Noor's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Noor Says Good Bye!!

Posted on Thu, 10/29/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

When we returned home after Noor's final echo, his mother was full of thanksgiving and excitement knowing that Noor was free to go home. The day we planned to leave, we had some car trouble, so we met together with all three of our departing patients' parents in a joint decision about the travel plans for their long-awaited return to Iraq. The new plan was to leave one day later, so Tuesday evening we had a big farewell dinner with all of our families and staff, and very early Wednesday morning embarked on the beginnings of their mega-travel day. We left Jerusalem a little after six in the morning, and by the day's end, Bilal, Mohammed B, and Noor were all home with their families in Iraq! Our trip to the border went well, and because it was early in the morning there was no wait to get through passport control on the Israeli side. We walked out of the checkpoint directly onto the bus as the driver, and headed straight to the airport in Jordan. 

Video of Noor going home.

While the timing for their travel was wonderful, it meant our goodbyes were very brief since we had to hurry to load our precious cargo into their seats. Even at his young age Noor seemed to understand what was happening and embraced each of us with a big hug while officials checked passports and they boarded the bus. He waved happily until they rolled out of sight, and since this little guy loves cars and planes so much, I expect he remained happy throughout the long day of travel. The difficulty of parting was evident, and the hope that we might be able to visit one another in Iraq was one of Noor's mother's topics of conversation while we traveled to the border. Perhaps more than the others leaving with her, she was filled with gratitude, in their case, not only for the care Noor had received, but also for the assistance she herself had received as we all came together to help her during a diabetes crisis which occurred during her stay. 

It was clear as she boarded the bus she was dealing with deep emotions, and she truly would miss her new friends made on this journey for Noor's healing. Please pray for both Noor and his mother as their healing continues, and their new lives unfold in Iraq. May God continue to bless this sweet-spirited little one and his whole family as Noor grows up, and fulfills the purpose for which God created him!

Noor Heading Home with a Big Smile

Posted on Mon, 10/26/2009 - 00:00 by Robin_Miller

Today we brought Noor and his mom for his last and final echo, and the doctors released him free and clear to go back home to Iraq.

From the very first day that he came into this country to have his heart surgery it was very tough on Noor. When he was admitted into the hospital for his surgery, his oxygen levels were only at 50 percent of normal and his little fingers and toes and lips were so blue.

Noor has always had a smile on his face, except when getting any checkups or any medical care. He is very sensitive and always loves his mom around for everything. There were some days where mom actually needed medical attention due to a misdiagnosed diabetes, and whenever we needed to babysit Noor he was not a happy camper, but as you can see in most of his pictures, his smile is worth a million dollars. All day he was doing great, until the doctor barely placed the probe on his check and he began to cry; but as soon as it was over, he was as happy as a clam. So was his mom, and me. = - )

W will really miss this cute little guy. With Noor every morning in Jerusalem yelling, Choni in hoping for the response of "Bachi," which is how are you doing in Kurdi. Or sometimes he would just yell "Hello," or "Goodbye," as he and some of the other children are learning English. They will all be missed so much when they leave. We ask that you would continue to hold this family up in your prayers both for moms healing with her sugar problems and for Noor to now be able to grow into a healthy young man. We lovingly ask the Lord's blessings on this family.


Noor Joyfully Leaves the Hospital

Posted on Wed, 10/07/2009 - 00:00 by Justin_Strong

Noor was looking very good today when we visited him at Wolfson Medical Center. He was very excited to see the Shevet family and wanted to play right away. Noor is still pretty weak and needs to take it easy, so I thought a nice wheelchair ride around the hospital was in order. 

We stopped to enjoy the photos on the walls in the halls, and we waved "bye bye" to Noor's mother as I wheeled him outside around the hospital grounds. We enjoyed the scenery and talked to each other the whole way, though we could scarcely understand a word the other spoke. Noor giggled the whole time and especially enjoyed the wheelchair being leaned back when we went up and down the curbs, and meowing at a cat we spotted resting under a car. When we arrived back at his hospital room a nurse told me some surprising news: Noor was to be released back to Jerusalem today! A doctor soon came in to do some checks and confirmed he would be allowed home today; Noor's mother was very happy to hear this news. After the good news we enjoyed a hospital lunch together on Noor's bed, and as usual Noor made sure I ate everything he ate. While we were waiting on a couple other things Noor decided he wanted to try out pushing the wheel chair, so I hopped in and Noor had a blast wheeling me around the room and crashing into things (and occasionally people). You can have a look by following this link.

After about 15 minutes of this we made him stop so he wouldn't exhaust himself, which he wasn't happy about, but we were soon on our way home. Noor waved and said "bye bye hospital" in Kurdish as we pulled away.

