Hussein's Heart Surgery


Sister Died of Heart Disease

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

A sleepy Hussein arrived with his mother from the Save A Child's Heart house this morning, along with Mustafa and his mother, for his echo and further tests. Yesterday Dr. Katz attempted to do an initial echo on Hussein, but none of us could settle him down enough for the echo to be done. Because it was late in a very long day, the doctor decided that waiting until today would be best for all of us, and dismissed Hussein to the SACH house. This morning Hussein was given a syrup to make him sleepy so he would not be distressed over the echo, and even though he arrived at the hospital already sleepy, this did not stop his fearful fretting for quite awhile. Yet when he finally fell asleep, he was peaceful during an hour-plus long echo by several doctors who were discussing his complicated case as they went through the examination. Hussein awoke before the end of the exam, and Dr. Tamir spoke to him gently about helping him grow up to be a big boy, which seemed to settle him back down so the exam could be finished to the doctor's satisfaction.
During today's exam when Dr. Tamir took some family information about Hussein, his mother told of the death of an older daughter who also apparently had heart problems. She told of how the doctors in Iraq could not help her after she was admitted to the hospital at the age of nineteen, and so after four months, the daughter died. She had shared with me in Amman that one of her children died, but she did not tell me the details. After hearing this today, it helped me realize why she is so anxious to know whether Hussein will be able to have surgery or not.
Later in the day as Hussein still waited at the hospital, this usually shy boy was content to go to the children's playroom where they were making balloon animals. He also enjoyed playing with his friend Mustafa and visiting with Hedi in his room there. It was determined that both Hussein and Mustafa could return to the SACH house for the night, and come back for more testing later in the week. Tomorrow we hope to visit them there. Please keep praying for Hussein and his mother as they wait for the surgery which will give him a new heart, and give joy to the heart of his dear mother.

First Taste of Israeli Ice Cream

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

Having spent the past month in Amman since the medical screening, Hussein finally arrived in Israel today, together with Mustafa and Hedi. These boys appear so different from my first encounter with them during the one-day medical screening in Amman. Then, they were bursting out in tears each time I approached them with my camera but today, Hussein willingly handed me his ice cream to remove the wrapper and then readily posed for a picture licking his welcome gift!

The three boys were some sort of celebrities today, as a camera crew from a TV channel were also present to film their arrival for an upcoming feature. (Click the arrow below to play a short video clip.)

Mustafa and Hussein have become the best of friends during the past weeks living together in Amman. They came through the arrival gates sharing a seat atop a luggage bag. They seemed to recognise both Jonathan and me, as they beamed us bright smiles.

At the Wolfson hospital, Hussein had to go through the usual routine of being weighed and measured, and having his blood sample, x-ray and echo-cardiogram taken. To allay Hussein's fear of the rubber glove which the medical staff would put on when taking the blood sample, the doctor inflated a rubber glove for him. Nevertheless, Hussein burst into the tears and screams the moment he was asked to lie down for the procedure.

This evening, Hussein and Mustafa were transferred to the Save A Child's Heart house where they were warmly welcomed by the Iraqis presently staying there -- the mothers of Tara, Rayan, Soz and Karwan. Karwan's mother promptly brought out some home-cooked rice, chicken and french fries for the tired group, who ate their dinner heartily and went to their room soon after for an early night.

Tomorrow, Mustafa and Hussein will return to Wolfson for more detailed medical checks.


"Just Help My Son"

Posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 06:46 by Donna_Petrel

Each time we visit with Hussein and his mother here in Amman they become more affectionate and open with us. In general Hussein is a shy little boy, but he is beginning to welcome us happily when we arrive at the apartment. His biggest joy right now is manuevering a motorcycle riding toy (pictured above, left, with Mustafa) which is at our apartment where the families are staying. It is held together by some unique methods to keep it "on the road," but Hussein doesn't notice as he travels around the apartment, frequently telling us "bye bye" in English as he heads off on a journey of imagination to parts unknown. He often takes his cue for activity from Mustafa, who is one year older, yet the two also go head to head for attention and toys, as young children are prone to do. At three years of age Hussein does not speak much, and seems to be developmentally slow in some of his learning ability. We can pray that when his health is restored he will catch up and surpass others his age.

Tonight we took a big pot of homemade soup to the families to share for dinner. Hussein had a hearty appetite, and really seemed to enjoy the meal. After dinner I shared some pictures and information about the Save a Child's Heart house with the mothers and children. Hussein and Mustafa had a good time discussing how they would play there when they arrived.

Hussein is often short of breath, and although his adorable smiles in these pictures do not show it, he will occasionally simply run out of energy and cry as his mother holds him awhile. His case is quite urgent; the diagnosis is DTGA, meaning he will undergo an operation to switch his great arteries of his heart. His mother is very anxious for him to get the surgery done. As we talked tonight about what it will be like for them in Israel, such as the food for them, and the room where they will stay, she humbly and with tears in her eyes said, "I don't care if I have only tea and bread, just help my son have his operation." Please pray for her and Hussein as the day approaches when we can at last cross into Israel for the surgery needed to save Hussein's life.

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

"I Don't Mind Waiting"

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

Hussein 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.

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 Hussein's surgery in Israel by clicking here.

Bulletin: Visas Issued, Travel Early Monday

Posted on Thu, 01/04/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Hussein (right) may not realize it, but he's holding his life in his hands: 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 Hussein's surgery in Israel by clicking here.