Saad's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Saad Blows Kisses to Israel

Posted on Fri, 10/29/2010 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

This morning three of our families left with Jonathan for Amman, Jordan from where they will fly home to northern Iraq. They were anxious to return, but because we have grown so close during our time together, like family, there were many goodbyes and tears in the Shevet courtyard this morning. The weather seemed to agree with the mood of the moment, letting a bittersweet drizzle: sad for the separation, glad for the healing it represents.
Before Saad had his surgery he could not walk and rarely expressed himself. But now he is all smiles and has learned to blow kisses and wave good-bye. He's walking and running all over the place and has also learned how to make himself heard. I believe his family is going to be quite amazed at the change in him. Please pray that the Lord will continue to make himself known to his family. Like the Parable of the Sower in the Bible, the seed has been planted and from here God will take care of the rest.







Calm on the Table

Posted on Thu, 10/28/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
Two days ago Saad's mother came to us saying that Saad had been experiencing a rapid heartbeat during the night for a second night in a row. We called the doctors to let them know, and were able to bring Saad back to Schneider yesterday for another echo to see whether there was anything that might cause him to remain in Israel for further treatment. While we waited our turn, Saad's mother told me that he always cried during echos, and it was clear she was expecting this again; indeed when he saw a couple of the doctors which had treated him, he began to whimper and press in to his mother. However, with bottle of milk in hand, once Saad laid back on the examining table, he was very content during the whole process. The mobiles from the ceiling and toys nearby kept him occupied, and with his mother calmly standing beside him, he held onto the doctor's thumb peacefully during most of the echo. The doctor said that his heart looks good as the tiny residual hole from the VSD repair continues to close, and that Saad should continue to take his medication for three more months.

With this great news we headed back to Jerusalem for the farewell celebration after dinner, at which Saad was presented with many gifts including a Kurdish children's Bible. Saad's mother told me several times how thankful she is, and that her husband told her many times in their phone conversations to express his gratitude to all of us and the doctors. Her satisfaction and joy were evident last night during our gathering as she again expressed her thanks. We thank God for the wonderful work he has done in the lives of Saad and his mother, and believe that His touch will remain upon them both to complete what He has begun in them during their stay.

Crying for Applause: Saad's Checkup in Tel Aviv

Posted on Mon, 10/18/2010 - 06:51 by Donna_West
A sleepy Saad and mother, along with Mary, David and I were just barely ahead of the big daily traffic jam heading toward Schneider Hospital in Tel Aviv at 6:15 AM this morning. Saad is a very quiet and easy going 1-year old but, when he is put up on one of the exam tables and his shirt is taken off, he seems to intuitively sense he is not going to like this. It doesn't even have to be a procedure that includes pain he has already decided he wants out of there.
As much as he wants to avoid any procedure on that table, though, he thrives on praise! His eyes light up and he gets this cherub like, shy smile that is precious. So, my theory is this: couldn't we all use a round of applause from time to time? After every procedure (echo, ECG, listening to his heart with a stethoscope, or removing adhesive or a stitch) I gave a round of applause and a hand in the air for a high five. I gained so much favor with Saad today that he kept giving me part of his snacks in the car. Saad's mother however, had a small disappointment. At first the wonderful news of his recovery gave her visions of immediate return to Iraq and her other three children. But it has only been two weeks since Saad's surgery, and the doctors want Saad to remain in Israel so that he can get the care he needs if, when he goes off his medication, fluid begins to build up around his heart.

So for now, Saad and his mother will remain with us in Jerusalem for at least another ten days. If there are no problems during that time, they will return to their family after the 28th of October. Please pray that all goes as the Great Healer has intended and that during the next ten days we will continue to enjoy watching Saad grow and "bloom". We give God ALL the Praise for what he has done for Saad and what he will continue to do (as well as a big round of applause)!

Saad Released After Heart Surgery

Posted on Sun, 10/10/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West
The Schneider Children's Medical Center called while we were at another hospital today, and surprised us with news that Saad was ready to be released to return to the Shevet House in Jerusalem. As soon as we could get there, we entered the fifth floor and saw Saad walking around by himself! It is so amazing that children who haven't started to walk, start walking as soon as they have their heart surgeries. We see this frequently.

