Deya's Heart Surgery


Another Hurdle Cleared

Posted on Thu, 06/18/2009 - 01:00 by Jonathan Miles

Deya cleared another hurdle today en route to her heart surgery, as she successfully navigated the PPD test for tuberculosis. It cost a few tears, as the Iraqi children are seasoned enough to know that a needle prick may be coming when someone in white grabs their arm. But our hope is that these children, like all of us, will look back one day and see that all the suffering was worthwhile.

Today's Catheterization Postponed

Posted on Wed, 06/17/2009 - 01:00 by Emily_Brooks

Deya had an early start today. She was still half asleep as her mother carried her downstairs and we all walked to the car for the drive to the hospital. Deya was scheduled for a catheterization this morning and spent the better part of the day waiting in a hospital room to undergo the procedure. Throughout the day she was very restless. She became obviously afraid of getting poked by a needle whenever a nurse came too close. Her mother was also very nervous on Deyas behalf and continuously made efforts to keep her entertained and distracted from the hospital staff.

After several hours of waiting we were told that, due to complications with another patients procedure, Deyas catheterization was postponed. Both Deya and her mother seemed almost relieved that nothing would happen today. Deya literally started laughing and jumping for joy! We then went to the hospital play room where Deya ate lunch and then made herself right at home. She enjoyed playing with the numerous board games and creating pictures with stamps and paint. Hopefully she will be able to go back to the hospital next week to have her catheterization done.

Two Long Days Of Testing

Posted on Mon, 06/15/2009 - 01:00 by Justin_Strong

We have spent the last two days taking Deya and the three other Iraqis who crossed with her through a battery of tests and examinations at Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Physical exams, X-rays, blood work, EKG, and echocardiograms are some of the tests that they have undergone in order to receive this life saving treatment. What are normally simple exams have taken considerably longer than usual due to the severity and complicated nature of these children's problems. An echocardiogram which normally takes 15 minutes has taken an hour, the simple procedure of drawing blood has taken numerous pokes with the needle in order to find the atrophied, hair-thin veins. The mothers and children, though visibly tired, have proven very resilient to the stress of these last few grueling days. They are so eager and desperate to help their children that they are willing to go through a great deal.

While Deya made a fuss during most procedures, she seems to be becoming braver around the doctors, rather than more fearful. After having her blood drawn she was understandably upset, so I introduced her to the children's play room which occupied her until lunch.

After a couple more tests she came home with us to Jerusalem to rest after a long day. There is no word yet about an exact surgery date.

Welcome To Jerusalem

Posted on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 01:00 by Justin_Strong

We brought Deya to Jerusalem today, after a long journey from Jordan. At the border there is an automatic door which divides the security portion of the border from the waiting area which prevents one side seeing to the other. But when the automatic door opened for a crossing tour group, I was able to catch a glimpse of the Iraqi families having their passports checked. I know how stressful crossing the border can be, so I smiled and waved to them to let them know I was there, and to reassure them that everything would be okay. They saw me just as the automatic door was closing again and, recognizing me from the Jordan screening, smiled and waved back.

About 20 minutes later they emerged from the security terminal, excited to make it through, but understandably very tired. I greeted them and offered them some snacks since they had certainly been in the border well before lunch time. Minutes later, I secured everyone and everything in our van and, after a few pictures, a few crying babies, some seat shuffling, and some seat belt mishaps, we were on our way to Jerusalem.

We arrived about two hours later and the new families were greeted by all the volunteers and other Iraqi patients who prepared a special Kurdish meal for them.

Deya is quite the little princess. She has already shown off two fancy dresses to us.

A Vision In Pink

Posted on Mon, 06/08/2009 - 01:00 by Martha_Berg

Deya is a five-year-old girl from Iraq. She arrived at our screening last week wearing a pretty pink dress. Dr. Tamir found that she has a subarterial VSD overriding the aorta, a large hole between the chambers of the heart, and a parachute mitral valve. At the time of Dr. Tamir's examination, Deya had chest congestion, which makes the heart situation worse. The chances of her being able to undergo heart surgery are only five percent, but Dr. Tamir has invited her for a "proper catheterization" in Israel. She and her mother are waiting at the home of Dirk and Manuela, along with four other children and their escorts, until their turn comes to cross over into Israel.

Dirk writes:

Today is the third day back home after the screening, which we remember as a joyful and at the same time exhausting experience. Five Iraqi families came to our home in Jordan with us to await their visas to Israel, and like the rest of us passed almost the entire first day at the guest flat sleeping. Of course everything is so new to them, and they were very quiet and did not want to disturb us or use our kitchen although we offered it to them many times. They prepared their own food downstairs, and only when they ran out of water or other necessities did they leave their quarters.

Communication with the families here was quite difficult at first, since they hardly speak any Arabic or English, with the exception of one grandmother. This older lady, who herself has raised 11 children, is active and has helped us with translation a lot. A Kurdish translator named Komar arrived here on Friday. It really helps a lot to have him build a bridge to their culture, even though two of the families speak a different dialect than Komar and the other three families.