Yaqoob's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Yaqoob Is Smiling, Eating, Waving, Overcoming

Posted on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:00 by Hannes-Christoph Buchmann

Brian and I went to Sheba hospital on Friday morning, and spoke with the nurses who were really happy about Yaqoob

Big Improvement for Yaqoob

Posted on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:55 by Stephanie Ventura

Today, the ICU room at Sheba Medical Center was full of action as we witnessed several nurses enter into Yaqoob

In The Place Of Miracles

Posted on Sun, 02/12/2012 - 23:16 by Kristina Kayser

Yaqoob's body lay motionless amidst an assortment of wires and beeping monitors. His chest rose and fell in synchronized motion with the ventilator. As I approached his bedside, my eyes surveyed the situation. He didn't look much changed from Friday, the last time I saw him. As I thought about what to say, Yaqoob's eyelids fluttered open then closed, and his shoulders shifted. The nurse mentioned he was struggling against the sedatives.

Though Yaqoob is not fully conscious, he is still able to hear, and I saw this as a critical moment to speak into his life. "We want you to come home Yaqoob. We love you, you have a grandmother here who loves you, and Jesus loves you so much. He knew you before you were born. He is with you every minute, every hour, every day. He made your heart, and He knows what you need to be stronger every day. One day, you will run Yaqoob and you will see your family again." His future may look bleak to some, but to me, he is in the perfect place...the place of miracles. 

Yaqoob's nurse reported that while his condition is still quite serious, he is stable. There is room for hope. His kidneys have recently begun producing a small amount of urine. It is small but significant progress. Also, the pleural effusion (post-surgical congestion around his lungs) has cleared and the chest tube was removed. Eight potent drugs continue to be infused into his body, regulating muscular contractions and organ function. Plans to extubate (remove the breathing tube) have been delayed due to bleeding within his trachea. The reason is unknown, even after a diagnostic procedure today, and doctors are waiting for the tissue to heal.

Not to be forgotten is Yaqoob's faithful grandmother, who let us know that today marks their twenty-fifth day at Sheba Hospital. Her shoulders hung lower and her voice carried a tone of despondence. Stephanie and I listened as she shared the burden she is carrying. "I tell Yaqoob's parents that he is good. That's all I say to them." She raised her hands heavenward as I shared she is not alone in this. 

As you pray for Yaqoob and his grandmother, ask that they may understand the extent of God's love for them

Yaqoob's Condition Has Deteriorated

Posted on Fri, 02/10/2012 - 00:01 by Zack Miles

We made our way up to the cardiac ICU tonight, where we found Yaqoob

Milestone Improvements for Yaqoob

Posted on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 23:52 by Candace Gregg

We had a brief encounter with Dr. Amir, Yaqoob's supervising doctor, today while visiting Sheba. Usually looking war torn and tired from the action of the ICU, Dr. Amir's expression lit up when he saw us and he exclaimed, "Did you hear about Yaqoob? I'm not sure if it's something that you did or we did, but he is doing much better!" 

A nurse in the ICU offered to give us a full report on Yaqoob's condition, but I didn't need her to say much: Yaqoob told me simply by the fluttering of his long eyelashes and the nod of his head that he was improving. Since his heart surgery of January 27th, he has not regained consciousness. Many people around the globe have been praying for him. So to see his eyes open, even partially, and his responsive gesturing, is itself a victory.

Here is the latest: Yaqoob has emerged from a week-long unconsciousness and is off all anesthetics. His eyes were wide open as my fellow volunteer Stephanie and I stood by his bedside and talked to him. He was able to look at us and slightly nod his head in response to some of Stephanie's questions in Kurdish. The nurse also told us that his kidneys are starting to improve, which is very important. His oxygen saturation is at 98%, as good as mine or yours.

A sub-plot of the day was Yaqoob

Yaqoob Showing Signs of Waking

Posted on Sun, 02/05/2012 - 21:58 by Liliya Semenyuk

We walked into the ICU room where Yaqoob lay Friday, connected to the whirring machines, breathing tubes, and medicine lines around him. I took hold of his hand and began to talk to him with all the Kurdish I have learned in the past month, letting him know that we are thinking of him, praying for him, and that we love him. I began to call out to him to come back to us; he is a smart kid and we miss him! Because he got admitted so quickly, we only got a foretaste of his delightful personality.

