Ahmed's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Happy and Sad as Ahmed Returns Home

Posted on Sun, 02/20/2011 - 06:41 by Mary_Dailey

Ahmed was finally dismissed from the hospital Wednesday, the healing of his surgical wound complete, and released to return to Iraq. We had his going away party (along with mine) Wednesday night. We all had a great time. Ahmed was really looking forward to going home and was all excited and happy. He was glowing and was the life of the party. We all got to share how much we loved and cared for Ahmed and his mother and they got to share their appreciation and love for us. It was very touching when the parents and staff also shared with me their love and appreciation. The families and the staff are very precious to me.

We left Jerusalem for Jordan on Thursday, and Ahmed and his mother left for Iraq on Saturday. They flew back to Iraq on the same plane Dina and her mother arrived on. I have enjoyed getting to spend this extra time with Ahmed and his mother. We spent a lot of quality time together.

Ahmed played outside Friday, while we were staying at Dirk's and Manuela's home. We had a small gathering on Friday night and Ahmed loved spending time with Essa and playing the drum while we sang.

Ahmed's mother was so sweet; they were happy to be going home but sad also. I know they were touched by all the love and concern while they were here.

Caring for Ahmed's Wound

Posted on Sun, 01/30/2011 - 06:41 by Donna_West

For the past three days Ahmed has been on a "weekend pass" from the hospital. Maria and Christina (nurses from America) came to the Shevet house yesterday to offer moral support while I cared for Ahmed's wound. They were impressed by the cooperative and trusting way Ahmed allowed me to clean his open wound. (He actually had more confidence in me than I had in myself.)

So today when we returned to Sheba, it was an excellent opportunity for them to accompany us and see another one of Israel's outstanding medical facilities.
However, when we arrived back at the hospital, Ahmed became nervous and started to cry. It seemed he was concerned he was going to be reconnected to the vacuum pump (which would also mean he would have to stay). When I understood why he was upset I explained (with a thumbs up and the word for "good" in Kurdish and a thumbs down, a frown, and the Kurdish words for "no good") that the doctor had to look to see if I was good or not good at cleaning his wound. After a consultation with the surgeon (and several other medical professionals who were familiar with Ahmed's case) we were all pleased to see the thumbs up gesture.

Praise God, the healing continues! And thankfully, Ahmed and his mother get three more days at the Shevet house and then we will check in again.

A note from the writer: This is 100% different from what I thought I would be doing when I came to volunteer here. This is a good example of "love casting out fear." I was afraid to be responsible for the care of this wound, but my compassion for this family made me reevaluate my request for God to "send me" where there was a need. And another aspect of love has caused Ahmed to put aside his own fears and trust me to do something I didn't trust myself to do. Thank you, Lord, that perfect love is found in you and it is more powerful than fear! Please pray that love and trust will spread throughout the Shevet household to all the mothers and children here.

A Burst of Joy as Ahmed Returns to Jerusalem

Posted on Thu, 01/27/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West
I arrived at Sheba Hospital, computer and funny movie in hand, planning to provide a little laughter for Ahmed and his mother. But the best burst of joy came when they heard they were getting a three day pass from the hospital!

Now that Ahmed is no longer on the vacuum pump he can move about unrestrained and he is enjoying it. There were a few conditions to the three day pass. 1.) He must return on Sunday to have his wound checked and get another dose of antibiotics. 2.) Someone has to be responsible for cleaning and changing the wound for the next three days until he returns.

It is a joy to have Ahmed and his mother back in the household. As I went to say goodnight and give medication I could see that joy had spread like wildfire among the other mothers and children. Father, let the healing continue!


Still Smiling, and Still on the Vacuum Pump

Posted on Tue, 01/25/2011 - 06:41 by Donna_West
While at Sheba Hospital today with Awat and Lawand, we all stopped in to see Ahmed and his mother. Ahmed's mother had been such an encouragement for both these mothers when their son was operated on and she certainly was in need of some encouragement herself. The encouragement she needed could only come from the medical staff with some interpretation from our friend and interpreter, Ilan. Ahmed was cheerful as ever, but still on his vacuum pump--which limits how far he can go unless his mother unplugs it and carries it beside him (briefly). 

Please continue to pray for Ahmed's incision to heal from the infection and pray for Ahmed's mother, also, for rest, freedom from pain (from sleeping in a hospital chair all this time) and peace of mind.

Wonderfully Enduring Their Time in the Hospital

Posted on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 06:41 by Brian Mace
On a beautifully warm Friday with the air conditioning on in the vehicle which Gadi drove, Mary and I had the great joy to visit Ahmed and his mum at Sheba Hospital.
Ahmed looked so well, and was playing with toys and colouring.

His mum was so delighted to see us that as she hugged Mary all the emotions which had been pent up, were released.

