Hewa's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

During the Wait, A Communication Breakthrough

Posted on Mon, 05/21/2012 - 23:12 by Donna_Petrel

There was an encouraging breakthrough in communication today with Hewa's mother about exactly why her son is still hospitalized. She has been very concerned and uncertain about what is happening, even though we've explained everything that we know to her both in person and over the telephone. Today we were able to have direct translation from the doctor's Hebrew to an Arabic-speaking nurse in Hewa's ward. Hewa's mother was able to ask questions on the spot, and get excellent and immediate explanations from these helpful men as they heard both her words and her heart.

After being told that test results for Hewa

Successful Catheterization, Next Step Surgery

Posted on Tue, 05/15/2012 - 23:10 by Natalie Kayser

Kristina and I arrived at Sheba hospital this morning to find Hewa

Catheterization Tomorrow for Hewa

Posted on Mon, 05/14/2012 - 20:30 by Natalie Kayser

Yesterday Hewa's mother cried with joy upon receiving the news that her son would be admitted to Sheba the following day for a catheterization on Tuesday. She held Hewa close and raised her eyes heavenward in thanks.

So this morning we arrived at the hospital and waited a good three hours to speak with the doctor and get them both settled into their room. We entertained Hewa and Sarchil, another boy also being admitted, with coloring books, play dough, and various hand clapping games. Kristina

Hewa's First Adventure at Sheba Hospital

Posted on Wed, 05/09/2012 - 21:19 by Kristina Kayser

Just two days in the country and Hewa was off for his first introduction to Sheba Hospital. It was also my first day to become acquainted with one of our newest gentlemen. My initial observation was that he likes his mother close by at all times. New surroundings and people undoubtedly contribute to his shyness as well.

While waiting to see the doctor, a bright playground was tempting enough for him to leave his mother's arms and start exploring. Hewa and his new playmate, Sarchil, began a grand adventure on an express train. Then, a call from the nurse brought their expedition to a quick stop, and Hewa stepped off into the ECG (echocardiogram) room. 

He lay perfectly still, amazing us all with his repose. The ECG is a test which interprets the electrical activity of the heart. While the cardiac muscle is visually aesthetic, it is also a scientific masterpiece. Learning how the heart functions makes me appreciate God's creativity even more, as do the skills He's given surgeons to repair the heart. 

Our next destination was the echo room across the hall. Due to Hewa's multiple heart defects, this exam was particularly long. After nearly half an hour, he was still as patient as ever. I kept encouraging him for his good behavior and telling his mother how impressed I was. Once the echo technician announced she was finished, Hewa thought he was done for the day. What he didn't know is that the doctor needed to perform part two of the echo which would take another twenty minutes.

Tables turned and Hewa grew restless and agitated. He squirmed and wrestled against his mother's firm hold, telling her countless times that he had had enough! The doctor finally completed the exam amidst kicking legs and flailing arms. Anxious to move freely, Hewa got dressed and told his mother he was going off to play...by himself. Perhaps, he's braver than I initially supposed.

Echo results showed that Hewa's condition is very complex. His primary diagnosis is TGA (transposition of the great arteries), meaning that the two main arteries (aorta and pulmonary artery) are flip-flopped and need to be untangled. He also has a large VSD (breach between the upper chambers) in addition to stenosis (severe narrowing) of the pulmonary artery. Dr. Danielle made it clear that Hewa will need a diagnostic catheterization to gain a better view of his heart before proceeding to surgery. This procedure will hopefully take place next week. 

We returned home to Jerusalem this afternoon, thankful for the opportunity for Hewa to receive good care today. Please pray that as he and his mother adjust to the many new changes and challenges here, they will find God's perfect love and rest for them in the midst.  

A Blue Hewa Reaches Jordan

Posted on Sun, 05/06/2012 - 11:59 by Jonathan Miles

Bleary-eyed and frightened, five-year-old Hewa reached the Amman airport Saturday night from northern Iraq. He is quite blue, with extensive clubbing of his fingertips as a result of his multiple heart defects which include double-outlet right ventricle, ventricular septal defect, transposed great arteries, and valvar stenosis. It has been almost two years since Hewa was first examined by our partner cardiologist Kirk Milhoan, and his oxygen saturation then was only 59% of normal.

Doctors will never be able to make Hewa's heart normal, but they do believe he can be greatly strengthened and can live a reasonable life. We're waiting now for Hewa's visa to enter Israel, and hope to have him in Jerusalem by Monday night. At present he is telling his mother he wants to leave, and doing his best to avoid having his picture taken.