Inas's Heart Surgery


A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break

Posted on Thu, 12/11/2014 - 21:23 by Kristina Kayser

This morning, I was struck by the powerful words about the Messiah found in Isaiah 42:2. "A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth." Both of these examples are images of utter hopelessness, and yet we find that there is indeed reason to hope. If Messiah came to bring restoration and breathe life into the weak and broken, then there is certainly hope for little Inas. 

Inas reminds me very much of a bruised reed. Her body and health are fragile at the moment, and we were acutely reminded of this in the last few days. After having returned from the hospital yesterday afternoon following an overnight stay, she still did not appear well. Her grandmother grew more anxious by the hour, and at 6pm, her lower oxygen levels warranted a return to Wolfson. Ruth and Rahel drove her to the hospital on oxygen to make her breathing easier en route. After an EKG and blood test, she was admitted once again, and both she and her grandmother settled in for the night. Ruth noticed how observant this grandmother is. Despite no medical training, she could discern that Inas was retaining fluid and that her oxygen was dangerously low. How important it is for us to always listen to the insights of those who know these children best. And praise God for His prompting and care for this sweet girl.

Our team arrived at Wolfson this morning to find Inas very weak and tired. Initially, doctors were concerned that her heart rhythm was irregular and would require an electric shock. This was overruled after an echo exam. Instead, they discovered that Inas had developed serious pulmonary congestion, causing her to cough, breathe in distress, and have increased edema (swelling) and pain in her legs. New medications were immediately implemented, and Inas was slowly starting to reap the benefits of them. Her oxygen saturation was still unstable, apart from when she breathed from an oxygen mask. She woke up long enough to eat a banana and looked at me with such an expression of helplessness. I sang to her and told her how beautiful she is and prayed that God would heal her quickly. Her grandmother is also fatigued after three sleepless nights. 

When I prepared to say goodbye to them at day's end, I found both of them fast asleep. The doctor said they will continue to adjust Inas' medications until she is stable again, and we will wait to hear when she is ready to come home. Please pray for this sweet girl and her grandmother as they remain in hospital. Pray that they will experience the life-giving touch of the Messiah and that this beautiful "bruised reed" will be made whole in His perfect timing. 

Inas Back on Prophets Street

Posted on Wed, 12/10/2014 - 15:14 by Ruth Zellweger

After one night at the hospital, Inas and her grandmother returned to Jerusalem today. The doctors had wanted to observe her while changing the medication for her heart. When I had said goodbye yesterday evening, Inas was very open and talkative. But today in the morning, she was shy and withdrawn, still coughing a lot. It didn't take much time before we were on the road back to Jerusalem. Inas fell asleep and had to be woken up by her grandmother when we arrived. They both were welcomed warmly by our staff and the other families.

Inas is a special little girl with many hidden character traits. I am looking forward to getting to know her and her grandmother better and better. 

Something Unexpected

Posted on Tue, 12/09/2014 - 21:45 by Rahel Eschler

Inas had a rough time last night because of a bad cough, which resulted in difficulties with breathing. After not really being able to sleep for most of the night, she spent the whole morning in her bed, catching up on sleep. Her grandmother was worried about Inas' condition and wouldn’t leave her bedside for most of the time. Since Inas’ oxygen level was quite low, hovering around the sixties, we consulted the treating doctors, and they wanted to see her this very afternoon on the cardiac children’s ward. When Inas heard the news that she would need to make another trip to the hospital, she started to cry very hard. She is quite afraid of the hospital, and it is really hard to convince her to be otherwise.

After a quiet ride to Tel Aviv, a friendly nurse took Inas’ vital sign and to our surprise the results were better than expected. Of course, Inas shed some tears, but soon afterward, on the children’s playground, they were forgotten again. We had to wait for a while for Dr. Alona to be available so that she could check on Inas’ heart and health condition. Inas wasn’t bothered by that, instead she was warming and opening up and started to enjoy my company.

Then we got called into the ward to see Dr. Alona. It didn’t take her trained skills that long to decide that it is best for Inas to stay at the hospital for one night for observation. And besides that, she adjusted Inas’ heart medication. So, we left Inas and her grandmother in the capable hands of the medical staff at Wolfson hospital, and also in God’s loving and caring hands. We expect both of them to be back on Prophet Streets already tomorrow.

Inas Home in Jerusalem

Posted on Thu, 12/04/2014 - 21:17 by Kristina Kayser

Just like a flower needs water, sunlight, and time to grow, so little Inas needed our patience and love before she began to trust us with her heart. She was so quiet and withdrawn at the hospital over the last couple of days, that concerns about her speech and development were mounting. In order to get a clearer understanding of her capabilities, an appointment with a pediatric neurologist was scheduled this morning. 

As soon as Inas heard we were going to see another doctor, she immediately broke into tears and dragged her feet the first few steps out the door. I tried explaining to her that the doctor just wanted to ask some questions and play some games with her, but suspicion remained etched in her eyes. It turned out that the neurologist was in a bit of a hurry and tried to force a few words and exercises out of Inas. Inas, however, closed up like a clam in response. With some gentle coaxing from her grandmother and I, she slowly began to draw on a piece of paper the doctor provided. 

After some tense minutes, Inas, her grandmother, Kyle, and I went out to a play area while the doctor reviewed tests and made assessments. I was feeling a bit discouraged at this moment, and I imagine Inas was too. "This is going all wrong," I thought. "There is more to this girl then what the doctor has seen." But within a few minutes of playing, the tables began to turn. This seemingly timid girl lit up like a firefly at the sight of a drawer full of toys. Words then rushed from her lips in perfect sequence, rattling off the names of colors, numbers, and objects. And the next moment was such a beautiful gift from God--the corners of Inas' mouth turned up, giving us her first smile. She continued smiling and even giggling as we played with balls and lego cars for the next half an hour. Meanwhile, another doctor came by and witnessed Inas talking and playing with us, concluding that everything was perfectly normal with her development. 

My experience with Inas today has taught me many things, not the least of which is our need for grace. How easy it is to pass judgment on others based on hasty speculations. But what if we showed the same grace and patience towards others that God has extended to us? Perhaps, we would find many more treasures in the souls of men. I trust that Inas will continue to blossom and grow as we surround her with God's love, while awaiting her upcoming surgery. 


Inas' CT Scan

Posted on Wed, 12/03/2014 - 20:11 by Jesse Tilman

The team of us that were going for Inas’ CT (computer-tomography) scan prepared to leave after some prayer from the base group this morning. With the scan scheduled for 11 am, we hoped to arrive before Inas was wheeled away from the children’s ward. Traffic was light and the skies overcast as we wound down through the hills to the coast. It had been a while since I’d been to the hospital and it felt like getting back into a groove as we pulled up to Wolfson Hospital.

After parking I found Inas, her grandmother, and Rahel all ready and waiting in the hall of the ward. We got reacquainted quickly. After a few minutes, Doctor Naiima came by and explained the procedure for a CT scan, and I began to translate. Soon we wheeled Inas’ hospital bed down the hall and over to the CT room.

There we conversed with the anesthesiologist about Inas’ condition. He wanted to be sure he gave her the right medication for an optimal sedation without complications from her other medications. This became quite involved and he had to phone the head children’s nurse and others before he was content. Inas’ mother took the wait and words with some nervousness, which we did our best to dispel. The doctor administered the anesthesia while the staff strapped Inas into the sliding CT machine exam bed. She started to cry and we told Inas’ grandmother she could go up to Inas’ side and comfort her while things got prepared.

When they told us it was time to step outside so the x-rays could start, we showed Inas’ mother to a seat. We only expected a wait of fifteen minutes, but still, a mother’s concern would not allow her to remain calm. After five minutes, she was already asking how much longer it would be.

Julia and Madison, who had been visiting Lizan in the ICU, finished up and came to join us, bringing some new cheer with them as they shared how well Lizan is doing. They had barely sat down when the CT scan room’s door slid open, and we jumped up to go to Inas. As the hospital staff unstrapped her sleeping form, we relayed Dr. Naiima’s explanation of what would happen next to her grandmother. We were headed to a recovery room, where we would wait, hopefully, only half an hour for the sedation to wear off and Inas to wake.

Down one floor over in the main building, we saw Inas to the controlled area’s doors and then sat down in the waiting area nearby. Just a few minutes later a nurse came by asking for the “Kurdish child’s” caretakers. She asked Inas’ grandmother and me to come with her. We put on sanitized hospital gowns, hair-nets, and shoe covers so we could go to Inas’ bedside.

A friendly nurse there reassured Inas’ grandmother of her granddaughter's well-being, and we sat down to wait. Next, the nurse asked me to tell the mother that she likes Kurdish food! We asked about when she had had the opportunity to try it, and she told us about the many Kurdish Jews who have come back to live in Israel. Afterward, an Arab nurse stopped by as well, heard Inas’ story, and gave his assurances that Inas was doing fine. This really helped Inas’ grandmother, and she stopped fussing over Inas and trying to wake her.

When she did wake a few minutes later, she groaned, pushed her grandmother’s hands away, and struggled against the wires, tubes, and hospital blankets to turn on her side and determinedly went back to sleep. Her grandmother went around the bed to speak to her face and stroke her hair.

