Mohammed's Heart Surgery

the Gaza Strip

Next Step: Move Heart from Right to Left Side

Posted on Fri, 11/09/2007 - 00:00 by Autumn_Ridley

As we were turning the corner to Mohammeds house, his father was waiting for us on the street. After he greeted us, his next words were words of thankfulness and appreciation. As I entered the main sitting area of Mohammeds house I was greeted by Mohammeds grandmother, Mohammed's mother and Mohammed. On this visit it was wonderful to see a healthier Mohammed, not like my first visit. This visit Mohammed was smiling and had a wonderful color to his skin. My first visit he was blue and without a lot of movement or sound. Mohammed's father once again thanked Shevet Achim for their help and was grateful that his son was still alive. He was grateful that Mohammeds hospital visit wasnt for a month or two, he said, because he couldnt stand his family being separated for that long of a period.

As I held Mohammed I could feel his heart beating very hard on the right side of his small frame. I observed his fingernails--there is still a little bit of blue color but a lot better than before. I explained to his mother that the next operation for Mohammed is going to be very difficult. They will switch his heart from the right side to the left side. The family is anticipating this day. They know it will be difficult but they are ready for Mohammed to be completely well.

As each day passes I pray that Mohammed will grow stronger and healthier. May the good work that was started a few weeks ago be completed. Please continue to pray for Mohammed. He will have a minor surgery in Gaza on Sunday thats not related to the heart. He still has a surgery or two ahead of him, so please keep him and his family in your prayers.

Home to Rejoice Over a Son Restored

Posted on Fri, 10/26/2007 - 00:00 by David_Hartman

There was a definite excitement in the air as I entered Mohammad's room at Wolfson Medical Center today. The doctors had given their initial okay after Mohammad had achieved the results they were waiting for and now he and his mother could go home! Telephone calls to their family in Gaza had been made and Shevet had been called by the hospital staff requesting transportation. All that was missing was the doctor's report, along with his signature. The minutes ticked by in anticipation of his arrival. Minutes seemed like hours to this anxious mother. Their departure had been postponed several times already this week and she was hoping this would not be the case again.

Her relief was so evident, as she watched the doctor enter the area where they were! She and her son were going home! Once the papers and final instructions had been given, the journey to Gaza began. There were sweet goodbyes between the mothers that had become friends as they experienced like situations with their children.

During the hour-long trip, she began to share how she had two sons, Hussein (13 years of age) and after a long time of inability, she had given birth to Mohammad (the son in her arms) now being the younger son at 3 months of age. He had been born with a serious heart defect. She went on to say that they had tried to bring him for treatment many times, each time somehow coming against a wall of being allowed to clear Israeli Security clearance. When it did happen they were very shocked, yet ecstatic, that Mohammad may have a chance to live and not die. She continued her story by saying that when she and Mohammad arrived at Wolfson, the doctors, in making their examinations, had diagnosed that instead of a normal child's blood oxygen content being at 90-95%, Mohammad's was at 20%. They then broke the news to her that the procedure they needed to do on Mohammad was a very difficult one and she should prepare herself for the worse, because his chances for survival were very slim.

Now as she looked down at her baby, she smiled as she said that when he came, he was so blue in color, but now he was so lovely with his beautiful coloration of normal skin tones. She was beaming! Her next statement was a quote that makes what we do so worthwhile. She said, "I owe the life of my child to the Jewish doctors! Thanks Be to God!"

In answer to my question, she shared that there would be a large gathering at her house tonight as family, friends and neighbors would arrive to see the result of her time in Israel. One could tell, just by her countenance, that she would have a wonderful story to tell and would enjoy telling it over and over again.

As we arrived at the border, we went together through the process of security clearance. Once that was accomplished, we said our goodbyes. She and Mohammad began to walk away, but after a few steps, she turned and looked me straight in the eyes and after a short pause she said, "Thank You All for what you have done!" With that, she turned and headed toward her side of the border, escorted by an Israeli soldier carrying her luggage. It was easy to see, she would never forget the people, nor the God, that were responsible for the miracle she now coddled in her arms.

May the Lord God of the Universe be glorified!!

Home Must Wait

Posted on Thu, 10/25/2007 - 00:00 by Autumn_Ridley

As I walked into the childrens ward I didnt find all
of the Gaza patients happy as I had expected. Today I found out that Mohammed would not be traveling back home. The past few days he hasnt been eating like he should and the doctors are concerned for him. They want him to start eating regularly and gain a little bit of weight. Also, Dr. Sherry told me that they have been running blood work on him and that some of the results are abnormal. They are going to run some more tests in the morning to see what is going on with him. As I sat with Mohammed's mother today she was tired, angry and frustrated. She told me that her husband was so upset from the news that he slammed down the phone on her. She had her heart set on going home today and she wasnt very happy. So as I sat with her one of the other Gaza mothers came into the room and we all were talking. We were trying to get Mohammed to eat so one of the mothers went and took a syringe and fed him little by little. We were so happy to see him eating a bit. Please pray that Mohammed will gain the weight he needs, will continue to eat and that they can figure out what is going on with his blood work. Also, pray for his parents. They have been through a lot the past few months with him and they are very tired.

