Hedi's Heart Surgery


A Strong Child

Posted on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 00:00 by Maryjoy_Adriano_16_Leeraz_Nickalls_16_George_Kammar_13

High-school students from the Anglican International School in Jerusalem joined Shevet Achim for a two-day community service project. Today's assignment included visiting Iraqi and Gazan patients at Wolfson Medical Center and at the Save A Child's Heart children's house; and by day's end, blogging on the children they had become acquainted with. Shevet thanks the AISJ students who freely gave of their time and energy!

Today, about 15 students and two teachers from the Anglican International School visited the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. Upon our arrival, we were briefed about the doctors' work and the children they helped in treatment.

We watched a mini-clip about the events that happened 7 years ago. It was very helpful because we had an opportunity to understand what the volunteers were doing for the sick children. We commemorate Dr. Ami Cohen for his unconditional love and care for these sick children.

We toured the medical center as a group. There, we met several Palestinian families whose child/children had to have open heart surgery. It was especailly hard for the mothers. One of the mothers cried in abandon. I felt her pain. It was intensely emotional.

Leeraz, George Kammar and I met this little boy in one of the wards. We decided to interview the mother about her son. Here is what we found:

Hedi is eight months old, and his mother is 23.

Hedi is going to have an open heart surgery performed this Sunday. He has a hole between the ventricles of his heart. Today, Hedi had an oxygen tube to help him breathe better. We noticed that when he coughed, he would be wheezing.

From the moment we saw Hedi, we thought that he was so adorable. He was smiling when we came in and he continued smiling and laughing and cooing till we finished our interview. Hedi looked like a normal kid, but he has problems with his heart. While we were interviewing Hedi's mother, we were just enchanted by Hedi. He showed signs of normal behavior and he had this sweetness about him.

We felt that Hedi was a strong child. It's just the heart problems that weakens him. We all left that ward quietly, because we were pondering about how strong Hedi was despite his heart problems. But, we were all happy because we had the opportunity to make a child and his mother happy and in peace. May the Lord bless them in whatever their circumstances.

Prayer points:
* Please pray for Hedi's upcoming open heart surgery this Sunday. Pray for a successful surgery.
*Pray for Hedi's future life. We believe that he is healed and that the Lord has a wonderful plan for his life.
*Pray for the family (in general) that God would grant them the strength that they need in this critical time.

Receiving Treatments for Wheezing

Posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Thank you for praying for little Hedi last night after his admission to the hospital upon our arrival from Jordan. Dr. Katz performed his echocardiogram late yesterday afternoon, and expressed to us that Hedi needs surgery soon for the large VSD - hole between the ventricles - in Hedi's heart.
First though he must be well, and the doctor wanted him to have breathing treatments throughout the night and today for chest congestion and wheezing. Even though it was great news in general that Rayan's dismissal to the SACH house meant there were no other Iraqi children and mothers in the hospital, the thought of staying there alone in this strange place with her sick child was overwhelming to Hedi's young mother and she wept at that reality. Having a daughter the same age, it seemed obvious to me that the best way to help her right then was to stay there with her as her friend. The nurses allowed me to stay in a ''chair-bed'' in the room with them and a Gaza mother and son who were waiting for his catheterization tomorrow. So we shared a shwerma and a Sprite, took turns holding and walking with Hedi, and waited until Hedi finally fell asleep so we could rest too after a very long border crossing day. The night was punctuated with coughing, crying babies, giving bottles, and nurses checking vital signs or giving medications, but all in all, Hedi had a pretty good night's rest. (We all did.) He awoke this morning with his usual happy disposition. Through the day he continued to receive breathing treatments, which he lets everyone know he does not like one bit! But he did enjoy visiting with his good buddies Mustafa and Hussein who returned to the hospital from the SACH house for further tests.
Much to his mother's disappointment, it was determined late this afternoon that Hedi needed to stay in the hospital again tonight to continue the breathing treatments until at least tomorrow. I felt it was safe to leave Hedi's mother there tonight since she has made the acquaintance of other mothers and knows the routine, the nurses, and the layout of the children's ward. Please keep her and Hedi in your prayers. It is tiring to care for her sick infant alone, and traumatic to consider what is ahead. As I left this evening, I took the opportunity to pray for them -- for healing for Hedi, and peace for his mother. As I rode in the van on the way home, I also was praying for the perfect love of God to cast out all fear from her heart during this time. Thank you for praying for them too.

Hedi Hospitalized, and Winning Hearts

Posted on Mon, 11/05/2007 - 00:00 by Lee_Liang_Chian

After waiting in Amman for almost a month since the medical screening, Hedi finally received both visa clearance and sufficient funding (just past midnight!) to be brought over to Israel and hospitalized today. Hedi, together with Mustafa and Hussein and their mothers, set off very early from Amman and when they arrived at the Israeli border check-point, they were not only greeted by Jonathan and me (LC) but also a camera crew from a TV channel. The three boys were sort of celebrities-to-be, as the camera crew will follow through with their surgeries and post-operation progress and feature them in an upcoming TV news story.

Upon arrival at the Wolfson hospital, Hedi and the other two boys were brought in the children's ward where lunch was immediately served up for the hungry travellers. Being the youngest among the three, Hedi was an instant hit with the cameraman, and he eagerly reached out for the huge 'eye' staring at him. Hedi was one busy child, splitting his attention between playing with his admirers and eating his lunch.

Being young and innocent has its advantages. While Mustafa and Hussein screamed and cried the moment they were undressed to be weighed, Hedi was quite co-operative throughout the check-up, captivating the medical staff with his bright smile and cheerful playing. He started to join in the chorus of cries only when he felt the prick of the needle when his blood sample was taken.

