Hamoudi's Heart Surgery


Smiling at Last

Posted on Sun, 12/08/2013 - 22:57 by Ryan Foley

As Hamoudi continues to make progress, it's becoming harder and harder to keep him still. As any healthy, young boy is, he's ready to get up and play! We are so encouraged that, only a week after his dangerous surgery, our biggest job is to keep him in bed. Our God is so good and has really answered us and all of you as we joined to intercede for this young boy. 

During our visit today, Hamoudi's dad received a well earned break and strolled around with one of our resident volunteers, Yousef. But he didn't know he would return to find everyone covered in stickers.

We also brought Hamoudi a gritte banz. This weekend we celebrated St. Nicholas day (a European holiday) at the Shevet base, where we all received these delicious treats. We couldn't leave Hamoudi out, of course. He loved it!

And we all got a surprise when Philip's brother and his kids strolled in with presents! I think this will help Hamoudi be more content as he stays in bed for several more days.

Please continue to pray with us, as Hamoudi will likely be having surgery towards the end of this week to get a permanent pacemaker.

The Lengths They'll Go To

Posted on Fri, 12/06/2013 - 02:00 by Jonathan Miles

A pre-Shabbat visit with our nurse Sonia demonstrated just to what lengths our Shevet community will go to bring a smile to Hamoudi's face as he recovers from Sunday's heart surgery:

Yes, he almost smiled that last time. What it really took though was bringing out the cucumbers he'd been longing for!

Coming Alive

Posted on Thu, 12/05/2013 - 22:21 by Benaiah
Four days have passed since Hamoudi's surgery, and his recovery is well underway. The original time estimate for his exit from the ICU was two weeks, so his swift exit within two days is nothing short of miraculous. Hamoudi's activity and health have progressed in giant leaps, and the hospital personnel are optimistic concerning his total recovery.
Today's visit found Hamoudi tired but awake, active, and willing to interact with the Shevet crew. Crayons, coloring pages, and balloons quickly cluttered the bed around him as volunteers tried to coax a smile to his face. Every now and then, a word or guesture would bring a small grin to his face, but only as long as his father remained close by.
It's clear Hamoudi is strongly attached to his father during this difficult time. Foregoing sleep and free time, Hamoudi's father hasn't strayed far from Hamoudi's bedside for the last four days. Each time he disappeared around the corner to get a drink or fix some coffee during our visit, tears would gather on Hamoudi's face until he reappeared.
No games, no reassurances, nothing from the volunteers could console him until his father returned.  
The nurses conveyed their happiness to us about the lack of problems encountered thus far. Each day, Hamoudi is getting stronger and more active. We did find out today, however, that Hamoudi will be getting a permanent pacemaker. After attaching a temporary pacemaker to Hamoudi for the last few days, the doctors believe a permanent replacement is the best option to ensure his heart's regular function in the future and will carry out the procedure early next week. This could prove to be a hindrance to Hamoudi's future choice of hometown, as he must be near a location able to provide assistance if anything were to go wrong with his upcoming pacemaker. Prayer is appreciated as Hamoudi and his family overcome this last obstacle. 
We left Hamoudi smiling as he exchanged words via phone with our coworker Philip back at the Shevet center. Though he is tired and understands to some extent the gravity of his situation, he still responds to inside jokes and phrases with a strong hint of his original zest. Each smile he favored the crew with brought laughter and happiness. Please continue to pray for his full recovery in the upcoming weeks. We can't wait to see him back to his old self and then a step further on to a new life.

It's a Miracle

Posted on Tue, 12/03/2013 - 22:47 by Marisa Schindler

How can I find words for this stunning day of healing and answered prayer?  How can I describe a miracle in words that goes over my mind’s understanding? If you continue to read the following blog you will become a witness and part of a life changing story.

Right before we left Shevet to visit Hamoudi today, the message of his relocation from the ICU to the secondary ICU was delivered to us. Arriving at the hospital, we were excited to see Hamoudi and his father. When we entered the room, Hamoudi’s father came towards us with a great smile. It was overwhelming to see Hamoudi on his second day after surgery in such a good health condition.

His heart is working very well and he may not need a permanent pacemaker. Also, he didn’t need any supplemental oxygen or chest drainage tubes. Besides sleeping a lot, which is good for his recovery, he woke up several times, asking for food and water.

Because we know that Hamoudi loves chocolate, Kristina’s mom bought chocolate pudding for him. He really enjoyed every spoonful of this awesome flavor. After exhausting himself by being awake, he fell asleep again.

Seeing Hamoudi so peaceful and healthy today made me ask the following question: How could his recovery be so quick? We could answer this question in a number of different ways. The doctors obviously did a great job in repairing the heart of Hamoudi. The nurses and volunteers have also done a great job in caring for him. But overall, when I see this little body, which was created with so much love from his heavenly father, I can’t help but call it a miracle. It’s an intervention of God in his creation to bring love, hope and healing to Hamoudi - and quickly. Being human, we cannot fully understand it, but we can see it and be joyful for the restoration brought to the four-year-old life of Hamoudi. Praise the Lord that God answers our prayers from around the world!

