WahajSurgery's Heart Surgery


Comfort For Wahaj's Mother

Posted on Thu, 12/18/2008 - 00:00 by Justina

Wahaj is recovering well but was in quite a bit of pain today which caused his mom to break down in tears a few times. Late in the afternoon the nurses removed his chest drainage tube, assuring his mother this would alleviate much of his discomfort. Due to long-term lack of oxygen, Wahaj's fingers and toes were not only blue but had become clubbed. His mother assumed that after his heart was repaired that the clubbing would reverse. She was very distressed when the doctors told her this was not the case, that his digits would always look this way. They assured her that it wouldn't prevent him from living a normal life--an assurance that didnt seem to bring her much comfort.

Pray for this mom's heart to be comforted and to trust in the unfailing love of her son's Creator.

Already Out Of ICU

Posted on Wed, 12/17/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
The first place I went after Elaf was taken to surgery was to see Wahaj in the ICU. He was beginning to awaken and stir restlessly in the bed as his mother and I approached, and it was a good thing that his arms were tied down for now so he couldn't pull on any of the tubes from the surgery. He was still intubated, but the nurse said they'd try to extubate him this morning. He was telling his mother that he wanted water, but he was not allowed to have any while intubated. After sitting with Elaf's mom for awhile, I went back to ICU to find Wahaj extubated and using only an oxygen mask, which meant he could have water on a tiny sponge. He asked over and over for "ow", the Kurdish word for water.
I left to be with Havan's mother as she waited to go with Havan for his heart catheterization. As we sat together she told me that Wahaj might be moved out of the ICU, which was surprising to me since it was so soon after surgery. But when we returned from the catheterization, there was Wahaj in the children's ward! He was using only a nasal canula for oxygen, and was sleeping soundly. Praise God! His mother was thankful and delighted, and kept a vigil by Wahaj's bed so she could attend him when he woke up.

Let's keep praying for Wahaj's recovery even as we thank God for all He's already done in the lives of this family.

Pink Lips for the First Time

Posted on Tue, 12/16/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Praise to God, Wahaj had successful heart surgery today! Although I left Jerusalem very early this morning, I did not make it to Wolfson by 7 am when Wahaj was taken downstairs to the operating room, so I found his mother sitting quietly with Elaf and her mother when I arrived. After a few tears Um Wahaj ("mother of Wahaj") waited through the morning peacefully even though Elaf had a very rough morning with another cyanotic spell. Not long afterwards Um Wahaj telephoned me, and we met in the hall so that she could tell me Wahaj would be up from surgery soon. I was very surprised since it was not yet 11 AM ... but after another ten minutes, Wahaj was wheeled down the hallway (pictured above) on his way to the ICU. The OR staff told her that the surgery went well, and as she followed the bed down the hall she was crying tears of relief and joy, and thanking God.

As is the usual procedure, Um Wahaj had to wait about half an hour or so to go into the ICU to see her son. As she looked over all the equipment attached to him and near his bed, she was very quiet. The nurse assigned to his care was still working to prepare all of the medications, and the x-ray equipment was brought in to follow up. When the x-ray equipment was removed and we walked back to the bed, Um Wahaj noticed for the first time how pink her son's skin was, and she got tears of joy again to see such an immediate change in his appearance.

Indeed as you can see from the picture, he no longer has blue lips. The ICU staff reported that Wahaj did very well in surgery even though it was a difficult one. They hope to extubate him tomorrow, and if he continues to do well, he will be moved to the ward in several more days.

This evening when we left the hospital Um Wahaj shared that she was feeling some fear over his condition. I reminded her that there are doctors and nurses there all the time watching and caring for her son. We had a time of prayer together for all the mothers and children before leaving, asking the peace of God to be with each of them. Please pray that Um Wahaj can sleep tonight while Wahaj is still sedated, and be prepared for the special day she will have tomorrow as he is awakened from the sedation which protects him from the pain and helps his body heal. I look forward to seeing her joyful smile in the morning as God answers our prayers.