Noor Happy As a Clam

Posted on Mon, 10/05/2009 - 06:50 by Justin_Strong

Noor's recovery has been moving along slowly since his surgery, but thankfully after returning to the ICU for a day he was doing well enough to be moved to the intermediate ICU for observation. Before having his chest tubes removed Noor was as happy as a clam and was in no visible pain whatsoever. He was very eager to play as much as his energy permitted, and
he did his best to have fun in spite of all the wires and tubes around him. Follow this link to see.

After having his chest tubes removed Noor's excitement was much more reserved, his mother told me that he has been complaining of pain at the site of the chest tubes. Still, when distracted from the pain Noor seemed very content and still eager to get out of bed. To help distract him I showed him the photos of all the other children I knew whose picture I had taken that day; first of himself, and then of Ikram after he awoke, and Hamza who later came by to wish him farewell. Please continue to pray for Noor's recovery as it has been a bit rocky thus far and for his mother as she has been very anxious because of these complications. 

Noor Re-Admitted to ICU

Posted on Sat, 10/03/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

When we arrived at the hospital on Friday to visit Mohammed Burhan following his surgery, we were shocked to learn that Noor had been readmitted to the ICU. His oxygenation had begun dropping during the afternoon, so doctors needed him back in the ICU for closer monitoring while they determined the source of the problem. Noor was very unhappy, and he was screaming when we first saw him because he had to have another IV for the treatment of his condition. When we left the ICU yesterday, doctors were working to determine the problem.

This evening as soon as Shabbat ended we headed to the hospital again to take Ikram for his admission before tomorrow's surgery, and to check on our other patients. We were thankful to find Noor smiling and waving in his bed. Just as he had hoped, he was beside his little buddy Mohammed Faraydoon in the ICU.

The doctor on duty informed me that Noor had a little air trapped in the chest cavity between his lung and chest wall. He said they suspect in his case it might be from the drainage tube in his chest which is necessary following heart surgery. It is hoped that tomorrow those tubes can be removed and Noor can be moved out of the ICU and straight into the surgical ward. He is already drinking water, and he seemed quite happy this evening during our visit. His mother is relieved but cautious, as she understands that it may not be possible to move Noor tomorrow if he's not ready to have the tubes removed. Overall though, Noor's mother is grateful that he is doing better, as she was quite fearful when he had to be re-admitted to the main ICU yesterday.

We're thanking God that Noor's problem is not serious, and that tomorrow he will probably leave the ICU for good. Please join us in praising God for Noor's progress so far. His mother is thankful for your prayers. Keep praying for this precious little one to have a supernatural quick healing.

Noor Quickly Out of the ICU

Posted on Thu, 10/01/2009 - 06:50 by Donna_Petrel

Today was an eventful day for Noor, although he was too sedated to realize all that happened to him! First thing this morning the doctors were able to successfully extubate him from mechanical ventilation, and as his mother and I walked into the ICU the process had just finished. Noor was quite unhappy about the way he was feeling, and the tears were very unsettling for his mother. She too began crying, having the mindset that anything happening was reason for fear that Noor was in trouble. We assured her he was doing fine, but after surgery there is pain, and he was being given more medication for the pain.

Once the medication took effect and Noor was resting comfortably, his mother went to sit with Mohammed mother as she waited for Mohammed's surgery to finish. While we sat together, one of the Palestinian mothers called Noor's mom to the ICU. As she left, she commented that he must be crying again, and she needed to go to him quickly. Later however, I learned that she was being called because Noor was being moved to the intermediate ICU already! This move seemed to prove to her that Noor is doing very well, and she became more relaxed and excited about the reality of what was happening. It seemed to really sink into her heart and mind that Noor is recovering well and will be healthy soon - healthier than he's been in his three years of life!

Noor himself was unaware of all of these things. After the sedatives are no longer necessary and Noor really wakes up, we believe he will be excited too. He will be able to play without fainting for lack of oxygen, something all of us are looking forward to, though none more than his mother. Please join us in praying for Noor's pain to cease and his healing to be quick. Pray that there will be no more than a memory of the fear for his life which has plagued his mother up till now, and instead, she will have great peace and joy in its place. To God be the glory!

Noor to Surgery at Last

Posted on Wed, 09/30/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Promptly at seven o'clock this morning the operating room staff came for little Noor to bring him downstairs. His mother had recently awakened but had decided not to wake him up, so when the nurse needed to go through the formality of checking his name bracelet before approving his dismissal for surgery, he was startled to see so many medical people surrounding his bed, and began to cry. Thankfully his mother was able to carry him downstairs in her arms and he settled down as we walked together behind his bed, pretending it was a car. In the pre-op waiting room another little boy was already waiting for surgery, so the two of them took turns exploring the toys which were available there.

He also consulted with his mother several times to be sure after his surgery he would be in the same room as his little friend Mohammed. Once Noor had played with everything he wanted to, he was ready to return to his hospital room upstairs, and couldn't understand why his mother wouldn't cooperate and take him there! We were able to divert his attention a little longer by pretending to play with the figures and animals on the beautiful mural in the room, and then it was his turn to go.

Like his little friend Mohammed he was given a small dose of anesthesia to start falling asleep as he left his mother, who had been fighting a severe headache along with the tears of anxiety over the surgery. Once Noor was in surgery she joined the other Iraqi patients and moms who are all sharing the same room in the ward.

The wait for Noor lasted about six and a half hours, and finally he came upstairs with doctors bearing the good news that the surgery had gone well.

After the first glances and tears of joy at seeing her son and hearing the good news, Noor's mother noticed that he is no longer blue! She shouted down the hall to her friends who'd been waiting with us, "He looks beautiful!" In fact his oxygenation was 98% in the ICU when we were allowed to go in to see him once the nurses had everything in place needed for medication and to monitor his condition.

His thankful mother was visibly relaxed and anxious to share the great news with her family in Iraq by telephone, so we didn't spend very much time in the ICU before Justin and I headed back to Jerusalem. Join us in thanking God for Noor's heart repair as you pray for his healing to be supernaturally fast. We look forward to seeing him awaken in the coming day or two, and well on his way to heading back to his family in Iraq.

Noor Awaits Surgery

Posted on Thu, 09/24/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Last night when I returned home from the hospital after Mohammed's surgery I went upstairs to bring the other families up to date on his condition. Each of them is concerned about the others' children and they want to be informed, especially about the surgeries. I shared the news about Mohammed with them, and received some unsettling news about Noor from his mother at the same time. Yesterday while playing Noor began to have cyanotic spells, and had fainted several times, causing his mother great concern. I called and spoke with the hospital about this, and they said we could wait until morning to bring him in since we were coming early with Hamza. Noor loves to ride in the car, so he was a happy boy all the way to the hospital. He was still smiling once inside because he saw Hamza and the mothers of Bilal and Mohammed.

However, when it came time to go to the nurses' station for his check up, he was afraid and tearful. A check of Noor's blood oxygenation level showed it was strikingly low at only 51%, and the decision was made immediately to admit him until time for his surgery.

We believe that he will have one of the first surgeries following Yom Kippur, the highest holy day in Israel, which falls on Monday this year, but currently we do not know the surgery schedule. Noor's mother is very thankful (along with the rest of us) that he will be closely monitored in the hospital for the next few days. Please pray that Noor will remain able to play cheerfully, as he did in the hospital today, up until the time of his surgery. He is a sweet and happy boy who simply needs this heart repair to be able to express all of the energy he has inside. Pray that his mother will remain strong and patient as she cares for him in the hospital.

Unexpected Night in the Hospital

Posted on Mon, 09/07/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Early Saturday morning Noor literally had a rude awakening when he fell out of bed. Noor started crying saying that his right shoulder was hurt. Shortly thereafter a decision was made to take him to the hospital for an evaluation to be sure he was alright.

The ER needed the input of an orthopedic surgeon, but the surgeon was performing surgery the entire day. By evening there was still no conclusive diagnosis of the injury, so Noor was admitted for observation and treatment of the pain. The diagnosis was made the next day that Noor had a fracture in his collarbone from the fall. There was not a way to bandage or splint the injury due to its location, so the treatment is to handle him carefully. The bones will knit themselves back together, and he will be fine when the healing is finished. Meanwhile, this will in no way impact his surgery date, which is good news to all. Noor is able to play, and tries to use his arm normally most of the time. If he puts too much weight on it, he cries, and realizes not to repeat the action which caused the pain.

Today Noor was able to return to Jerusalem, just in time for his third birthday celebration! Thank God that his injury was not more serious, and that he is already healing well. Pray with us that Noor's surgery will be scheduled as soon as possible.

Noor Visits the Hospital

Posted on Thu, 09/03/2009 - 01:00 by Mary_Daily

Yesterday we took our five new families to Wolfson Hospital for their echos and tuberculosis test. Noor was very upset when his TB test was being administered; Donna had to help hold him.

He calmed down shortly after the whole process was over. Noor was not able to have his echo test done today, so he will have to come back in a few days.

Please keep Noor in your daily prayers as he begins this journey of healing.