Hardi's Heart Surgery


The Last Day in Jordan

Posted on Mon, 02/04/2008 - 00:00 by Sarah_Al_Almani

Jean and I met Hardi and Aras with their mothers at 5 oclock in the morning at our flat for the families in Amman. They were prepared to leave for their flights back home and so we didnt waste time and drove to the airport because the flight was planned for 7 oclock. When we finally got on the highway, we were forced to stop because the roads were too icy to drive on. There was a lot of traffic on the streets outside of Amman and thats why we stopped on the side of the road and used the time to watch the sun rising and melting the ice.

We arrived at the airport at 8:20 and we were so happy that they delayed the flight until 9 oclock. They only had to hurry up a bit but they got their flight back home. They were very thankful and although we couldnt communicate much with words, they understood what we wanted to say to them.

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This concludes the story of Hardi's journey to Israel for heart surgery and a new life.

Hardi Leaves Israel

Posted on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 00:00 by Hank_Dannecker

Upon waking Wednesday morning, I captured a beautiful snowy scene on my camera lens.

But I had to hurry "and make tracks" as at 11am, three boys were anxiously waiting to go home to Iraq after being in Israel for heart surgeries.

As I pulled up to the Shevet house, Hardi, Aras, and Dilshad dashed through the newly fallen snow with unrestraint. Once we were all piled in the van, our destination was the Al Aqsa mosque where each family spent some time in prayer. As they were exiting the Mosque area, they were so excited and chattering amongst themselves, they walked right by without even noticing me! Once again, we all got in the van to head back to Shevet for final packing to head for the Jordanian border. But simple packing wasn't on their minds; they had to sit and have some lunch (aromas of chicken and rice filled the air), and say a final goodbye to the other families staying there.

Finally by about 3:30 pm we were headed to Beit She'an, Aras and Hardi taking up the front seats with me. They quickly found the snack bag I packed for them, and soon chips, nuts, and drinks were being passed around. All except the cashews, that is; Hardi decided that he should be the keeper of the bag. As we were driving out of snowy Jerusalem and into the plains headed toward the Jordan valley, more of God's handiwork appeared in the sky--two spectacular rainbows.

During the two hour drive, I quizzed the boys on the many English words they learned during their stay. Aras and Hardi amazed me with their newfound skill of counting to 100 and pointing to parts of their face, saying "nose, mouth, ears"..... they now were showing off and we all began to laugh!

Upon reaching the border, we were informed that on the Jordanian side, the road was closed due to snow in Amman. Now what? Phone calls were made to Dirk, our Shevet teammate in Jordan, and he had to make the long trip around which would take an additional two hours. So while our little group waited, we decided to eat again and went to buy some falafel sandwiches.

The last leg of this journey quickly came to an end, as I got them processed through security and soon loaded their luggage onto the bus that would take them into Jordan. This goodbye was bittersweet. God has given me a love for these young men and their families. Through all the travels back and forth from Wolfson to Jerusalem, and visiting them while in the hospital, I've become quite attached to them. But it was a precious time for me to be able to send them on their way home and pray that God's spirit goes with them. As the bus pulled away I felt a little piece of my heart go cold, and not because of the snow or blustery, damp, cold wind. It is that they have become in some odd and strange sort of way... family. And I'm not sure whether I will ever see them again. I can hear the Father say, "Heaven will not be complete until all nations have entered in." Yes, these are the sons of Abraham!

"OK" to Return Home to Iraq

Posted on Thu, 01/24/2008 - 00:00 by Autumn_Ridley

Today was Hardi's last echocardiogram.

He and his mother were very excited to see if they would have the final O.K. to return home.

After he received his O.K. to return home, he wanted me to take a picture of him beside the horse outside the children's ward at the hospital.

He was so excited to know that soon he will be returning home. Please continue to keep him and his mother in your prayers. They are both very anxious to get back home and see their family.

Banjo Lesson

Posted on Sun, 01/20/2008 - 00:00 by Elly_Miles

As of Thursday night, Hardi and his mother have been staying at the Shevet house in Jerusalem. Yesterday Hardi, his mother, and the two other Iraqi families all went to church with us. They seemed to enjoy it, and had positive feedback about the day.

Brent Nichols, an international online school teacher, played a banjo in the service that morning. Afterwards, Hardi picked up the banjo; after Brent saw this, he went over and began showing Hardi how to play it.

Brent writes, "Despite the language barrier, nothing brings on a temporary smile like a banjo. His smile lasted through his first lesson, but by the time he was playing solo, I think he was ready to be done with that bright, obnoxious bluegrass sound and get back home to familiar music."

