Younis's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Praying for Younis on Surgery's Eve

Posted on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 07:53 by Pastor_Philip_Saad

Um ("mother of") Younis came forward at our church meeting to ask for prayer on the eve of Younis' surgery scheduled for Wednesday. It was a great time of worship. The title of the message was Jesus the hope of the world!

Younes was admitted today for his surgery tomorrow. Doctors have decided to perform the Glenn surgery, which is the definitive repair of his heart defect, rather than treating in stages through multiple surgeries.

Please pray for mercy and grace over this precious child. Pray for Um Younes who is very pregnant, she is in the 1st week of her ninth month.

Today's Catheterization Was Successful

Posted on Thu, 07/12/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Just after 10am this morning, Younis was wheeled out of the operation room and Dr Khoury and Dr Lorber reported that his catheterization was successful. Younis will be scheduled for an operation next Wednesday, and this is part of the phase by phase treatment which the Rambam medical team considers best for him.

Nevertheless, the doctors reminded us that we should not be under the illusion that everything is now okay, because Younis' medical problem is very complex. Much depends on how Younis progresses with each treatment, and as he grows, he will need further operations in the future.

Younis was wide awake when he was brought back to his bed, where he was soon visited by Omar and Omar's mother. It was very comforting for him to see familiar faces around.

Younis fretted as he had an oxygen mask over his face, and the machine indicated that his oxygen level was in the 70's. But after a while, his mother obliged him by removing the mask, even though the readings dropped to the 50's and low 60's. An above-90% oxygen saturation is considered good, but for patients with heart problems, the 60-70% average is acceptable.

Although the nurses advised against drinking anything but water, Younis insisted on having his milk. Again his doting mother obliged, and for the first time since I met this little boy a week ago, he actually finished up his feed! Well, if Younis' appetite improves, that is surely a very good sign!

Catheterization Tomorrow

Posted on Wed, 07/11/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian
About 9.00 pm last night, after I sent off my reports for the blogs, I returned to the ward to check on Younis again. It was his first night at the hospital and he was crying fretfully. But when his mum noticed that I had walked into their darkened room, she pointed in my direction, calling out my name and Younis hek-hek-hek cries turned into herr-herr-herr laughter. Indeed, it was very gratifying to know that my familiar face can console this 2.5 year-old.

Today, Younis had bread dipped in lentil soup for lunch, besides having his cha (tea). Neither he nor his mum wanted to eat the humus, nor the couscous served with boiled carrots and cucumbers. So I scoured the food cart and found some more bread and a whole slice of cheese for them.

Do pray for Younis' mother to be willing to try eating different food, as Younis seems to be quicker to say nah-nah (no, no!) to food which he sees his mum turn a nose against without even first tasting them. Both the child and his pregnant mother need to eat well.

Younis will have his catheterization done tomorrow morning (Thursday, 12 July).

Younis Admitted

Posted on Tue, 07/10/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Due to an unforeseen mix-up at the hospital, Younis and his mother had to wait most patiently for over three hours at the Rambam Hospital before they could proceed with the registration and check-in. (There were two donors to two different children: our Younis, and another child named Yunis!) Nevertheless, Younis had a great time playing with the toys in the waiting area, and even had a short nap.

As of today, Younis weighs 11.765kg and is 85cm tall. He was eventually checked into the same ward as Baby Sam and Omar, the other two Iraqi boys who already have had their operations. Younis seemed comforted to see his Iraqi friends at the hospital, and kept pointing to Omar, indicating to me that he knows the elder boy. Then there was the changing of shift of the hospital staff. By the time Younis was finally assigned his bed, it was close to 5pm. When I waved goodbye to Younis, he cried and didn't want me to go. But I had to get this report sent out, so I promised I'll see him again tomorrow morning.

Last night, while I was talking with the Iraqi mums in the apartment (in simple two- to three-word phrases illustrated with signs and gestures), Younis' mother suddenly drew our attention to Younis soliloquy chatter. Her son was actually calling out, LC, LC! All of us were amazed and I was especially delighted. I seized the opportunity to ask for a kiss from this previously shy and sullen little fellow, and he immediately obliged.

As I was recording Younis new vocabulary, Zhino wanted to join in the fun. When I reviewed the recording with the Iraqis, everyone squealed with laughter and both kids started to bob up and down on the mattress. So more recording was done to archive this joyous mood--a very good prep for Younis admission at Rambam the next day.

I'm thrilled that Younis has warmed up to me so well and so quickly over the past three days. Now I'm one more friendly, familiar face he'll see at Rambam, which is a totally strange environment for this boy. Younis' mum is also much more relaxed and happier now that it is easier to please and entertain her little boy. Thanks to all of you who prayed for Younis and his mum and I'll say I'm a most grateful beneficiary of the changes which the LORD has worked in their heart and spirit.

Heart Located on Right Side of Chest

Posted on Sun, 07/08/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Now fully recovered from chicken-pox, Younis had his first check-up at Rambam this morning. He wailed when he had to be undressed to be weighed and wired up in an unfamiliar environment but the very experienced Staff Nurse Haya soon calmed him down. After his little ordeal, he was rewarded with a sticker which says, I'm a brave boy.

