Hewr's Heart Surgery


Happy Hewr Heads Home

Posted on Wed, 08/05/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Early Tuesday afternoon we left the Shevet center in Jerusalem for the Jordan border, after a week-long wait due to a delay with Hewr's Jordanian re-entry visa. Every day Um (mother of) Hewr would ask me if we'd received word about those visas, and when at last I could say yes, she laughed with thanks and joy. The moment came at last when she and Hewr could say goodbye to the other families and make the first leg of their happy journey home.

Hewr was delightful all the way to Amman. Once at the apartment, he was clearly delighted to stretch out on a blanket where he could kick and roll around.

We've all been enjoying his discovery of how much he can do now that he has increasingly more energy, and is strong enough to explore his world as he could not do before. Because of his blindness he is most comfortable at this age with his mother, but when he is with others of us and feels safe, he begins to express himself in cute and sweet ways. Every day as I've watched him recover and grow, I've thought about what sheer joy his father will have when he sees his son again -- in just a few hours from this writing! Hewr has cut three new teeth and has a fourth one on the way. He makes lots of happy sounds, is learning to say some words, and is becoming more and more active with his legs and arms. He is not yet trying to walk, but it is our prayer that as his body strengthens he will be able to crawl and walk before long at all.

I will always remember Um Hewr for her quiet strength and thankfulness. She spoke only Kurdish when she arrived, but quickly learned a smattering of Arabic and even a little English so that she could communicate with those around her. She has a wonderful sense of humor and a zest for life which comes out when given a chance to celebrate or play at the park or have a good laugh. During the difficult times of Hewr's wait for surgery and recovery period, she did not complain, but instead persevered to get the help or infomation she needed for her son. She very much appreciated all the care given her at the hospital and was quick to say thank you; even last night as we reviewed pictures taken while they were with us, she commented with thanks on what good doctors had helped Hewr and her in Israel.

In just a little while Hewr will be reunited with his father and other relatives in Iraq, and I'm certain the celebration will be a huge and joyous one. Even as we thank God for what He's already done in their lives so far, let us continue to pray for Hewr's eyes to be healed as well. This precious little boy will undoubtedly be a blessing to many with the full life he now has ahead of him. All praise to God!

Hewr Cleared to Return Home

Posted on Mon, 07/27/2009 - 01:00 by Mary_Dailey

Hewr had his last echo today before he leaves to go back to Iraq. He did not like the echo, I guess it brought a lot of memories back to him. (I know he's just a baby, but they learn quickly and can remember more than we would think they could.)

Hewr was not happy at all. But Dr. Alona, the cardiologist, said he was excellent and that he could go home to Iraq. She looked over his chart and said to stop his medicine.

It didn't take long after the echo for him to return to his peaceful self, making all kinds of little jabbering sounds and happy again. He is such a sweet baby; we continue to pray for a miracle for his eyes, since nothing is impossible for God.

Smiles and Tears

Posted on Mon, 07/13/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel
One week after his discharge following successful heart surgery, Hewr went down from Jerusalem for a follow-up echo today at Wolfson Hospital.

He napped in the car and played while he waited his turn in the hospital, flashing his trademark joyful grin at his mother.

But when the echo actually started Hewr became very upset; perhaps he had thought all these troublesome tests were behind him.

Hewr cried most of the way through, but the doctor was able to check him thoroughly and report that Hewr is doing really well.

He will return next week for another follow-up appointment, as doctors try to ensure all is well before sending a child back to Iraq where advanced medical care is harder to reach.

After we left the echo clinic and were visiting with Hindereen and his grandmother, Um (mother of) Hewr pointed out to me a little knot on the outside of his left thigh which she wanted us to check on. We waited a few minutes until Dr. Alona was able to check it, and found that it was only the site of an injection, likely from antibiotics, which will eventually go away. This news satisfied Um Hewr, who is a very good and attentive mom to her sweet baby boy.

The only difficulty of the day was when Hewr needed to have his stitches removed from the location of the tubes needed post-surgically. Hewr cried furiously to try to deter the nurses' work, but within a few minutes they were finished, and he was safely in his mother's arms again. He remained contented for the rest of our journey until just before we arrived at the house again. Just in time he was able to get inside to his normal routine again.

Please keep praying for Hewr and his mother as they wait here while he continues to heal. She commented today that she is looking forward to getting back home to her husband in Iraq with Hewr. We too look forward to the time when Hewr can return to live a full life with his healthy heart.

Full of Energy, and Mother Beaming

Posted on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 01:00 by Alex_Pettett

We found Hewr dressed and ready for discharge when we walked into the ward at Wolfson Hospital. He rolled around on the bed with fantastic energy and seemed to know he would be leaving today. Hewr's mother beamed with expectancy as she prepared her little bag and medications.

It's always a bit curious to my western eyes how a mother and son could live in a hospital for more than a week with items that barely filled a small gym bag. We are grateful for an uncomplicated outcome to his surgery. Hewr's mother was an obvious comfort to Um Sidra who whose daughter was admitted for surgery which is scheduled for Wednesday.

Denise adds:
Praise the Lord Hewr and his mother were able to return home to Shevet today one week after his surgery. Hewrs mother takes such good care of him and is kind and encouraging to other mothers at the hospital.

Donna adds:
We had a great surprise this afternoon when we received a call from the hospital saying that little Hewr would be released back to our house in Jerusalem today! His mother came in a few hours later glowing with happiness to return with her son who is on his way to a full recovery. As they came in, the other mothers were going to the market, so we decided that after theyd had a nap, and wed all had dinner, wed have a welcome home party to honor Hewrs return.