After another ten minutes, the nurse declared her ready to go back to the ward and began preparing the bed’s equipment to move.

Back in the ward, we ate some lunch and waited to hear from the doctors. They told us that they would like her to see a brain specialist early tomorrow morning to further clarify her level of development there. We had been planning to return with Inas to Jerusalem today, but now she would need to stay another night at the hospital. Inas' grandmother took this change with quiet grace. I went to see Lizan and brought her mother back to visit. After sharing some chocolate, we were ready to go and reminded Inas’ mother that someone would be by early tomorrow morning to see her through the appointment.

Thank God for the patience He gives and the love He builds in parents to see their children through thick and thin! Inas’ grandmother brought up new depths of affection today. May they find complete healing in the days ahead for weaknesses both physical and spiritual. 

A Journey Begins

Posted on Tue, 12/02/2014 - 22:25 by Kristina Kayser

We have been waiting for children at Shevet like a farmer waits for rain. Anticipation increased, as did our faith, with every step of progress. Thus, the arrival of two beautiful Kurdish girls last evening was received with much joy and thanksgiving. Our community greeted the weary travelers after a long day of traveling from Kurdistan to Jordan and then finally into Israel. The eldest of the two children is named Inas, accompanied by her cheerful grandmother. By simple observation, she appears to be a quiet and shy five-year-old, who feels quite overwhelmed by her new surroundings. But I believe there is much more to be discovered in her.

This morning dawned bright and clear in Jerusalem as our Shevet crew headed out for Inas’ first day at an Israeli hospital. It doesn’t take long to notice that Inas’ body is struggling from her congenital heart defect. Her lips are tinted blue, and she tires without much exertion. I can’t help but look ahead with hope for the transformation Inas is preparing to experience. How wonderful it will be to see her full of life and energy!

I have never met a child who enjoys the hospital, but I can say that Inas showed great strength today as she endured a battery of tests and assessments. The hardest of all was the blood test. Hot tears spilled from her eyes as the doctor carefully put in an IV line and collected a blood sample. While other exams didn’t cause pain, the fear of pain made Inas reluctant and resistant at times, understandably so. Her grandmother and our volunteers tried their best to reassure her, and with time she calmed down. Inas’ speech is limited, but what she doesn’t say in words, she expresses with her eyes. Many times throughout the day, I saw her emotions ablaze in those dark brown eyes of hers.

The most important part of the day arrived with the echocardiogram, when the cardiology team studied her heart via 2-D ultrasound. To ensure the outcome of the exam, Inas was given a gentle sedative, which actually turned into a four hour nap. The echo confirmed that Inas has a four-part heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot with a missing pulmonary valve. We learned that she has already undergone open-heart surgery in Kurdistan three years ago, but without much resulting improvement. The cardiology team, therefore, advised that one more test be completed, called a CT scan, before heart surgery. This test, which will be performed tomorrow under anesthesia, will provide doctors with a clearer understanding of her neurological and cardiac condition.

When I explained to Inas grandmother that the two of them would remain in hospital overnight for the CT scan the following day, she handled the news like a champ. What amazing courage this woman has, traveling outside her country for the first time in her life and being unnerved at the idea of sleeping in a crowded hospital room on her second night in Israel. I can see where Inas gets her strength! Final preparations were made and goodbyes were said as Inas slept peacefully on. And no wonder, as she is in good hands--the hands of a devoted and brave grandmother, the hands of a medical team committed to her care, the hands of a community ready to love and cheer her on, and above all, the hands of a faithful Heavenly Father who holds her every breath and heartbeat.  

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

Arrived Safely

Posted on Tue, 12/02/2014 - 11:44 by Nick Boyum

Inas and her grandmother made their way across the Jordan River from Jordan into Israel yesterday. However, there was a significant delay in the crossing, which required ample patience for all involved. Well after 9pm they finally made it through, and late last night she arrived on Prophets Street! Today she is receiving her initial checkup at Wolfson Hospital in Tel Aviv, the results of which will be updated on her blog later this evening. Please pray for her and her grandmother as they adjust to their new home for the near future.

Inas' Pending Arrival

Posted on Sun, 11/30/2014 - 20:43 by Kyle Carlson

Inas is a beautiful 3-year-old girl traveling from Iraq to join us at Shevet. She is coming for treatment for a condition called “Tetralogy of Fallot” or TOF. This is a complex heart defect involving four types of defects. Read more about the condition here. Join us in welcoming her to our community and pray that her journey here goes smoothly. We look forward to her arrival and to begin the process of restoring her heart.