Dr. Khoury briefed us on Younis serious heart problem: his heart is located on the right instead of the left of his chest, and he has one ventricle missing on the left. Eventually, he will need a heart transplant but for now, the Rambam medical team will do their best to alleviate his condition. The first stage of treatment will begin this Thursday, when Younis will have his catheterization done.

Younis pregnant mum took in all this information rather well. She is apparently quite relieved to have Younis begin his treatment as soon as possible, especially so because the baby inside her is getting more and more active, and we are concerned that under the stress shes been going through, she might deliver prematurely!

By the way, Im pleased to report that Younis has started eating a more balanced diet, instead of the tiny sips of his milk and some bread dipped in cha (tea). Yesterday was a day of breakthroughs Younis allowed me to carry him for the very first time, when we went for a walk by the beach (see Zhinos blog)! So far, this little guy can only be touched by his mum and Um Zhino, the other Iraqi mum staying in the same apartment.

Younis also ventured to walk a bit on his own, instead of being carried all the time. He gave a most adorable smile when I praised him, Younis, barsh (good)! As he warmed up to me, I managed to get him to try eating new food, such as watermelon, multigrain bread and some veggies but only if fed these by his mummy.

Please pray that Younis' mother will persevere to coax her boy to try a variety of food, as he needs to build up strength for the days ahead. Younis will be admitted into Rambam on Tuesday, and his catheterization will be carried out on Thursday, 12 July.

Settling In

Posted on Thu, 07/05/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian
At 5.00am this morning, Bushra (Younis' mother) knocked on my door asking for a light for the stove to heat up some water for Younis feed. The lighter didnt work and there was not a match in our apartment. In desperation, Narmeen (Zhino's mother) and I rang the bell next door. We knocked and called out our neighbours name for a good 10 minutes before her sleepy husband came to our aid with his lighter. Younes had his warm milk and everyone went back to sleep, till almost 11am!

While the Iraqis were still asleep, I rummaged thru my jute-bag for toys for Younis and Zhino. I was well rewarded when Younis face brightened up into a wide grin his first happy face since I met this solemn-looking young lad two days ago.

While I was out on errands, Ziham our kind neighbour brought lunch over for the Iraqi families. The home-cooked meal (no more sandwiches today, please) did wonders for Bushra and in the afternoon, she received a very pleasant surprise -- a long-distance call from her brother in Canada.

To add to her joy, the lady next door gave her a thermos flask, so that she need not boil water at 5.00am from now on!

Such are the highlights of the day for a pregnant Iraqi mother and her toddler waiting in an apartment in Haifa for his turn for a much-needed heart operation.

PS: Amendment: Younis is 2.5 years old and not 1.5 years old as I had mistakenly reported in yesterday's blog. Yup, I did think he was a rather big baby... until I heard him speak quite a bit to his mum when I was out of his sight.

Younis Finally Reaches Israel

Posted on Wed, 07/04/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Pictured above: Shevet driver Simantov, Zhino and her mother, Shevet worker Lee Liang Chian, Younis and his mother, and Shevet staffer Jenae after their arrival in Israel

Today has been a long and tiring day for both Younis and his mum, as they were brought over from Jordan to Haifa, Israel. They were on the road after breakfast, with about an hour and a half of rest in Amman, and it was back on the road again. Fortunately, the border crossing was relatively smooth although it still took over two hours for all of us (including Zhino and her mum) to clear the security checks.

I found out last night that Younis mum is six months pregnant with her second child! So it has not been easy for her to handle her fussy one-year-old who isnt too keen to interact with anyone other than his mummy. Hopefully, Younis will open up more once I (LC) get my hands on my bag of toys which Ive left behind in the apartment in Haifa.

Simantove drove the Shevet van to the terminal to meet us. While loading up the luggages, I took a couple of photos but within minutes, the security people came and made me delete them from the camera. Sorry, no photos of the crossing of Younis and Zhino into Israel!

From Chicken Pox to Heart Surgery

Posted on Tue, 07/03/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian

One-and-a-half year old Younis has recovered from chicken-pox, although his little face still bears marks from his battle with the virus which delayed his travel to Israel for his operation. And tomorrow, he will cross over to Israel where he will wait his turn to be admitted into Haifas Rambam Hospital.

In the past several weeks, Younis and his mum, who is pregnant with her second child, have been staying at the apartment where Shevet's Jordan coordinator Dirk and his family live.

Do keep Younis and his mum in prayer. This is the boy's second chance to be operated on, as his case was considered too complicated and was previously rejected by another hospital.

Younis and 3 Others to Arrive in Israel Tomorrow

Posted on Tue, 06/05/2007 - 23:46 by Dirk

Younis and three other Iraqi patients will travel to Israel from Jordan on Wednesday, in preparation for heart treatment at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

Younis seems to be the most sick of them all. You can see the blue around his lips and he finds it difficult to walk,
although he is two years old. His mother is four months pregnant. The family is very thankful that they have been accepted
for surgery, since other hospitals classified him as "non operable." So please keep him in your prayers.

We'll update this page with more details after Younis and his mother arrive in Israel.