Surgery Moved To Tuesday

Posted on Mon, 12/15/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

As I hurried down the hall of the hospital this morning to be with Wahaj and his mother before his surgery, I passed the head nurse of the children's ward where Wahaj is admitted. She called out that his surgery was cancelled for today, that she didn't know why, but that she'd just told the mother. I was surprised, and as you can imagine, Wahaj's mother was very disappointed. Neither the doctor in the ward nor the nursing staff knew why it was cancelled, so couldn't tell me any further information until they spoke with the surgical team later in the morning. Dr. Alona came by to do rounds, and said that Wahaj is rescheduled for Tuesday morning. Wahaj's mom was very thankful for this news, and set out to have a good day as she waits. Wahaj was still sleeping when I got there, but woke up shortly afterwards. He was very blue this morning, but seemed better through the day. By afternoon he was his usual jovial self, and was napping when we left late in the afternoon.

Please keep praying for peace for Wahaj's mother, as well as for Wahaj himself. He is still very wary of the doctors and is about to enter the time he needs their full-time care. Let us pray that when he awakens from surgery he feels so much better that he is no longer fearful of them, but instead counts them as his friends like he does most everyone he meets.


Many Tears Shed During Admission Process

Posted on Sun, 12/14/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
Wahaj left Jerusalem this morning to be admitted at Wolfson on schedule for his open heart surgery Monday morning. Just like Elaf last night, he was struggling with a cyanotic spell and we were all relieved that he was indeed hospitalized so he would have proper equipment for monitoring his condition. I felt that both he and Elaf were admitted without a moment to spare.

I was already at the hospital with Elaf when Wahaj arrived, and he was absolutely delighted to see her - he began calling her name as he was carried down the hall into the children's wa
rd, and reached out for her when he arrived in her room. It was precious to see! He is such a loving and tender-hearted little one. He was content to wait in her room as the two mothers visited, but his mood quickly changed when it was time for him to begin admission procedures. He knows from experience that doctors and nurses mean unpleasant and painful things could happen, and he cries when they approach. We were able to distract him for a little while with bubbles during the more mundane exams like blood oxygen monitoring, but the blood test and insertion of the IV port was so traumatic he needed to be sedated. Even after the sedation he cried and as he did so his oxygen level began dropping, so he was given oxygen while the bloodwork was finished. Later he was still so groggy he seemed to actually enjoy the doctor's examination when she came to his bedside.

Please pray for Wahaj to have total healing of his heart, so his loving and engaging personality will flourish as he grows up healthy and strong. Pray for his lovely mother to have peace tonight, and patience to wait through the day to receive the good news of her son's completed surgery. We look forward to sharing that joy with her tomorrow afternoon.

Surgery Scheduled!

Posted on Fri, 12/12/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Early this evening Dr. Alona called me with some wonderful news for all the mothers in our house - their surgeries are scheduled! When the doctor began telling me that the first child was scheduled for Sunday morning, I thought she would say it was Wahaj, since he'd just been dismissed a few days ago. Instead, she said to bring Elaf when the Sabbath ends tomorrow evening for her Sunday morning surgery.

I had the joy of sharing the news with the mothers, and when I told them I'd heard from the doctor, they each began asking if they were the ones who were going in. Wahaj's mother was thinking like me, expecting him to be the first one, so everyone was a little surprised when I shared the actual schedule. When I told her that Wahaj was to go in on Sunday morning, she smiled broadly and began to thank me over and over. I told her not to thank me, but to thank God for this. Wahaj was oblivious to the life-shaping discussion going on around him, and continued playing contentedly with his cars while watching the movie 'Cars' in Arabic. He was his usual happy self through the evening, although he began to tire after a celebration of the long-awaited surgery dates, complete with cake the mothers made this evening.

Wahaj's mom is a delightful woman who takes very good care of her son. By the demeanor with which she carries herself here, it is hard to imagine the difficulty of the life she lives in a very dangerous area of Iraq. Nonetheless she needs prayer for the intense events ahead as Wahaj undergoes the surgery which will save his young life. What a blessing it is to know that God has such a wonderful plan for his life that He sent him here to get surgery now so Wahaj can grow up into manhood.

