Mustafa's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Quick and Easy Catheterization

Posted on Sun, 12/23/2007 - 00:00 by Lamis_Kanboura

Mustafa's catheterization this morning was quick and easy--finished in only one hour. Afterwards Mustafa felt very good. He was able to take a drink before too long, and he proved that he's a mature boy by following all the doctor's orders.

If Sana isn't feeling better in the next few days, Mustafa will be scheduled in her surgery spot this coming Wednesday.

Mustafa Undergoes Tests

Posted on Thu, 12/20/2007 - 00:00 by Lamis_Kanboura

Lamis, our friend in Haifa, told me this evening that Mustafa had an x-ray and blood tests today, and was released from the hospital. He'll return early Sunday morning for his catheterization.

Lamis had car trouble today, in inclement weather too! So a friend of hers came to the hospital to pick up Mustafa, his baby sister Lara and their mother, while Lamis stayed in the hospital with Sana and her mother.

Slept Like A Baby

Posted on Mon, 12/17/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

We had a very good day in Haifa today. The hospital allowed us to use one of the rooms they have set aside for out of town family members so that Mustafa, his mother, and his sister Lara would all be together there. Lamis, our friend from Haifa, came to the hospital to visit the patients last evening. We decided that we would try to take Mustafa out this morning while he waits his turn for catheterization, and while Lara is hospitalized.

Mustafa slept like a baby all night. I was excited that when he awoke in the morning I could show him the beautiful view of the Mediterranean we had outside our window. And I was not disappointed by his reaction - even though I could not understand his Kurdish words of delight, his face told me what he wanted to express. He has been spending a lot of time in front of a big aquarium just outside his sister's hospital room, so to think that we were taking him to view this big water close up was special and I figured he would be extremely excited to go --- WRONG!! He cried and refused to go with us! No matter what we did or said, he simply would not go. So we left him there with hopes he will go next time, and took Sana and her mother to the beach.

When we arrived, we were surprised but thankful to hear that Mustafa's sister Lara was going to be dismissed this afternoon! While Lara's dismissal was happening, we showed Mustafa the pictures of our trip to the beach, and packed our little room upstairs so all of the children and both moms could go to the apartment. Mustafa's mother was very relieved to get to leave the hospital. Alex and I were also relieved that the mothers would be together tonight, because we both had to return to Jerusalem this evening, and we knew that Mustafa would be going in for pre-op testing Thursday before his catheterization on Sunday. We do not yet know when they might schedule Lara's catheterization because it will depend on her recovery from pneumonia.

There was one more event which these Muslim Kurdish children and their mothers found very exciting today. Just as we were preparing to get on the elevator to
leave the hospital, out stepped a man dressed as a Santa delivering toys to the children's ward. They wanted to have their picture taken with him, so we obliged.

Please pray for Mustafa and his mother. Lara and Mustafa's mother has a challenge ahead with both her children requiring surgeries... what patience, perseverance and assistance she will need! Pray that the believers in Haifa will come alongside these precious families to minister His lovingkindness to them. And thank God with us for His ability and desire to heal Mustafa's heart and use His children in ways that are a blessing as He works through them.

Mustafa Arrives in Israel

Posted on Sun, 12/16/2007 - 00:00 by Alex_Pettett

The newest patients from Iraq--Mustafa (wearing the orange sweater), his sister Lara, and Sana--have arrived in Israel. However so far, the theme that already existed, and which has become more highlighted since our subsequent trip to Haifa, is... waiting!

Sana has been waiting since last years echocardiogram screening to be accepted by a center who could treat her very complicated heart condition. Mustafa and Lara have been waiting for word their visas were approved and they could be accepted together for surgery. Last night we all waited on opposite sides of the passport control area of the airport in Amman for over one and a half hours until immigration allowed our newest patients to officially enter Jordan. Today we had to wait while Israeli security went through an extremely intensive luggage search process. After arriving at Rambam Medical Center, each of the children went through initial exams and echocardiograms rather quickly, but little Lara required extra tests to determine whether she has pneumonia, and as I write, we have been waiting for about four hours for those results.

Thankfully the children have forgotten the unhappiness induced by lengthy tests after spending most of the waiting time in the hospital playroom area. When told we would have to wait longer, we also took a break to the kanyon (mall attached to the hospital) for some schwerma for dinner.

The children seem content; the mothers, on the other hand, are feeling the fatigue of the travel, the emotion of their childrens conditions and upcoming treatment, and the challenge of having to wait so long for these test results. But wait we must, in the event that Lara might need to be admitted this evening for pneumonia.

And now we know, because the space between these paragraphs was another waiting spell while we tried to find a place to plug in the laptop after the battery died Lara is being admitted tonight for pnemonia. Here at Rambam there is a parents hostel on the top floor in which parents from out of town are allowed to stay. Currently the hospital is working to arrange one of these rooms for Mustafa's mother and sister for the duration of her stay.

Please pray for the mother of Mustafa and Lara as she enters Israel and finds herself immediately overnighting in the hospital with two children. Pray for wisdom for the doctors as they seek the best course of treatment for Lara and determine how to schedule Mustafas heart surgery in these circumstances. We know that all three children will require a catheterization before the doctors know the best course of treatment for each childs heart. Earlier today the doctors determined that Mustafa would likely have his catheterization on Sunday this could change now that Lara is admitted.

All of the family members need your prayers as the days unfold and God--who is always on time--does His work in the midst of every detail of these events.

Ruth Ann, a short-term volunteer, adds her reflections of today's events:

Today was my first experience as a volunteer. I had heard wonderful things about the ministry and wanted to help. Donna was planning to bring over two families by herself, which would be very difficult. I was asked if Id like to go with her.

I met Donna in Amman, and we left for Israel early the next morning. We were loaded in two taxis for a trip across the border.

As the little girl played quietly, the mother was very nervous. I held her hand at every checkpoint. The doctors and nurses greeted us so warmly; I could see the relief from both mothers.

Ministry in the States requires you to be flexible. Here you must be fluid. Airplanes arrive late and security is always an issue. Waiting for hospital test results requires patience. Just when I would hear and next we will . . . the situation changed and we were off in another direction.

Through the long day I saw the dedication of the hospital staff, and the welcome smiles from other patients and families. When translation became difficult, a stranger who was at the hospital with his son came to our assistance. A medical question asked in Hebrew was translated to Arabic by a parent with the shared concern for a critically ill child.

Donna is well known by the doctors and staff. She is writing down information and making arrangements all through the day. The love and dedication shown by this ministry has been a blessing for me to see. Although this is my first experience, I certainly pray that it will not be my last.