Hardi has one more echocardiogram next Thursday, and then his time with us here in Israel will come to a close.

Dismissed from the Hospital Today

Posted on Thu, 01/10/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Hardi's day changed from napping to leaving the hospital in the brief visit I had with him and his mother this afternoon. He awoke as his mother and I talked, and it was great to see his smile again. He got up and walked around a bit after a visit from Baveel, and then we heard from Dr. Alona that he would be dismissed to the Save A Child's Heart house today.

According to Mustafa's mother, Hardi's mom wasn't too sure that was a good idea - that it was too soon for him to leave the hospital. But they prepared to leave. And at the same time we were leaving to take Juliana home with us, and a mother and child to Gaza, they were leaving in a Save A Child's Heart taxi. Since Diyar had just been visiting them after his echo, I am thinking Hardi will be happy to hang out with him at the Save A Child's Heart house.

Hardi's mother seemed very relaxed and thankful today as I visited with her. She has a sweet and gentle disposition, and I believe that through the healing of Hardi's heart problem, she will experience a new opportunity for healing in her own heart. It is my prayer that our God will turn her mourning into joy as she completes the grieving over her daughter's death some years ago, and rejoices in the life God has given to her son. Let us pray together that everything God has in mind for their lives will be realized at this time.


Hardi's Surgery: Excellent

Posted on Sun, 01/06/2008 - 00:00 by

When Hardi and his mother first arrived in the ward on Saturday, all the other mothers were praying. They had their mats on the floor and were silently praying the last prayers of the Muslim day. After doing a ceremonial wash, Hardi's mother found her prayer mat in her luggage and joined them. The other mothers in the room were Palestinian so would not be able to talk to Hardi's mother, because she speaks Kurdish and not Arabic. But they asked about Hardi and what kind of surgery he was having. There was a lot of sympathy expressed for him and his mother.

Hardi was then taken to have a couple of procedures done prior to his surgery today. One of them was rather uncomfortable, but he was very cheerful afterwards. In fact he couldn't wait to visit his friend Aras. So as soon as he had his bed allocated, he went along to the ward where Aras is now recovering from his surgery.

The mother of Mustafa also joined us there so that we could converse with Aras' mother and Dilshad's mother. The children and mothers get a lot of support from sharing things together, including food cooked at home and brought in to the hospital.

Today was an emotion-filled day for Diyka Hardi. Her son was taken for surgery around eleven-thirty this morning, since he was the second surgery of the day. She had been told and assured that his surgery was an easy one, but like all mothers, she was very worried about her son. The estimated time of the surgery was four to five hours, and after about four hours, one of the pediatric cardiologists (not one of the surgeons in the OR) passed us in the hall, prompting Hardi's mother to ask about how Hardi was doing. We were told he would be out in about one hour, and that everything was going very well. We waited for about half an hour and walked down the hall to the place with the best vantage point for seeing the patients returning from surgery. When the remaining half hour passed, she noted it on her watch to me. I replied that maybe another half hour and we'd see Hardi.... but it was another hour before he came up. She saw him, and began to cry a little, which is a typical reaction. But the further down the hall we walked, the harder she cried. I told her what the nurse wheeling him upstairs had just told me - that his surgery was very good. Still she cried harder. She got a good look at him just before they took him into the ICU, and at that point everyone has to wait for the child to be attached to the monitors, oxygen, and medications needed. When the door closed, and I motioned her to come and sit down outside the ICU entrance, she began to cry even more. Eventually Rachel from Save A Child's Heart, who'd been with her when Hardi went into surgery and sat with us at the end of the afternoon, helped me move her to a seat. The other Kurdish mothers, who'd come to the hospital with me from Jerusalem to have a check up for sniffles and sore throats, heard her crying and came to us. As all of tried to console her, one of the mothers was able to understand between her sobs that she had lost a daughter, Hardi's sister, to a shooting by a terrorist years ago. She was crying because she didn't want to lose Hardi too. This was explained to all of us, and at this point, she sobbed uncontrollably. Each of us expressed our sorrow with her, but told her that Hardi's surgery was excellent, thank God. She was unconsolable.

I was just about to go into the ICU and ask if she could see for herself that Hardi was ok, when Dr. Sasson, the surgeon, and Dr. Houri, head of the ICU, walked out together. They were quite surprised at what they saw, and began to explain that the surgery went very well, but she just cried on. I explained to them what we had just learned, and that all of the emotions were apparently still bottled up inside and were coming out now. They said that the best thing for her would be to see her child, and allowed her to go in and see for herself that Hardi was ok. Even though the nursing personnel was not finished with what needed to be done, Dr. Houri told them to allow her to see her son for a few minutes.