I spoke to a nurse, who said that today they had replaced his drainage tube, and there was no discharge in the new tube. If this continues, then he may be able to have the tube and pump removed in three days. However, they will still need to keep him under observation as they see how he manages without the drain. They are not yet able to say when he might be released to return to Shevet, but as Ahmed was looking so bright, there is hope. I was able to speak to a Kurdish interpreter by phone, who explained what the nurse had said to Ahmed's mother.We had the great joy of being able to pray with them both before leaving. But on our way, we took them to the hospital childrens' cinema, so they would have somewhere else to go to during their long stay in hospital.

Please keep praying for Ahmed and his mum, as they so wonderfully endure such a long time in hospital.

Ahmed Looking Great, Walking

Posted on Sun, 01/16/2011 - 06:41 by Mary_Dailey

Ahmed was looking great today, even up walking around with only an I.V. pole and he was so glad to see us. It was good that all the mothers and boys who are hospitalized at Sheba got to be together. They wanted their pictures taken and were pleased to see it.

Ahmed really looks better than the last time I saw him and it's a good sign seeing him walking around; before he was in a wheel chair. I am claiming Isaiah 8:18 for all our children, "Behold we and the children whom the Lord has given us are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts."

Ready for Fun

Posted on Tue, 01/11/2011 - 06:41 by Donna_West
Ahmed was willing today to let me look at his 'vacuum drain.' We don't know how much longer he will remain hospitalized but his mind wants to be entertained whether his body is ready for fun or not. Every time I took a picture of him, he wanted to borrow the camera and take one of someone else.

Thank you for continuing to uphold this little boy up in prayer.

Happy Again, Just a Little Bored

Posted on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 06:41 by Tim_Price
Around lunch time today Achmed was sitting up looking bored but delighted to see a familiar face. I brought some things for him to do. He was instantly thrilled and proceeded with great concentration with his colouring in, only to look up for the camera. I am inspired to see how inquisitive and happy this young boy is when not in pain (which I understand he no longer is). He has a 'vacuum' sealed dressing and I was told they will take cultures for another few days to ensure it is negative for infections. Please pray that all infection is removed from his body so that the healing process can resume in fullness.

Ahmed To Surgery Again

Posted on Sun, 01/09/2011 - 06:41 by Donna_West
Thank you so much for your prayers. The problem is being revealed! It is somewhat disheartening to hear Ahmed needs to be taken into surgery again but I am very thankful he has been on antibiotics and under the watchful care of the medical staff at Sheba Hospital these last several days. When our coworker Gadi and I arrived today, I expected to hear about the appointment in the orthopedic department about Ahmed's "un-symmetrical" body frame. Instead, I was told he would soon be taken back into surgery because of infection draining from the bottom of his incision. The incision needs to be drained and cleaned. The heart function itself is progressing as expected but the healing process of the incision is the most urgent concern at this time. 
Ahmed's mother has been a tower of strength and encouragement to other mothers. It was crushing to see her break down and just begin to weep. As I tried to comfort her, I knew it was very important she understood this would be only a small place opened a little, not the entire rib cage. Somehow a mother just seems to know when her child is in danger. This was the closest thing to reassurance I could offer beyond a shoulder to cry on. When Gadi and I left, Ahmed had several more hours to fast and wait. We had already spent some time pretending Ahmed was the doctor and playing with a little car and an inflated rubber glove. We hoped a new truck for Ahmed and some warm slippers for his mother would offer some additional comfort and distraction during their wait. Please continue in prayer for the needs of this family.

Ahmed In Pain, Returns to Hospital

Posted on Thu, 01/06/2011 - 06:41 by Donna_West
Wednesday morning's news flash was that smiling lively Ahmed was fevered, couldn't eat, and sick in bed. This is a situation that warrants concern in a child with recent heart surgery, as problems can develop suddenly and prove to be severe. As we were on our way to Sheba Medical Center with Ahmed, he got sick in the van. After a quick pull over along the side of the road, we continued on our journey to the hospital. By the time we arrived and got checked in, Ahmed's fever had returned to normal and he was hungry. D. Katz checked his heart with and echo and ECG and Ahmed seemed playful and as though the problem had passed. While waiting to determine whether or not Lawand would stay another night in the hospital or return to Jerusalem, Ahmed became sick again. As his pain level increased, we asked for him to be seen in the ER. Many tests were performed and it was decided he should also be admitted.

This morning when I found Ahmed on the second floor, I was surprised to see him in isolation with an IV in his arm and still in a lot of pain. The doctor said the lymph nodes around his stomach are inflamed but they don't know the cause of the inflammation. X-rays have been done to determine if there is a problem with Ahmed's bones. We will meet again in the morning.

Please pray for this little one, that the problem will be revealed and the best way to treat it will be found.