Thank you for each spoken word for Hamoudi and your trust in the Lord. There are still days coming up of difficulties if his body cannot handle all the changes from the surgery, so please keep praying for him and his family. But also be encouraged in what God is doing right now in Hamoudi’s life.

Extubated and Awake!

Posted on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 23:21 by Sarah Powell
When we arrived at Sheba hospital today, we were not able to see Hamoudi right away because another child was having an emergency surgery in the ICU, so no one was allowed to go in or out of the ICU. After waiting nearly two hours, we were finally told that we were allowed to enter, and by the time we got inside, Hamoudi had already been extubated. We were only able to go in two at a time, so Philip and Sonia went in to see him first. They said that when they entered Hamoudi was awake and crying for food and water. However, by the time Rahel and I entered his room thirty minutes later, he was fast asleep, covered in tubes and surrounded by bleeping machines. Philip went out with Hamoudi's dad to walk around for a little while and get some food since his dad had been at Hamoudi's bedside for nearly five hours straight  and had not eaten anything since the day before. The rest of us waited with Hamoudi, who slept peacefully and intermittently woke up crying for water and his father. 
During the moments that Hamoudi spent sleeping quietly, I watched in amazement as his chest rose and fell with each breath. It really seemed like I could see Hamoudi's little heart beating in sync with his steady breaths inside his chest. I could not help but marvel at the miracle of this breathing and beating after such a complicated surgery. Inside his small body, so many changes had taken place in the last several hours, and his body was taking it so well. Whenever he awoke and began crying again, it would not be long before exhaustion overtook him once more and he fell back asleep. It was difficult to watch him struggle to voice his thirst and desire for his father each time he awoke, but I am just so grateful that he is waking up at all and that he has any voice, weak or not. His life is truly a miracle.
When we left later, Philip told us about one of his conversations with Hamoudi's father. His father had told Philip that long before he knew of Shevet he had heard on the news that people from around the Middle East were coming into Israel for medical care, and he shared with Philip that when he heard that, he somehow just knew that he would one day go with Hamoudi to Israel. And now they are here. Hamoudi has just come through a very high risk open-heart surgery. And God has been proving his faithfulness to this father and son over and over. 
Many thanks to all of you who diligently prayed for Hamoudi as he underwent his surgery. Please keep him in your prayers. The weeks ahead will determine whether or not his body will accept these changes or not. If his body does accept the changes, Hamoudi will be well on his way toward a renewed life. Let us thank God for His abounding faithfulness together. 

His Son Is Alive!

Posted on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 00:12 by Kristina Kayser

Four months have passed since Hamoudi and his father first arrived in Israel. Both father and son, once strangers to us, have become dear family to our Shevet community. We have loved sharing life with them,  waiting and praying for the day when Hamoudi's heart would be mended. After a season of focused discussion, consultation, and prayer, that day finally came...today. Fear and concern aroused by the risk of a complicated operation were assuaged with peace that only the Spirit of God can provide. And this peace prevailed throughout the entire day. 

Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." This Scripture could not have been represented better than the blissful state of sleep in which Yousef, Philip, and I found Hamoudi in the hospital this morning. No trace of fear could be found on his face, and it encouraged our hearts to take courage as well. 
Just before the O.R. team arrived to administer anesthesia, Hamoudi was calm and even smiling, surrounded by his heroes. 
We all took turns holding him close before his father gently relinquished his precious son into the doctors' hands. 
Over the next five hours, I watched Hamoudi's father demonstrate a steady and quiet strength. I believe we all experienced the peace that came as friends from around the world prayed fervently. The father was so relaxed that for the first time I saw a parent playing ping-pong, foosball, and air hockey during surgery!
Then, at the same moment, my eyes met with Hamoudi's father, and we both agreed it was time to go inside and wait near the O.R. No sooner had we stepped inside the waiting room, that the chief surgeon, Dr. Mishali, walked out to meet us. With a big smile on his face, he shared that the double-switch operation had gone very well and that Hamoudi was in stable condition. We also learned that a temporary pacemaker is helping regulate his heart rate. It was a beautiful moment as we all rejoiced and praised God together. Tears came quickly to Hamoudi's father's eyes when his son was wheeled into the ICU shortly after. His son was alive, and our greatest hopes were realised. 
It wasn't until our team stood by Hamoudi's side that the full weight of this miracle was felt. Our little friend's small body was covered in wires, tubing, and electrodes from every angle. And deep inside, his new heart was working hard to adjust to a massive makeover. Just before leaving, we gathered to pray over Hamoudi, thanking our Father in heaven and asking Him to add strength day by day. Thank you so much for standing with us with strength and courage, trusting that God is and will be faithful in Hamoudi's heart and life.