Um (mother of) Hewr came out of their room dressed in special clothes and carrying Hewr and received a round of applause from us all. She made it known she wanted to dance in celebration of her sons return. So after we shared in ice cream and cookies,

we were invited into the sitting room where Kurdish music was playing on a CD. We enjoyed the fellowship of laughter and celebrating together until we all were too tired to go on.

We all continue to give thanks to God for His goodness to reach Hewr in time for surgery to save his young life. Thanks for joining us as we pray.

The Miracle of New Life

Posted on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

I was excited to get to see Hewr today. I'd heard the reports of how beautifully pink he is now, and how he was beginning to play again, and even though I've seen this before with other patients, the miracle that it is, and the happiness of the parents as they experience it, never ceases to give me great joy.

When we arrived at the hospital we found that Hewr was in the ward rather than the intermediate ICU because they were able to remove his chest drainage tube. He was sleeping sweetly when we first saw him, but awoke after a short while and wanted his bottle. When he finished he began to play with it, and also began to kick his feet and wave his arms with a big smile on his face.

I couldn't help but vividly remember the first time I met Hewr and his mother in Iraq in the spring. One of the organizations we work with there invited the parents to come to an informational gathering where we'd meet each other and they'd hear more about what to expect at the echocardiogram screening a few months away. When I took my seat at the large table with the families, I was seated beside Um (mother of) Hewr and her very ill son, who was lying on the table in front of her. It was obvious he was one of the most urgent cases even for a non-medical person like me, and once he was here in Israel we were hoping and praying he would not have to wait long for his surgery. Thank God for answering our prayers! The only thing we're waiting for now is Hewr's recovery, and that is well under way.

His mother was overflowing with gratitude for the help given her precious son, and asked me to thank everyone who's helped them. I told her I would tell the others so we can all thank God together for the new life given to Hewr. As we give thanks, let's continue to pray for Hewr's total healing.

No Longer Blue

Posted on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 07:46 by Hannah_Walsh
Today as I entered the ICU, I was surprised to find that Hewr and his mother were not there! Hewr has been doing so well that he had been moved to the intermediate ICU where I found him sleeping peacefully. His mother of course was close by keeping a careful eye on him. When she saw me, she was so excited to show me how much Hewr has improved since even before his surgery. She pointed at the blue flowers on hospital sheets, then at Hewrs fingers and lips which were no longer blue as they had been before surgery. His overall skin color is evidently much better than it has ever been.

Hewr also had a follow up echo done today which was very encouraging and showed that, so far, Hewr is recovering beautifully. With such good news, we were all in very good spirits during our entire visit. We even shared a good laugh as we looked at the gigantic clothes that the nurses had left out for Hewr in comparison to his small body!

Hewrs mother is full of smiles and so grateful for the new life that her son has been given. We stand amazed with her and the speed of his recovery and the grace of God in their lives. Please continue praising God for Hewrs healing and praying for a complete recovery and healing of his sight.

The Miracle of a New Heart

Posted on Mon, 06/29/2009 - 07:46 by Hannah_Walsh

I arrived at the hospital early this morning to find Hewr

Hewr Scheduled for Surgery Monday

Posted on Sun, 06/28/2009 - 01:00 by Justin_Strong

We received surprising news today when we went to pick up Hewr at the hospital to bring him home to Jerusalem. The doctors informed us that because his oxygen saturation has remained consistently very low, in the 60s, that they would try to perform his surgery tomorrow (Monday). While there is a possibility it could be delayed, Hewr will remain in the hospital and will be having his surgery as soon as possible. Hewr and his mother seemed in good spirits, Hewr slept through most of our visit and his mother was happy at the news that his surgery would be done so soon. Please keep Hewr in your prayers during this critical time.

Hewr Made It Through Tuberculosis Test

Posted on Thu, 06/18/2009 - 01:00 by Jonathan Miles

Hewr cleared another hurdle today en route to his heart surgery, as he successfully navigated the PPD test for tuberculosis. It cost a few tears, as the Iraqi children are seasoned enough to know that a needle prick may be coming when someone in white grabs their arm. But our hope is that these children, like all of us, will look back one day and see that all the suffering was worthwhile.

Hewr Remains Energetic Throughout Testing

Posted on Mon, 06/15/2009 - 01:00 by Justin_Strong

We have spent the last two days taking Hewr, and the three other Iraqis who crossed with him, through a battery of tests and examinations at Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Physical exams, X-rays, blood work, EKG, and echocardiograms are some of the tests they have undergone in order to receive this lifesaving treatment. What are normally simple exams have taken considerably longer than usual due to the severity and complicated nature of these children's problems. An echocardiogram which normally takes 15 minutes has taken an hour, and the simple procedure of drawing blood has taken numerous pokes with the needle in order to find the atrophied, hair-thin veins.

The mothers and children, though visibly tired, have proven very resilient in the stress of these last few grueling days. They are so eager and desperate to help their children that they are willing to go through a great deal.

Hewr has been surprisingly energetic. Though he is very little, and completely blind, he has made up for what he can't see by what he can say. Even after being given a good dose of sedative for his echocardiogram, Hewr continued babbling and making happy noises, to the point where the doctor asked if he had been given any sedative at all!

After reviewing the blood work, the doctor determined Hewr was very dehydrated and would need to be admitted to receive glucose IVs overnight. In the morning, Hewr will undergo more testing and should be back with us once again in Jerusalem tomorrow. There is no word yet about an exact surgery date.