Kale 's Heart Surgery


Excited and Anxious onSurgery Eve

Posted on Sun, 10/05/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

At last Kale's turn has come to go for her heart surgery, and today she was admitted for tomorrow morning's surgery. Although they are thankful and excited for this long-awaited moment, it was clear that their anxiety level was considerably higher today as our departure time approached. We gathered around Kale and her mother to pray and headed down from Jerusalem to the hospital near Tel Aviv just after lunch.

Kale did not even try to hide her fear and dislike of the blood work and IV catheter process - I think everyone in the ward could probably hear her cries! After this was over Kale was gradually more comfortable, and when she heard that Shanaw was in the intermediate ICU walked down to see if these two friends might be able to get a glimpse of each other. And later, as they waited to sign the papers oking the surgery, Kale found her way into the playroom. I left her quite contented there this evening.

Please pray for Kale to overcome her fear in the morning as she goes for her surgery. Pray for peace for her dear mother as she says goodbye and spends the day waiting for the results. She said to me several times this afternoon "Tomorrow at this time Kale's surgery will be over," and her face and voice were full of hope for the outcome. I too am full of hope for Kale, as I know God has a hope and a future for her.

Kale Makes Jewelry

Posted on Thu, 09/18/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

On Monday evening we had a "birthday party" for the fun of it, for all the girls here at the house. A special friend made a cake for them, and they were very excited and looking forward to sharing it with everyone who could gather to enjoy it. After the evening iftar meal to break the Ramadan fast, the celebration began. It was a lot of fun for four little girls waiting to have their turn for heart surgeries, and all of us who were celebrating with them.

Some visitors from the US who came on Tuesday to learn more about Shevet Achim also brought several suitcases filled with supplies for the families. Among them were personal items for everyone, and toys, games and crafts for the children. This afternoon I looked through the collection and found what seemed the perfect way for getting the creative juices of these little ladies flowing.

What I didn't expect was the enthusiasm of the parents to get in on the opportunity by helping with the project.

There were many lovely pieces of jewelry created today here in the Shevet
courtyard. Everyone loved this craft activity, and says "THANK YOU!"

We thank God for the generosity of friends who've shared gifts like these with us from time to time, and the joy these gifts bring to our guests while they're here with us. Enjoy the "Shevet collection"! :-)

Kale Having Fun in Jerusalem

Posted on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 07:47 by Keleigh_Glisson

A month ago we were informed that the surgeon was going on a two week vacation causing all surgeries to be postponed. We were told that all of the children staying at the Shevet house would be on the surgery schedule for the first two weeks of September. The first week of September has come and gone without any surgeries taking place. It was especially difficult for these families to see Shana and Mawa come to Israel a few weeks after them and then leave yesterday healthy. It has been nearly two months since the children made their journey to Israel. The hospital has completed all the necessary tests that are required before surgery. Now they must wait.

In the meantime the children have found many activities to pass the time. The Shevet office is decorated with their artwork, they had a water fight on the roof, and most recently we took a trip to the zoo.

I think this group of kids enjoyed the zoo more than any other group. For most of them it was their first time seeing anything like this. As soon as we saw the first exhibit, the penguins, a few of the parents were on their phones calling their family in Iraq telling them where they were at and then passing the phone on to the children so that they could relay their excitement. We had a great time.

Most of the children dread the actual operation, but they have waited so long that even they are getting restless. They miss their families back home so much that they want to get it over with. Please pray that the doctors will be able to fit them into their schedule and pray for patience as they continue to wait.

Kale Has Her First Echo

Posted on Thu, 08/14/2008 - 01:00 by Keleigh_Glisson


Kale went to the hospital on Sunday for blood work and her first echocardiogram. She cried at the sight of the needle as her mother tried to calm her. One of the interns performed the echocardiogram on Kale, which took over an hour. The intern wanted the resident doctor to see Kales condition so she was brought back in for a second look. Kales mother, being a Kurdish speaker didnt understand what was going on. About fifteen minutes into the second echocardiogram I looked over to find her mom sobbing. She thought that Kales condition was worse than her previous diagnosis because they brought her back in for a second echo. The doctors were able to reassure her that Kale was operable and that they hadnt found an additional problem. Her echocardiogram revealed that Kale has two holes in her heart. The doctors explained to her mother that Kales surgery will be only moderately difficult and that the prognosis is good.


The head surgeon will be out for the next two weeks so all of the patients in Jerusalem are scheduled for surgery in September. In the meantime Kale, Shanaw and Hevi have taken it upon themselves to decorate the Shevet building with their artwork. In the evening the mothers have seen mice, which they are deathly afraid of. Kale and Shanaw decided to draw pretend mice to use to scare the others. Nearly every day they spend coloring pictures of themselves, coloring pictures of Iraq, or making Kurdish name tags for our desks. It has been great watching them have so much fun as they wait for their surgeries.

Kale's Groundbreaking Arrival

Posted on Wed, 08/06/2008 - 01:00 by Alex_Pettett

Today Kale and her mother made border-crossing history by landing at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport at 4:30 p.m. Israel time. Traditionally Dirk, Shevets Jordan Coordinator, is able to secure a visa for Iraqis to fly to Amman and then make the trip over land into Israel. For unknown reasons, Jordan rejected Kales mothers request for a Jordanian visa so that Kale and her mother could make their way to Israel for life saving surgery. Today, Shevet Achim tried something new: we flew them all the way to Tel Aviv.

Copious phone calls were made and paperwork was double checked in order to make the arrival as smooth as possible. When Keleigh and I arrived at the airport at 5:00 p.m. we began to carefully scan the arrivals so we would not miss Kale and her mother who were surely frightened.

After a good deal of waiting, my phone rang. Someone from our partner organization, Save a Childs Heart, called to inform me that Kale and her mother were already in Israel and they were on their way to the hospital in a taxi (this turned out to be incorrect - the mother only knew one work of Arabic, "hospital" and had accidentally misled us). In reality they had remarkably managed to clear security and customs in under 45 minutes and had slipped out past us!

Kale and her mother had made their way to the taxi station. A taxi driver, sensing their confusion, used his phone to call the Save a Childs Heart phone number on Kales medical form. The head of the taxi station felt something was amiss so he stopped them from getting into the taxi and was able to extract my mobile number from the contact information they carried.

Within minutes I found them waiting just inside the terminal with the chief of the taxi service protecting them from onlookers. I shook hands gratefully with the Jewish angel in disguise and he released them to me with a warm grin.

After a round of grateful smiles and sighs of relief we made our way to my car. Once in the vehicle I handed over some pop rocks. The ice was broken as we all put a handful of the crystals in our mouths and tasted the sweet popping candy. Kale gave her first smile.

Kale and her mother spent the rest of the trip mesmerized by the shifting landscape on our uneventful ride up to Jerusalem. They are now quietly unpacking and getting adjusted to the cooler Jerusalem climate.

Kale goes for her first blood work tomorrow. Though her airport adventure is over the long road to healing has just begun. Please be in prayer with us as her miracle of healing and grace unfolds.