Mohammed's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Mohammed's Heart Surgery Postponed

Posted on Tue, 10/23/2012 - 22:02 by Kristina Kayser

The big day for Mohammed's surgery had arrived, and I wondered how I would find him and his mother upon arrival at the hospital. Both were in good spirits despite the news they had just received: no surgery today. It was like de-ja-vu from yesterday, when his surgery was postponed to today, except this time, Mohammed didn't have to wait so long to break his pre-op fast. His mother initially seemed relieved just to leave the hospital, but tears of disappointment soon followed. Sensing the need for some repose, I led the pair away from the hospital clatter to a quiet outdoor courtyard. Doctors informed us that Mohammed's operation was sidelined due to his productive cough, low-grade fever, and poor blood test results. When the underlying infection responds to antibiotic and ventilation treatment, he will be back in the game. His mother understood and accepted the decision graciously. She brushed away her tears, smiling bravely for her son throughout the day. 

They say ignorance is bliss, and for Mohammed, this could not have been truer. All he knew was that he had an entire playground all to himself and an entire afternoon to enjoy it. After bouncing from slide, to swing, to playhouse for several hours, he finally fell asleep on my lap. This small boy won my heart today with his smile and unexpected hugs. It was late afternoon by the time we journeyed towards Jerusalem. The city lights at dusk were a welcome sight to our weary travelers. Two other Kurdish families were also ready to receive Mohammed and his mother into our home for the first time. As mother and son become settled in our community, please pray for patience and grace in the waiting. 

Mohammed Scheduled for Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Sun, 10/21/2012 - 23:03 by Kristina Kayser

My first glance of our newest boy, Mohammed, evoked compassion. He sat in his mother's lap crying, coughing, and considerably disturbed to find himself in yet another unfamiliar place. While still a toddler, Mohammed is on perhaps the greatest journey of his life. Both he and his mum left home and family to cross rivers, mountains, and borders in search of a new heart. Now sitting in Wolfson Hospital's waiting room, the timid pair took solace in each other's company. Introductions were made, popcorn was shared, the bubbles came out, and the countenances of each warmed into smiles.

It wasn't long before nurses called Mohammed in for initial procedures and assessment. The smiles vanished and a fresh bout of tears and sniffles began again. His mother, meanwhile, surprised me with her calm resolve throughout every exam. Between blood draws, an electrocardiogram, and vital signs, she held her son close and kissed his tear-stained cheeks.

How much is the love of God like this for His children? In the midst of our pain, He is ever near and ready to comfort. Time stretched on and Mohammed's empty tummy began to exacerbate his sorrows. His mother quickly prepared a warm bottle of milk. After several satisfying sips, I suddenly remembered that Mohammed was just about to receive a pre-echo sedative. Previous experience had taught me that milk and medicine, if given too close together, are not a good combination in the stomach. Much to Mohammed's displeasure, the bottle was taken away as we headed up to the echo department. His brow furrowed several times as he pondered why his bottle was in my hands and not in his mouth. The impending echo (short for echocardiogram) would create 2-D imagery of the heart through ultrasound. And in order to achieve the best results in a quiet environment, a sedative was given to put Mohammed to sleep. The only problem was that Mohammed didn't want to sleep. He wanted me to blow more bubbles. He wanted to play with his mother's cell phone. He wanted to drink his milk; anything but sleep. 

After half an hour of vain attempts to woo our patient to sleep, an exasperated echo technician decided to proceed with the exam. Ironically, Mohammed fell asleep moments after his head hit the pillow. What followed was a meticulous inspection of every valve, vessel, and chamber of Mohammed's heart. Dr. Tamir, Wolfson's senior cardiologist, reviewed the results and confirmed the diagnosis. The walls separating the upper and lower chambers of Mohammed's heart each possess a large breach. These breaches are known as an ASD (atrial septal defect) and VSD (ventricular septal defect) respectively. The most surprising part of Dr. Tarmir's conclusion was the announcement that Mohammed would be admitted for surgery tomorrow afternoon! His mother quietly processed this news, while listening intently as I translated the doctor's words. Sometimes, patients must wait weeks before their operation day is decided. Praise God the timing of Mohammed's arrival lined up perfectly with an opening in the surgery schedule! 

Mohammed was still sound asleep when we ventured back to the pediatric ward and find his room for the night. Ruth, Kelsey, and I, along with two other Kurdish families made sure mother and son had everything they needed before saying goodbye. Mohammed's father was also contacted and informed of his family's safe arrival and plan for surgery. Mohammed was a picture of peace, oblivious to the gravity of tomorrow's agenda. Meanwhile, anxiety bore the expression of tears on his young mother's face. I held her hands and prayed, thanking God for His love for them and asking Him for His help. Would you also pray on behalf of this precious boy and his mother that they receive rest and peace that only comes from above. My hope in all that lies ahead for Mohammed rests in the truth that God "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

Mohammed Marches Into Israel

Posted on Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:11 by Jonathan Miles

Mohammed and his young mother crossed the Jordan River into Israel this morning, with Mohammed striking a sober and thoughtful impression for a not-yet-two-year-old:

Mohammed reached the hospital before noon, where doctors were waiting to examine him as a candidate for surgery already this week. 

Later tonight we'll post today's results.

Bringing Mohammed to Israel

Posted on Sun, 09/23/2012 - 23:26 by Jonathan Miles

Almost two-year-old Mohammed needs surgery to close the hole between the ventricles of his heart. If left too long his condition could become untreatable, and he will die a slow and painful death. 

Doctors believe that with surgery Mohammed can have a full and normal life. We have applied for his visa to Israel and hope to have him at Prophets Street by mid-October.