Shyness Gone; Surgery Postponed

Posted on Wed, 12/10/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
This morning we got a surprising call from the doctors at Wolfson telling us that Wahaj was being dismissed to come to Jerusalem. We expected that he would have his surgery either today or tomorrow, but instead there were several other emergency cases which took precedence over Wahaj's need for treatment. Wahaj's mother sounded better than I expected when I spoke to her by phone about the change. I imagine that there was some relief for her at being able to come back to the house and rest, since she has been in the hospital for a week, beginning just 12 hours after she had arrived in Israel. We were told today that Wahaj will likely have his surgery next week.

He was significantly improved from his condition when he arrived from Jordan last week, and was an animated and active boy today. His previous shyness was gone; he recognized Justina and I right away and came to us happily. Once we arrived at the house all the moms and babies enjoyed seeing each other again, and after a few hours, Wahaj was ready for bed.

Please pray that Wahaj will not have any cyanotic attacks while waiting for his turn for surgery. Pray for rest for his mother and patience as she has to wait another week for the help Wahaj needs. Pray for all of us as we continue getting to know our new friends, counting this time as precious opportunity to share God's love with them.


Well Taken Care Of

Posted on Sun, 12/07/2008 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

Hank, Dorothy and I took a pillow to Wahaj and his mother today. He seemed to be doing well. One thing is for sure--he has enough nurses around him to take care of him if he has any problems. This reminds me of the scripture that says, "He will give his angels charge over you to keep you in all of your ways." God is looking after this baby.

Mom Thanks You For Praying

Posted on Sat, 12/06/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Thanks be to God! This morning Wahaj was stable enough to be moved out of the ICU into the children's ward. Our volunteers who went down this morning found Wahaj rather swollen from the fluids he was given yesterday afternooon when he had to be put in the ICU. Otherwise, currently he is on no oxygen and no IVs. He has monitors on his blood oxygenation, and is laughing and playing contentedly in his bed. Seeing him so improved is a great relief to his distressed mother. Indeed, this laughter is doing everyone good like medicine, just as Proverbs 17:22 says.

The main concern for Wahaj at the moment is that he remain calm and quiet so he is not prone to more cyanotic spells. Any crying could allow another such event. Will you please pray for him in this regard? And pray for his mother to be able to rest too so she will be strong to persevere during this time of stress as the course of treatment is planned for Wahaj. Last night as each of us left the hospital, we assured her we would be praying for Wahaj and for her. I told her we would ask for prayer on the internet from friends all over the world. As I've called to get the details of his condition today, Wahaj's mom wanted to know why I was calling several times. When our volunteer told her I was writing you with this information and asking for more prayer, she asked the volunteer to call me back so I could thank you for your prayers. Let us pursue the God of all hope, the God of our salvation, for His healing of Wahaj on behalf of him and his mother, knowing she is aware of the way He is answering our prayers.

Rushed To ICU For Immediate Care

Posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 00:00 by Abby_Bertrand

Today Wahaj went to the hospital for his echocardiogram and initial check up. He is such a sweet boy who loves cars and loves to ask people to "come, come" to him. Wahaj seemed to be playing well and enjoying his morning, even through all of the waiting at the hospital. Once it was time to do his echocardiogram, it became clear that this little boy didn't have enough oxygen in his blood and needed immediate care. After the echo, he and his mom were rushed over to ICU where a handful of nurses huddled around him, attaching IVs, drawing blood, and assessing his condition. I don't know if I've ever been in a medical situation this intense. And not understanding any of the local language here only added to that intensity. It was clear the situation was very serious, but I wanted to know how serious and exactly what has happening to this sweet child at that moment. I can't imagine what his mother felt, as she also does not understand the local language and has to trust these new doctors and nurses with the life of her son her first full day here. She was strong for Wahaj, constantly comforting him, holding his hand, and patting his head as the nurses attached all kinds of things to his little body.

After a very difficult half hour, Wahaj had calmed down, his body became more stable, and doctors were determining what would be done next. A technician came to do a chest x-ray, which was not a very pleasant experience Wahaj, and then he was moved to ICU. After Wahaj was observed, he was given an injection to calm and stabilize his body, and he became responsive once again. He spent time drawing with highlighters from nurses and a little car crayon... well, drawing when he was not trying to eat them at least. :) In the photo above, you can see Wahaj "talking" to his dad after finally getting settled in ICU.

He'll spend the night in ICU and hopefully tomorrow morning will bring news of when his surgery will be scheduled and more details about how his heart is doing.