Dilshad's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

A Snowy Farewell to Dilshad

Posted on Sat, 02/02/2008 - 06:44 by Jean_Calvani
Dilshad got to practice his snowball throwing after the unusual heavy snowfall in the region blessed us with an extra two days with him and his mother in Amman. 

Initially they had hoped to fly back to Iraq on Thursday, but the airport was shut down that day by quantities of snow which are seen here only every 5-7 years. 

The next scheduled flight was Saturday, and together with his "heart buddies" Aras and Hardi we sent Dilshad and Mom off with thanksgiving for the way God's grace has been--and will be--poured out in this young man's life.
This concludes the story of Dilshad's journey to Israel for heart surgery and a new life.

Dilshad Leaves Israel in the Snow

Posted on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 00:00 by Hank_Dannecker


Upon waking Wednesday morning, I admired the beautiful snowy landscape from my window.

But I had to hurry "and make tracks" as at 11am, three boys were anxiously waiting to go home to Iraq after being in Israel for heart surgeries.

As I pulled up to the Shevet house, Dilshad, Hardi, and Aras dashed through the newly fallen snow with unrestraint. Once we were all piled in the van, our destination was the Al Aqsa mosque where each family spent some time in prayer.
they were exiting the Mosque area, they were so excited and chattering amongst themselves, they walked right by without even noticing me! Once again, we all got in the van to head back to Shevet for final packing to head for the Jordanian border. But simple packing wasn't on their minds; they had to sit and have some lunch (aromas of chicken and rice filled the air), and say a final goodbye to the other families staying there.

Finally by about 3:30 pm we were headed to Beit She'an, Aras and Hardi taking up the front seats with me. They quickly found the snack bag I packed for them, and soon chips, nuts, and drinks were being passed around. All except the cashews, that is; Hardi decided that he should be the keeper of the bag. As we were driving out of snowy Jerusalem and into the plains headed toward the Jordan valley, more of God's handiwork appeared in the sky--two spectacular rainbows.

Upon reaching the border, we were informed that on the Jordanian side, the road was closed due to snow in Amman. Now what? Phone calls were made to Dirk, our Shevet teammate in Jordan, and he had to make the long trip around which would take an additional two hours. So while our little group waited, we decided to eat again and went to buy some falafel sandwiches.

The last leg of this journey quickly came to an end, as I got them processed through security and soon loaded their luggage onto the bus that would take them into Jordan. This goodbye was bittersweet. God has given me a love for these boys and their families. Through all the travels back and forth from Wolfson to Jerusalem, and visiting them while in the hospital, I've become quite attached to them. But it was a precious time for me to be able to send them on their way home and pray that God's spirit goes with them. As the bus pulled away I felt a little piece of my heart go cold, and not because of the snow or blustery, damp, cold wind. It is that they have become in some odd and strange sort of way... family. And I'm not sure whether I will ever see them again. I can hear the Father say, "Heaven will not be complete until all nations have entered in." Yes, these are the sons of Abraham!


The Final "OK"

Posted on Thu, 01/24/2008 - 00:00 by Autumn_Ridley

Today was Dilshad's last echocardiogram. He and his mother were very excited, except for the fact that Dilshad was very sick during the night. As we arrived at the hospital, he seemed to not be his cheery self. After he received the okay to travel back to Iraq, he was admitted overnight for dehydration and problems with
his leg. After a night in the hospital and receiving the final okay, he wanted to have his picture taken beside the horse outside the children's ward at the hospital. He was so excited to know that soon he will be returning home. Please continue to keep him and his mother in your prayers. They are both very anxious to get back home and see their family.


Shopping in Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 01/20/2008 - 00:00 by Elly_Miles

Dilshad is at the Jerusalem Shevet house, fully recovering from his surgery.

Before his surgery, he stayed at the Shevet house for a month with his mother! His mom really got familiar with life here, and upon returning got right back into living here. She didn't act like a guest at all! She took the other two mothers with her, and went down to the Old City to do grocery shopping (definitely not a common occurrence for an Iraqi mother).

Dilshad, his mother, and the two other Iraqi families went to church with us on Saturday. For much of the way there Dilshad and Rebar ran! We aren't really able to tell if this was physically easier for Dilshad or not, but his face and lips have lost their blueish tinge.

His next and hopefully last echocardiogram will be on Thursday.

Already Out of Main ICU

Posted on Sun, 01/06/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel


Hardi's admittance to the hospital last night was also an opportunity to visit our other patients there. My first stop was the ICU, where I expected to find Mustafa, Aras and Dilshad. I was surprised to learn that only two days after his second surgery, Dilshad was already in the intermediate ICU! I found him sleeping, with his mother by his side. Dilshad's mother said that he was not eating and had a stomach ache. At first I thought this was simply from post-surgical bloating. After a short while, Dilshad began to wake up, and when he did, he began to cry with stomach pain. One of the nurses asked the doctor on duty in the ward last night, Dr. Ner, to check Dilshad. He said he apparently had a stomach virus, and would be given some medication to help him.

Dilshad fell back to sleep for a little while, and when he awoke again, seemed to feel a little better. He was able to eat a little Iraqi style rice shared with him by Mustafa's mother, and he smiled a little and watched the visit of Aras (in the next bed) and Hardi. We left him falling back to sleep, seemingly more settled.

Today when I saw Dilshad, he looked much better. He was watching TV, and had a very brief visit from his little friend Juliana who'd come to be checked for sniffles and sore throat.

Please pray for Dilshad's body to be completely healed. Pray for his mom who is very tired, yet finds it hard to go to rest and take care of herself. We try to explain and remind the mothers that if they are not strong, they cannot keep up the long hours of care needed for their children. It is simply very hard for the mothers to leave when the child cries for them to stay, even though there are nurses watching constantly. Even the nurse commented to me last night that this is the time when Dilshad's mother needed to be the one in charge rather than Dilshad, so she could get the food and rest she needs. I shared with her that she must take time to eat and rest, in order to be her son's best helper, but I don't think she was ready to take that step away from him yet. Please join me in praying for them.


Today's Valve Repair Appears Successful

Posted on Thu, 01/03/2008 - 06:44 by Donna_Petrel

The repair of Dilshad's valve preceded Aras' surgery today, so as I walked with Aras and his mother to the operating room I told Dilshad's mother I'd let her know if her son was ready to come upstairs. While Aras' mother and I were putting on the hospital garments required for that area, I asked one of the nurses when Dilshad was coming upstairs. To my surprise, she said he had already been taken to the ICU!! After Aras went into surgery and I went upstairs, I went straight to Dilshad's mother to see if she knew it, and by then she had been able to see him, and was relieved that it was over. When I was able a little later to join her by Dilshad's bedside, she was crying. She was worried about the high heart rate the monitor showed, and the nurses were working around him in response to messages on the equipment attached to his body. I comforted this very tired mother for a short while, and prayed for both of them as I sat. Then I had to return to the group of new patients from Iraq.

After the tests for the new patients were finished and they headed back to Jerusalem with another volunteer, I went again to see Dilshad. At this time his heart rate was lower, and his mother was calmer. Dr. Cohen told us that everything went well with the valve repair today, and he was expected to recover. Thank God for this good report!!

Thank you for praying for Dilshad and his mother during this intense day for them. Please keep praying!! The first 24 hours after surgery are crucial. It is my hope that we will see Dilshad recovering quickly now that he's had this good repair done. I am certain that his mother will become a happier woman as Dilshad becomes strong again.

Note: The lights over Dilshad were switched off when Donna last saw him in the ICU this evening, so she chose not to disturb him or the medical staff by taking pictures.

In Urgent Need of Our Prayers

Posted on Wed, 01/02/2008 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

It was a shock to learn today from Dr. Tamir that Dilshad's surgery was not a success, and he will undergo another surgery tomorrow morning. This is to repair a tiny tear in the atrial valve which happened during surgery. It was stitched at the time it happened, but it did not stay sutured. Although Dilshad looks very good, he is in urgent need of our prayers. Dr. Tamir told me to tell our people to pray for Dilshad, and I assured him I would. Please consider this a very urgent matter before the Lord for little Dilshad. Besides this, please pray for his mother. She naturally did not handle the news well and Dr. Tamir was concerned for her too.

I was able to spend a little time with Dilshad and his mother this afternoon. I went to the ICU, but they were in the intermediate ICU instead, watching TV together. Dilshad was awake today, and although he was quiet, he enjoyed playing with some small cars on his bed. We laughed together as the blankets and even a candy bar became the road for his jeep to traverse for his entertainment. Please pray for this worried mother, as she is very emotional and concerned since everything looked good up till now. I asked her permission to pray for her and Dilshad before I left them. We will update you tomorrow.

Doing Very Well After Surgery

Posted on Mon, 12/31/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

It was a very quick but very good visit to the hospital today! On our way to the border to pick up our four new patients, I was able to check on Dilshad who is recovering from yesterday's surgery. Dilshad looked wonderful! His color was very good, he was extubated, and he was sleeping peacefully. His mother was thankful to God and for all the prayers for her son. I look forward to seeing him again tomorrow when I go to the hospital with our new families. Please keep praying for Dilshad and his mom as he continues to recover.

