Halo's Heart Surgery


Halo Heads Home with Lots of Memories

Posted on Sat, 03/21/2009 - 06:44 by Jonathan Miles
Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday morning little Halo and his father flew back home to Iraq after our long drive from Jerusalem across the Jordan River and eventually to the airport in Amman. Halo is a smiling, thoughtful and observant boy who said little on the trip, although I did hear him whistling at one point.

He took back with him many photographs of his time in Israel, taken with his own camera of which he was very proud. At his farewell party Thursday night Halo was more interested in photographing than in being photographed (follow this link to have a look).

We hope that Halo takes home with him a lifetime of memories of how God's love reached out to him through his neighbors.

The Falcon Can Fly Again

Posted on Thu, 03/19/2009 - 06:44 by Dorothy_Finlay
Halo, which means "falcon," enjoyed winning the Go Fish card game with his friend Omed while waiting for the doctors to come and give him his final echocardiogram. Halo's father has been very anxious to be free to go home as his wife is severely ill. There are many needs in his household and, as the breadwinner, he has found it hard being away.

After Halo's echo on Monday a compromise was reached that if all was well today, Halo could leave with Omed and Havan to return tomorrow. It was a long day waiting for the necessary documents but this evening they all enjoyed a second farewell dinner in the Shevet House.

Please continue to pray for Halo and his family. May the Lord heal his mother and may the peace of God be in their hearts.

Anxious To Go Home

Posted on Tue, 03/17/2009 - 06:44 by Justin_Strong

We took Halo for an echocardiogram at Wolfson Medical Center today. It is hard to believe it has been only 10 days since Halo had his open-heart surgery. Every sign on his echo indicated that the operation was a complete success. Halo and his father have been anxious to return to Iraq because Halo's mother is suffering from a life-threatening form of cancer and the distance has been especially difficult for Abu Halo. But because it's been such a short time since his surgery, the doctors felt he needed at least another echo next Monday. After some quick negotiating a compromised was reached: Halo would come back for one more echo, but it would be done this Thursday rather than next Monday so that they could leave for Iraq on Friday.

Please pray for Halo, that his last echo Thursday will show only good signs, and that he will continue on the road to recovery. Pray also for his family as they find themselves in such a heavy situation being separated during these most difficult times.

Released To Jerusalem

Posted on Tue, 03/10/2009 - 06:44 by Justin_Strong
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Halo was released today from Wolfson Medical Center to return to stay with us in Jerusalem. He was so happy to get out of the hospital that he was laughing and smiling through the removal of his IVs without a flinch. It's the Jewish holiday Purim today, and one of the practices is to give charity, hospitalized children being prime candidates; and Halo has been receiving toys and candy all week long from visitors. When we left the hospital Halo and Abu Halo had two bags of clothes, and four bags of toys and candy!

Halo and Alaa got a picture with some of the visitors dressed for the occasion and eager to show them a little love as we left.

On our way back to Jerusalem we all stopped by Tel Ha Shomer hospital to visit Rasan and Um Rasan after their surgery. After visiting them we walked to the nearby Burger King and had a delightful meal together, complete with more toys, balloons, and crowns.

We arrived safely in Jerusalem after a long but exciting day.

Beautiful Pink Lips

Posted on Sat, 03/07/2009 - 06:44 by Donna_Petrel
Saturday, March 7, 2009

I was delighted to see Halo awake in the ICU the day after his surgery and could immediately see the evidence of his successful surgery: he had beautiful pink lips! It also seemed that the clubbing of his fingers was already decreasing -- it was such joy to see how well he was doing less than 24 hours after his surgery was finished! He was sitting up in bed, wide awake, fully extubated, and looking rather bored at having to be kept in the ICU. His dad looked relieved and was very thankful for Halos good progress. I was able to share the translated handmade get well card with them which was sent from a church in the US, and present to Halo his cough pillow to ease the pain on his incision when he needed to cough. 
This morning I got a call from Abu Halo informing me that Halo had been moved already to the ward, and is now in the room with his friend Omed. This should be a comfort to both boys, and, I suspect, a source of entertainment as well.

Please join us in thanking God for what He has done to take care of Halo in the process of healing his heart. Keep praying for his father, who seems more burdened this time with his family situation at home, besides the care he lovingly gives for his dear son Halo. May the perfect love of God reach deeply and relieve him of all his cares and burdens in a new way before he and Halo return to their home in the coming weeks.