After several hours of waiting, all the paperwork came to completion followed by a page of instructions and cautions for Saad's grateful mother.
We were informed there is a very small hole remaining in Saad's heart that the doctors want to watch. They expect it to close on its own, and we pray that it will and that Saad's healing will continue.
Finally in the thickest traffic I have ever seen here we started back to Jerusalem. The last 20 minutes of a two-hour drive (that normally takes 50 minutes), Saad became very restless. Once more the praises of God came to change the atmosphere as Saad enjoyed the Kurdish worship music on my iPod.

Thank you God for all your lovingkindness to the children of men. Hallelujah!

A Cherub

Posted on Wed, 10/06/2010 - 06:51 by Mary_Dailey
We went to see Saad and his mother today and brought them some food. Saad was doing so well that it was hard to believe that he had just had his surgery Monday. When we got to his room he was already wide awake and no tubes. It didn't seem like he had any pain at all and he was not uncomfortable. He reminded us of the pictures of the cherubs you see.

When another Iraqi child Yousif went over to Saad he was really happy to see him. He smiled and held out his hand to him. His mother looked so good and there was no sign of worry on her face. I believe that this is one of the quickest recoveries I've seen since I've been with Shevet Achim. Our God is an awesome God. Keep praying that everything continues to go well.

Couldn't Have Gone Better

Posted on Mon, 10/04/2010 - 06:51 by ryan

Donna and I pulled out of the Shevet lot at 5:45 am this morning, Jerusalem streets waking, and by the time we reached Schneider Hospital in Tel Aviv at 7:00 am Saad had already been admitted to surgery, ahead of schedule. We found his mother in the waiting room, still wearing her hospital apron and cotton shoe netting. She didnt notice us, her ear and demeanor absorbed in a cell phone, talking through tears to a voice in Kurdistan.

This is a new situation for me. What do you say to a woman whose sons ribcage is being split open just down the hallway? Notwithstanding the complete nonexistence of my Kurdish skills, I often find myself in these moments with no clue of how to speak or act with love. But Donna is an old hand. She moved right in, gave the woman a hug, a kiss on the cheek, and a smile not inappropriate to the moment. I watched.

The surgery took four hours, and these passed at a caf , walking the hallways, and sitting in a waiting room. Donna and I nosed through Learn Hebrew books, while Saads mother intermittently prayed and dozed. Then the doctor came, and the report was all positive: the surgery was over and had gone very well, Saad was resting in ICU, and we could see him in a few moments. And when we did, he looked terrific. You learn to see past the collage of tubes and tape and look to the condition of the child himself. This is not a doctors prognosis, but to me Saad look extremely peaceful and almost shiny, like a freshly polished pearl, or something. Thats the impression I had. The nurse offered a more technical explanation, though, helping me understand the readings displayed on the screen. They were good. So, Saad will spend the next few days at Schneider hospital with his mother, recovering under the professional supervision of the staff there. Then he will return to Jerusalem, and soon thereafter to his home and family in Kurdistan.

As I reflect in the evening hour on the events of today, the only word I have to share is thankful. Thankful that a child, whose heart had a "large and membranous" hole between the two lower chambers, is healing. Thankful that a mother will have the opportunity to watch her son grow to be a man. Thankful that, although I do not have much skill in expressing it, love wins.

Phone Call, iPod, and a Prayer

Posted on Sun, 10/03/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

On my way to Schneider Hospital this morning with Yousif and his mother, I received a call from the doctor in Tel Aviv: bring Saad, because tomorrow he is going to have surgery. As quickly as I could I returned to the Shevet house, and added Saad and his mother to our journey.

Saad is a pretty happy baby as long as he is not afraid. But he frightens easily of the unknown and unusual. Knowing this, when the nurse began to check his vital signs this morning, Saads mother requested he be given a sedative. But the nurse said No, we dont do that here. And the screaming began. The blood-pressure cuff which the nurse placed around his ankle was unable to get a clear reading, due to his frantic screaming and desperate breath-holding. Hes only 1 year old. As the nurse waited for him to calm, and when it was obvious
he had no such plan, I had an idea: I retrieved my iPod from my bag and queued it to the Kurdish worship song Hallelujah. When Saad heard the music his attention was immediately diverted from the blood pressure cuff, and we all began making hand-clap and patty-cake movements in time with the music. The blood pressure came quickly down, and the nurse was stunned! When she remarked that I was good, I told her it wasnt me. Scripture says that the Lord inhabits the praises of his people, and thats what makes all the difference in the world. It wasnt the last of the tears for the day, but his mother is learning that it is okay for him to cry and that he will get over it without any permanent damage.