Doing Very Well After Surgery

Posted on Sun, 12/30/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

When I called the hospital this morning to see if Dilshad had gone to surgery, I was told his would be the second surgery of the day, and they expected to take him about noon. I called again after eleven to see if they knew if he would be able to have the surgery, and they said call again around twelve. I waited until a little after twelve to call a third time hoping that the first surgery was successfully finished so that Dilshad could indeed have his surgery today. I got the good news that he had already gone to surgery, so I hurried out to get to the hospital.

I found Dilshad's mom walking down the hall from the children's ward, on her way back to the waiting room beside the operating room. She gave me a tearful hug and talked about how long they'd had to wait with no food before the surgery. She was relieved to see Dilshad's number on a screen by the waiting room, indicating his surgery was under way. We waited a while longer, and got a report from one of the surgical team saying that things were going well, and to expect him out of surgery around five. We walked back upstairs and sat together in the "fish room" waiting area between the children's ward and the ICU. It was obvious that Dilshad's mother was exhausted from the long day's wait, but the visits by other mothers passing through the room each brought a little encouragement as the next hour passed. We went back downstairs around five and just as we got to the window of the waiting room to look at the screen for Dilshad's number, it went off the screen, and Dr. Sasson walked by us. I called his name and asked about Dilshad, and he said the surgery was finished and he was doing very well. Dilshad's mother was relieved, but when I explained that this was the doctor who'd done the actual surgery, she was very relieved because she realized she'd just spoken to the man who'd performed the surgery.

Still there was the waiting for her son to actually come from the surgery to the ICU, and we went to the corner hallway which has a great vantage point from which the patien
ts can be seen as they're wheeled to the ICU. After over a half hour more, we saw Dilshad being wheeled towards us. His mother had the usual reaction of tears of joy and relief upon seeing her son again. We followed the gurney to the ICU doors where we were told we must wait while the medical team attached the appropriate wires, monitors, tubes and machines. At that time we chose to go down the hall to the ward so we could see Mustafa and his mother, since I'd just received a call with the good news that they were being admitted for his surgery tomorrow. When we'd been there about half an hour we went back to ICU, but they asked us to wait five more minutes. These little waits are long for the parents! When we were allowed to go in, we were told by Dr. Houri that everything was very good. The surgery went very well, and Dilshad would sleep now and if everything went well, would be extubated tomorrow, and begin to wake up.

Tonight please pray that Dilshad's mother will get a good night's rest so she can be ready to be with Dilshad when he does wake up. Ask the Lord for Dilshad's body to be healed supernaturally quickly so they can get back to their family in Iraq. And pray for the family there as they wait for Dilshad and his mother's return. All of them are looking forward to being together again as soon as possible.

Surgery Today

Posted on Sun, 12/30/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel


Wednesday evening brought the news which Dilshad's mother had been waiting for for a very long time - Dilshad's surgery was scheduled for Sunday morning, and he was to report to the hospital for admission on Friday. Dilshad himself was not so happy to hear the news. He did not want to leave the Shevet house and his friends: the Berg children and Aras. Try as he might to convince his mother to stay, he learned that staying was not an option, so after a hug-filled goodbye among the children before they left for school, we set off for the hospital Friday.

When we arrived to the nurse's station, we were met by a new doctor, a visiting pediatrician, who told us we were mistaken, and that another child was scheduled for surgery Sunday morning. We know that there are often emergencies which arise and require planned surgery slots, as some of ''our'' children have been the ones needing those slots from time to time. In this case, Dr. Tamir was in meetings and could not be reached, so after discussion among the other staff, the decision was made to admit Dilshad at that time, and if needed, send him to the Save A Child's Heart house to wait for a new surgery slot. Dilshad's mother was relieved, and Dilshad was oblivious to why the inevitable was delayed a few minutes.

The nurses immediately began prepping Dilshad for pre-surgery testing, and his disposition began to take on a serious tone.

I had brought along a "Hot Wheels" toy car just for this occasion, since those are among his favorite toys, but even this took some time to draw his attention away from what was about to happen. As we left them in the ward to go to the Save A Child's Heart house for a visit, Dilshad was changing into his hospital pajamas, and beginning to become more interested in his new wheels.

Early this morning I called the hospital to check on the status of Dilshad's scheduled surgery, and was told he will be the second surgery of the day barring complications in the first one, and currently he's expected to go at about noon. Please pray for Dilshad to have peace during this waiting time. It is very hard for the children to fast before surgery, and waiting till noon is a challenge to explain to a hungry child. Pray for his mother to have patience and comfort as she waits and then, God willing, is able to see Dilshad off for his long-awaited heart surgery. We will send an update later today about his progress.