Hoping To Go Home Tomorrow

Posted on Wed, 10/24/2007 - 00:00 by Autumn_Ridley

Mohammed is doing great. When I walked into the children's ward I was met by Mohammed's mother. She was very excited to see me and to show off Mohammed. Just yesterday he was in intermediate ICU and now is in the children's ward. The color of his face, hands and feet is just unbelievable. I can't believe how wonderful he looks. I will catch Mohammed's mother just staring at him because of how wonderful he looks now. She is so thankful to God for how He has provided a way for her son to have this life-saving operation. I spoke with one of the doctors this afternoon, and she said that in the morning he will have another echo. If things still look great he will be going home tomorrow. His mother is so excited to be going home tomorrow. Mohammed's father can't wait to see his "new" son. He calls his wife every day to find out what the update is. It will be great for him to hold his son again and see how brotherly love has helped to save his life.

Not A Happy Camper

Posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 00:00 by David_Hartman

Mohammed was not a very 'Happy Camper' as I entered intermediate ICU today. One might say he was disturbing the peace therein. Although there was a nurse taking a blood sample from his heel, it appeared that the thing he disliked most was the restriction placed upon his foot as the nurse held it. He definitely wanted no part of this. Thus, he was crying and his mother was trying to console him, but without immediate success. However, it was all over soon and Mohammed regained his freedom that he was so desiring. The room became quiet again as his mother picked him up and coddled him. As we all know, nothing compares to a mother when it comes to soothing the boo-boos of life! We thank God for Mohammed's mother and the encouragement that she provides for Mohammed.

Chubby Pink Cheeks

Posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

It was a delight to see Mohammed's mother today when she came to visit in Tara's room with a big smile on her face. She was anxious for me to go with her to see Mohammed. Her tiny son is now making a good recovery in the ICU after emergency heart surgery last week, and she is a very thankful and joyful mother. I too was overjoyed to see the pink chubby cheeks of Mohammed as he slept in his ICU bed. Last week he was nearly lifeless when our team brought him up from Gaza; now he has a hope and a future because of the opportunity to have this surgery in Israel - thank God! Keep praying for this precious baby and his family, that all of them will know the love of God which made this help possible for Mohammed.

Sharing the Journey Continued

Posted on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 00:00 by Autumn_Ridley

Mohammed came out of Gaza on our Tuesday run. When I visited with his family on Monday (the day before), I was a bit anxious to see what his prognosis would be. The mother told me that his heart is on the right side instead of the left. I noticed that his face and hands were a bit blue. His family was very open with me about their concerns and hopes for Mohammed. So on Tuesday when it was his turn for the echo, I wasnt really surprised to find out that he would be admitted right away. Mohammed's mother came out of the echo room crying and telling me that they were going to admit Mohammed. She was very scared but we all gathered around her and assured her that God would be with Mohammed. She was telling me that she only has two children and she doesnt want to lose either one of them. On Wednesday when I checked on Mohammed and his mother, his mother was very happy. I found out that on Tuesday when they checked his oxygen level it was two, and after his surgery it was 98. Today when I visited with her she was a bit nervous and still worried. One of the other patients in the hospital told her that after the surgery there is a chance that he could have hearing and vision problems. Mohammed's mother saw that his eyes were swollen and that this person might be correct. I asked the nurse and she reassured us that this was very normal for the face and eyes to be swollen after surgery. She also reassured that he would not have these problems after his surgery. The nurse said that if he continues to do well he should be extubated tomorrow. This family has such a sweet personality. Pray that His peace would comfort them during this difficult time.

Sharing the Journey

Posted on Tue, 10/16/2007 - 00:00 by Danielle_Parish

The work of Shevet is the simple yet incredibly complex ministry of being Christ in flesh, bringing about healing, love and reconciliation amongst all of His children. Tuesday, the best way to express the love of Jesus in this community was to travel to the Israeli-Gaza border and provide transportation for Palestinian children in need of medical care.

At the border we were greeted with the equivalent of two van loads of children and their loving parents as escorts. I had the privilege of sharing the day with Mohammed's mother as we sat next to each other, gazing at her beautiful two-month-old son. Observable even in his relaxed state, the bluish tint around Mohammed's lips and his fingertips shows the telltale sign of cardiac complications. Sitting along side Mohammed's mother, even without the benefit of much shared language, you can hear her thoughts, concerns and fears. Her arms never let go of this beautiful boy the entire day, her concerned gaze never leaves his face, his every breath her own as she desperately tries to sustain his contentment. A fussy baby is not generally a life or death matter in the average family, but in the case of some of these children, crying turns their skin an even deeper and darker hue. Many of these families live on the sharp edge between life and death, with one breath and one cry making all the difference.

As we sat waiting for the doctor, Mohammed's mother turned to me and said, "After 30 years, my God gives me a son." And with tears in her eyes, she gives thanks for the gift she had lost hope of ever receiving, while also struggling with the unassailable fear that the gift may be in jeopardy. So we sit alongside the mothers of these children and trust the Holy Spirit to speak a language that is heard, felt and understood. It is enough to simply sit, share the journey and shed some tears alongside these mothers.

By the end of day, Mohammed was admitted into the hospital, the word "Urgent" scratched across the top of his medical sheet. Please pray for Mohammed and his mother, that the doctors will have wisdom regarding his medical condition, and that Mohammed's mother will find the peace and hope that surpasses all understanding.