As I prayed for Yaqoob with his cold hand in mine, I felt the slight movement of his hand. The nurse related to us that they have taken him off sedation a few days before, so, just like us, they are waiting for him to wake up. Hence, he has been slightly moving his head, slightly moving his hands and feet, and ever so slightly moving his eyelids--which was the first thing I had noticed, actually. Before, his eyelids were so eerily still, I would subconsciously blink, almost in an effort to help him do the same. Now, however, the droopy eyelids rose and fell occasionally. The doctors have been able to reduce the amount of medicine for maintaining his blood pressure, and as far as I could tell according to the monitor situated above his head, the readings looked good. He is being kept warm under an air blanket and they planned to extubate him this weekend.

We left the hospital with the hope that next time we visit Yaqoob, he will respond not just to touch and movement, but to our words and our voices, looking at us and talking to us, even telling us that it hurts.

Let's also remember Yaqoob's grandmother in our prayers, as we encourage her to keep hoping and believe the best for Yaqoob during these long days of waiting.


Yaqoob Progressing, Feeding to Begin

Posted on Wed, 02/01/2012 - 15:32 by Jonathan Miles

ICU head Dr. Amir Vardi describes Yaqoob as stable and even progressing this afternoon, thank God, and the medical staff plan to start feeding him intravenously for the first time since the surgery. Yaqoob is still not conscious, even though he is not receiving any anesthesia. This is apparently due to his non-functioning kidneys. Dr. Vardi says that kidneys can slowly recover even after several weeks without functioning. We continue in prayer for Yaqoob daily. 

Yaqoob Remains "Critical, But Stable"

Posted on Tue, 01/31/2012 - 22:02 by Candace Gregg

We found Yaqoob much in the same state today as he has been in these past few days: critical, but stable.

From the Doctor's Lips

Posted on Sun, 01/29/2012 - 21:54 by Liliya Semenyuk

"What's happened to Yaqoob? Has he died?" Jonathan listened to these words on the grandmother's telephone just after we arrived at the hospital, taken aback. That was the precise bit of news that he had been afraid to hear. I didn't realize what was going on, gave the grandmother a large smile and the customary kisses on the cheeks, and showed her that we had brought some food to add some flavor to her hospital food, completely oblivious to her apparent mourning; she motioned that she has no need for food.

We rushed to the ICU and discovered a flurry of activity around Yaqoob's bed. Consulting Dr. Amir, the ICU head who happened to be there at the moment, we found out Yaqoob's actual status:
Thank you so much for all of your prayers. Dr. Amir does not want us to get our hopes up too much; Yaqoob is still in a very serious situation and requires a lot of support. Though his kidneys failed yesterday and he is on dialysis, the doctor is not overly worried about them being able to recover. Nonetheless, I would still like to ask for prayer for his kidneys. 
A few minutes later Jonathan heard these blessed words from Dr. Katz, Yaqoob's cardiologist: "He has turned a corner."
I can only speculate on how the initial miscommunication and misunderstanding came about. When Dr. Amir and Jonathan were finally able to reassure the grandmother that Yaqoob is alive and doing better, she pointed to the food I had brought and asked me to put it away in her room, telling me she hasn't eaten all day, because of Yaqoob. Upon entering the room, I noticed the empty shelves and the packed bags. She was ready to leave. Ready to go back to Iraq since she thought Yaqoob was gone. Glad that we were able to alleviate the grandmother's worries and repair the misunderstandings, she agreed to eat the hot Kurdish meal, and treated us each to a cup of hot tea as we spent some time with her.

Yaqoob In Critical Condition After Surgery

Posted on Fri, 01/27/2012 - 17:18 by Candace Gregg

We drove through the thundering rain on our way to the hospital in Tel Aviv this morning. When we arrived at the hospital, we entered a room full of bright lights and the hum of monitors, and in the center was our friend Yaqoob. He was hooked up to all of the different machines and still unconscious. His doctor took us aside to explain the situation, and after we asked him to be very candid in his assessment, I recall him saying: