our own plans and then have them be disrupted. There was a joy found in the fact that the disruption today is a major part of what we are here for. We were able to drop everything in order to do God’s work in a direct and visible way, getting Ahmed to the hospital.

The admittance process was simple. After making sure they were settled in and that the nurses had no new information for us, we were able to head back to Jerusalem. We pray that Ahmed’s surgery this morning will be a full repair, and that both he and his mother had a restful night.

Ahmed's CT Scan

Posted on Tue, 07/28/2015 - 16:44 by Megan Taylor

Ahmed cried in the car all the way to the hospital. He had been required to fast before his CT scan and was thus very hungry and tired. It appeared to be stressful for Ahmed's Mother who was trying to get him to stop crying by distracting him and rocking him to sleep. 

This continued in the hospital as Ahmed had to sit and wait very long to be called for his CT scan. This was distressing for this hungry little boy and his Mother who didn’t like to see her son suffering; she shed a few tears of her own.

Once he was called up, Ahmed’s CT scan went very well. Ahmed was much happier when he could have some food and water afterwards.

On a side note, Doctors have observed the unusual shape of Ahmed’s head, some atypical characteristics, and delay to crawling and walking. We would like to get a Kurdish translator and ask Ahmed’s Mother some questions about her pregnancy and his birth to try and ascertain if these things are linked to his heart disease or possibly something else.

Doctors say that all he has to do is go back and wait for surgery for the time being here in Jerusalem.