She was still very tearful as she kissed his legs and his hands and face. One of the nurses brought her water, while another one brought a chair. Others continued with tending to the needs of her son. Her crying subsided, but still didn't stop. I reminded her that Hardi could hear her, and that, thank God, his surgery was a success. This seemed to quiet her, and she began to settle down. However, there were more procedures to be done for Hardi, and she could not be present for those. When we indicated that we had to leave, the tears began again, and she looked as if she thought she would not see Hardi again.

Once outside the ICU, I explained to our special friend Mustafa's mom what was happening. I knew these two would be together in the ICU tonight, and if these tears were still present, maybe she could settle her. I hoped she could help her understand that Hardi didn't need to hear her crying. Mustafa's mother went to Hardi's mother and began talking to her, and at last, Hardi's mother began to calm down. All of us were thankful that her heart was being comforted. At that time, we had to make our departure back to Jerusalem.

Hardi was sedated and resting in the ICU as we left. His heart surgery was excellent, and he is expected to be extubated tomorrow, and begin to wake up. Please pray for his healing to come forth speedily.

His mother's heart is still grieving the shooting of her 15-year-old daughter which happened years ago, and the evidence of the healing she needs was present this evening. Please pray that the Lord Himself will comfort her; so that just as she keeps a bedside vigil for her son, we will remain vigilant in prayer for her. May we ask the God of all comfort to heal her heart even as she watches Him heal Hardi's heart.


Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Sat, 01/05/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Hardi was invited to be admitted to the hospital today, for surgery Sunday morning. His turn came quickly because his surgery will be a simple one which Dr. Tamir can fit into his schedule now.

Please pray for Hardi. He was sitting at the dining room table and put his head down and started to cry when he got the news. I had one of the other mothers explain that his was an easy surgery, so this is why he is going first. He seemed better then.


Large Hole Will Be Easy To Repair

Posted on Wed, 01/02/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Hardi had to wait till last for his echocardiogram, but got the shortest stay on the examining table and the best report of the day. Hardi has a large hole in his heart, but it is easily repaired, reported Dr.Tamir as he performed the echo. He said Hardi's surgery will be relatively short, and could even be done on a day when two surgery slots are available. We do not know when the next such opening will be, but look forward to it along with him and his mother.

Hardi had a difficult time waiting so long for his turn, but was a model patient on the table. He was very interested in seeing the images of his heart as they showed on the screen - and his mother was equally amazed that she was actually seeing the workings inside her son's heart. She was thankful for the good news about the ease of his repair when Diyka Mustafa gave her the translation, and so are we. We'll let you know when Hardi's surgery is scheduled, but in the meantime, please pray for him and his mother while they wait.


Preliminary Testing

Posted on Tue, 01/01/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel


Hardi was very brave today as he underwent the battery of preliminary tests needed before he can undergo his coming surgery. He set a good example for the younger children, and after his turn, was ready to find some activity during the long wait for all to have their turns. One of the opportunities he had today to fill his time was talking with Aras as Aras waited for his surgery in the morning. These boys are the same age, and seemed to enjoy each other's company.

The heart problem Hardi has does not keep him from being active, and several times during the day either I or his mother had to slow him down in the crowded hospital halls. Once he knew the layout of the children's ward, he was ever ready to go wandering, and the coke machine was one of his favorite destinations. At first he was too excited to respond to our instruction to "stay put", but by the end of the day, he realized it was important to show others how well he could represent the people of Iraq in this place.

After our trip to the hospital tomorrow to get Hardi's echo, we hope to know more about the timing of his surgery. He is already asking, undoubtedly thinking of how it will feel to be in Aras' shoes - one day away from surgery. Please pray for him and his mother while they wait for Hardi's turn for his operation.


Hardi and Friends Reach Israel as Year Turns

Posted on Mon, 12/31/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel


After a very long day of riding and waiting, these dear children and their mothers arrived in Israel at about 8:30 this evening. I was able to meet them in the Jordan terminal and ride back into Israel with them to ease the crossing process. When we entered the Israeli terminal, a long passport control session was necessary for all 9 of us, and we happily exited into the main terminal about an hour later. We posed for a group picture before climbing into our waiting "chariot" to go to Jerusalem; you can see between Alex and I, from L to R, Hardi, Arya, Baveel, and Juliana, and their moms. Please pray for all of them to get a good night's rest. We will leave early in the morning for their first visit to the hospital for initial check-ups. Pray as well for each family as they enter this season of intensity in their lives while they have their hopes realized, even while their fears peak, when their respective children undergo surgery. We will entrust each one to God for His care to be evident throughout the process.