Halo Recovering In ICU

Posted on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 06:44 by Justin_Strong
Halo underwent his final heart surgery this morning after a nerve-wracking delay because of other patients taking longer than expected. After a relatively short surgery, Halo was wheeled into the ICU where his father and I were able to sit by him while the doctors and nurses made sure everything was normal. All the doctors and nurses reported that everything went well with the surgery, and Abu Halo was relatively calm once he knew everything was okay. If everything works out according to plan, Halo should have no further surgeries and will go home completely healed.

Preparing For Second Heart Surgery

Posted on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 06:44 by Justin_Strong
It was a difficult day for Halo today, now admitted to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv for his second procedure since arriving here, and his second heart surgery through Shevet Achim. It is clear to everyone when Halo is being himself and when he is distant because he is dwelling on his surgery, and this mood was continually presenting itself today. Halo and I have been playing super heroes lately, and he has been escaping his fear by pretending to be Spider-Man; he spent much of the drive to the hospital shooting imaginary webs out of the van.

The fact that Halo knows what to expect has made this surgery particularly traumatic, and I'm glad that it is here that I can serve him in ways the doctors cannot by being a friend and providing a comfortable outlet for him. While we were waiting for the nurses to be ready to check his vitals, draw blood, and put the lines in his arm, we played computer games together in the hospital play room, and for this short time he forgot where he was and laughed and smiled like he was safe at home.

The doctors were especially busy today and Halo was forced to wait outside the nurses station for perhaps 20 minutes or more, which was not good for his nerves. When he was called, he bravely stepped forward without a whimper and Abu Halo and I did our best to joke around with him, and encourage him during the process, and Halo played along laughing through much of the beginning. During the painful parts Halo and I shot imaginary Spider-Man webs at each other so he could focus on something else.

After getting through the procedure seemingly unaffected, immediately after the nurses finished and he sat up, Halo suddenly began to cry, not because of the physical pain, but because of the emotional stress of what was to come. It was very difficult to watch, more so than even the grimaces of pain. I promised Halo that after he was finished and got his hospital pajamas again that we could go back and play, and this perked him up some. We put together a Spider-Man puzzle with Donna until the play room closed and Donna and I had to leave.

Please keep this special boy in your prayers today as he is in surgery once again, and please also pray for the wisdom of the Lord for our staff to know how to best minister to him.


Excited To Play After Catheterization

Posted on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 06:44 by Justin_Strong
Thursday, February 26, 2009

We visited Halo today at Wolfson Medical Center after his successful heart catheterization yesterday. He was wide awake and excited to see me when I walked in the room. After encouraging Halo and his father and seeing that they were doing well, I went to the toy room to see if I could find something better for Halo to do than lie bored in his hospital bed. I returned with a couple puzzles and some dominos which Halo was excited to play with. Halo will return to the Shevet Achim house in Jerusalem tomorrow where he will await his major operation which is yet to come.

Ready For Tomorrow's Catheterization

Posted on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 06:44 by
We brought Halo to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv today to be prepped for the catheterization he is expected to undergo tomorrow.

this is Halo's second hospitalization through Shevet, he knew some of what to expect and this made him understandably nervous. He sat together with Alaa on the hospital bed while the nurses checked their basic vital signs. Halo is very wel
l behaved, and with his father by his side, didn't make a peep even when the nurses had to take his blood and put the lines in his arm for the cath tomorrow.

Afterward it was very apparent that he had been shaken by the whole procedure and I did my best to comfort him with the little Kurdish I know and by bringing an ice cream from McDonald's.

Although he was calm, it was apparent he was still upset because he wasn't his usual happy self; but at the mention of playing his favorite game, Uno, he perked up. After half a dozen games he was smiling and laughing again. When I left, I made sure his father was by his side so that he would continue to be encouraged.


Greeted Warmly By Hospital Staff

Posted on Mon, 02/16/2009 - 06:44 by Justina
Monday, February 16, 2009

We were off early this morning to Wolfson for pre-admission testing and a final echocardiogram for the three new arrivals. The hospital staff was ready and waiting when we arrived and got down to business immediately. This was Halo's second visit to Wolfson and he was recognized and warmly greeted by many of the hospital staff.

All three children underwent the usual battery of tests: blood pressure, urine sample, blood samples, x-rays and echocardiogram. Halo's echo showed his first surgery was successful. His second surgery will complete the repair of his heart.