After the echocardiograms were done, Dr Katz confirmed that Hedi should be immediately admitted to the ward for close monitoring, while Mustafa and Hussein were released to the Save a Child's Heart house. Hedi's mother started to sob out of fear being in unfamiliar surroundings and unable to speak the local languages, and our Shevet volunteer Donna decided to spend the night with her at the hospital. 

Bulletin: Visas Approved, Travel Early Monday

Posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 06:45 by Donna_Petrel

Even little Hedi (center) understands this is good news: he and two other Iraqi boys who need urgent heart surgery are finally grasping their permission to enter Israel. Our staff starts rolling at 5 a.m. Monday from Amman, Jordan, to get them across the Jordan River and to the hospital in Israel. Watch this space tomorrow for a full update. And please keep praying: we still don't have enough funding to admit Hedi and Hussein to the hospital!

You may help sponsor Hedi's surgery in Israel by clicking here.


A Little Fluid Around Heart

Posted on Sat, 11/03/2007 - 00:00 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Hedi is one cheerful boy who never fails to smile each time you call him by name. Even when his mother lifted up his shirt to show the stitches where the tubes had been inserted into his chest, Hedi gave me a toothy grin instead of a fussy whimper.

Hedi was back at Wolfson today together with Soz to have their echo-cardiogram taken. The results show that Hedi has a little fluid around his heart, but this is under control as he is already put on medication. Once the fluids are cleared, Hedi may well be the next Iraqi child to return home!

While waiting for the transport to bring them back to the Save A Child's Heart house, the mothers of Hedi, Soz and Rayan received permission to go to the shopping mall within the hospital compound, where they bought some snacks and vanilla ice-cream.

Full of Smiles

Posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Hedi, at eight months old, has shown the most obvious signs of the respiratory virus which has affected all the children and parents waiting in Amman. He has had a fever and cough, and because of a sore throat has not had much appetite. Besides this, he is also cutting teeth. But when we're around Hedi, most of the time he is full of smiles and coos! The only time he cries is when he is so tired that he needs to sleep, but doesn't want to miss out on the action of the bigger boys who are busily - and sometimes noisily - playing nearby.

Sometimes when I hold Hedi, I notice a change in his body as he begins to breathe rapidly and with exertion as his diaphragm is seemingly controlled by the pounding of his heart. Afterwards we've noticed he seems tired and almost dazed for a few minutes. Each time this happens when his mother is holding him she points it out to me, then sighs, as we wait for the day when this heart malady can be healed. When I am holding Hedi and this happens, I take those opportunities to pray for him hands on, and for God's timing for his healing. At the times his mother expresses her distress during these episodes, I pray for her too. Please join me in these prayers.

Both of Hedi's parents are here in Amman since his father wants to stay with him and Hedi's mother as long as he can before they travel for surgery. It is clear that they adore each other, and I believe having both mom and dad around is one of the reasons Hedi is so happy. Each of them play with him and he loves the attention. The other moms along with Hussein and Mustafa also give Hedi attention, so he does have plenty of reasons to smile.

Although there is an air of impatience in the apartment since all of the parents are ready to travel for the purpose of their journey, for the most part things are going smoothly. While we were visiting last night however, the difficult reality of their lives in Iraq seemed nearer when Hedi's dad got a call from a friend in their city reporting that there had been a bombing there which had killed someone he knew. We sat in silence for a moment after expressing our sorrow, as Hedi's father left the room. Again I noted to myself that these are remarkable people dealing with issues I cannot imagine, yet they put their lives on the line to get help for their children by going to a purported enemy to save their baby's life. In the midst of everything they are gracious and willing to work together with us strangers in totally unknown surroundings and function without knowing what is next from day to day. I thank God for the opportunity He has given to represent His love to people like these. Please keep them in your prayers. It will be difficult for this husband and wife to say good bye, and for this daddy to say good bye to his son, when the time comes for Hedi and his mother to go over to Israel. Pray that Hedi will soon be over this virus, so that when we go his surgery will not be delayed by it.

You may help sponsor Hedi's surgery in Israel by clicking here.

Easy to Please

Posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Hedi and two other Iraqi boys are waiting in Amman, Jordan following the October 9 screening by Israeli doctors, who told us that these children need treatment urgently. This weekend we moved them from an apartment provided by an Iraqi church to an apartment we use to help host the families in transit. We hope to be able to transfer these little boys to the hospital in Israel this week, but until we can do that, they will stay in their latest 'home away from home.' While it was a little disconcerting to have to change their surroundings, especially for the adults, before long the two older children were happy on riding toys kept at the apartment. And if that was not enough to make a little boy smile, before he left us Jody from the church brought all of us ice cream. Little Hedi, who at eight months is teething, decided he was happier with the box than the ice cream.

When I visited the families again today, it seemed they were feeling more at home. I shared with them pictures of the progress so far which Rayan, Tara, Karwan and Soz have made since arriving in Israel less than two weeks ago. They asked many questions and I was able to help them see on the pictures as well as explain in person some of the things they want to know about what is about to happen. Ultimately though, I cannot tell them the timing of the travel (we still need both visas and funding for their surgeries) or of the surgery and the length of their stay. Will you please keep them in prayer as they anxiously consider the days and weeks ahead? It is with a mixture of thanksgiving for the opportunity and fear of the unknown that they approach our departure to Israel in the coming days. May the peace of God gently settle over them and help them along the way as you keep them in your prayers

You may help sponsor Hedi's surgery in Israel by clicking here.