Please pray for little Saads surgery, for his fear, and also that his mother would have endurance, strength, and patience. Our prayer is that the unseen presence of the Lord will be their comforter tomorrow and during the recovery period.

Sobs Turn to Smiles As Saad Released

Posted on Sun, 09/12/2010 - 06:51 by Donna_West
As we entered Saad's room this afternoon his mother greeted us with sobs and the staff asked if I could speak to her (in her language). I immediately called our Kurdish Israeli translator and good friend Ilan to find out why she was crying. As the lines of communication began to open up, the clouds of despair began to lift. To our delight, the medical team had decided to release Saad to return to Jerusalem and continue his recovery at home with us, his temporary family.

 Discharge is always a very thorough procedure and it can take a while. Saad became fussy and just needed some entertainment. We blew bubbles for a while which was a good distraction while it lasted. But when I offered him my Ipod with the Kurdish worship music playing, it changed the entire atmosphere in the room. Nothing but smiles and giggles from that point on.

Please keep Saad in your prayers. The hospital staff expect this illness will delay the repair of the hole in his heart by 2-3 weeks. They want him to be in excellent health prior to surgery to insure an optimum recovery. Thank you Lord for how you care for theses little ones and want only the best for them. You are an awesome God!

Saad Rushed To Hospital With Pneumonia

Posted on Fri, 09/10/2010 - 01:00 by Michelle_Bradburn

For the past few days poor Saad has been suffering from what we thought was simply a fever. However, the appropriate medicine did nothing to reduce the symptoms. This evening all the mothers were quite concerned, because not only was he much hotter than usual, but his stomach was heaving in and out quite rapidly, and he was having some trouble breathing. We decided the best thing to do would be to rush him to the emergency room at the hospital where we were planning to bring him on Sunday.

Saad has been crying nearly nonstop since arriving in Israel. But today on the way to the hospital, I had the most beautiful time with him! He was crying in his mother's arms, in the dark car, and his chest was heaving. But as we drove I held his little hand in mine and sang to him, songs about Jesus. As I sang, trusting God to bless his little body with peace and heal his aching heart, he slowly fell asleep and squeezed his little hand around my finger.

As he slept his mothers eyes filled with tears, fearing what was happening to her child. I prayed for her aloud, and she smiled so gratefully. As I had my arm around her and my hand in Saads, I told her in Kurdish that I knew Jesus loved Saad, and that He was holding his hand. She just smiled and told her how thankful she was.

When we got to the hospital, after they did some tests we discovered that Saad actually has pneumonia. But it's clear that God is already taking care of it, because before Donna and I left the hospital he was doing so much better than when we had arrived. No more heaving chest, very little fever, and no more crying. Even his mother seemed to have lost all fear and, though tired (it was already past midnight), was even joyful as we waved goodbye.

Praise God! Please keep praying for this little boy, that God would continue to heal him with His hand, even renewing his broken heart before the doctor's even get a chance to touch it. And I pray God would continue to fill his mind with peace, and that he would rest sweetly, truly knowing that he is loved.

In peace I will both lie down in sleep, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4)

Joy and Generosity as Saad Reaches Israel

Posted on Sun, 09/05/2010 - 01:00 by Michelle_Bradburn

One-year-old Saad and his mother crossed the Jordan River this afternoon and arrived in Israel this evening, a bit tired from the long journey, but evidently so grateful to be here. Saad was teary-eyed and weary most of the way (over seven hours in the car is difficult for such a small boy!) but when he mustered up enough happiness to smile, his face reflected the light-hearted joy that constantly shines in his mother's thankful eyes. And she showed her generous heart by pulling out special bread she brought from Kurdistan for our first meal together this evening.

Let's pray that God would truly bless this family while they are here! As they are awaiting to see what will come about, that God would meet them there in their waiting, and provide for them. Pray that God would be constantly showing His love to them in every way, small and great, that will turn their hearts to Him.