Sulaiman's Heart Surgery

the Gaza Strip

The Joy of Sulaiman's Mother

Posted on Sun, 11/01/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
When I first met Sulaiman and his mother back in mid-September and began taking pictures of him in the ICU, his mother requested that she not be photographed with him until after his surgery when he was doing well. I honored her request, taking pictures only of him even though there were many times photographing her devoted attention would have captured your hearts like it has mine! Today when I visited them in the childrens' ward I asked if now was the time she would like to have her picture made with Sulaiman, and with a big smile she said yes. Even though I have witnessed firsthand this frail lifeless child's heart repair enable him to bloom before our eyes, the stark before-and-after contrast is almost unbelievable. Yet here he is, thanks be to God, beginning to respond to toys and colors and movement and sounds, and making baby talk to his mother. Please join us as we praise God for all that has happened so far!

It is a treasure to see Sulaiman's sweet mother beaming with joy instead of wiping away the many tears she shed during the weeks when Sulaiman was struggling in the ICU. Yet throughout the long recovery she's never seemed to lose hope, and has always managed to graciously thank us when we visited and helped her understand Sulaiman's condition, even when she was clearly heartbroken over how difficult it was for her tiny son. Today she told me with delight that it was the first day he had not had to have any oxygen from the dome or the nasal canula. And I hope you can see the rosy color in his now-chubby cheeks as he continues to gain weight during his recuperation. What a gift God has given this family through the devoted care of the doctors and nurses at Wolfson Medical Center. and what a privilege to continue to pray for Sulaiman's recovery, his family, and his return in the near future to his home in Gaza.

Sulaiman Freed From the ICU

Posted on Mon, 10/26/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
It was a delightful surprise today to enter the children's ward and find that Sulaiman's mother was not just there to visit someone else, but that as of today Sulaiman himself has left the ICU behind! She was happy and thankful to lead me to his bed where he was sleeping soundly. Praise to God, this little one is recovering well now! As you can see for yourself, he truly does not look like the same child who was admitted weeks back. I was able to catch him smiling when he woke up from his nap. Please keep praying and thanking God for Sulaiman's life. We look forward to the day he does not need the oxygen dome, but can breath on his own, and give us the biggest smile of his young life.

Is This the Same Child?

Posted on Thu, 10/22/2009 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles
Those were the words of ICU head Sion Houri today when we stopped by Sulaiman's bed to see how he is recovering from his second surgery. The transformation has been dramatic. Here is Dr. Houri's report:

As you can hear, Sulaiman was on the very verge of death. We are grateful for the skill and especially the faith of these doctors which kept them from giving up on him. Who knows what God can do with this precious life which has been saved?

Sulaiman's Good Report

Posted on Wed, 10/14/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

I was delighted to hear the report of the doctors today when I visited the ICU and checked on little Sulaiman. The doctors believe that all of the problems he had before with his breathing and the pressures within his heart this caused were taken care of by the surgery he had yesterday. They hope to be able to extubate him tomorrow if he remains stable through the night. When I shared this good news with his mother she broke into a huge smile and was filled with thanks to God. She has been a continual encouragement to all of the other mothers even though her son has had a hard time himself. It seems that the hope within her is growing as time goes by and she sees all the efforts made on Sulaiman's behalf. Let's agree in prayer that Sulaiman will heal supernaturally quickly and be able to return to his waiting family in Gaza soon. May his mother continue to grow in hope as she sees the faithfulness of God.

Sulaiman Back to the OR

Posted on Tue, 10/13/2009 - 00:00 by Erica_Karmi

We were surprised this afternoon to see Sulaiman returning to the ICU from the operating room. His doctors determined that a second surgery was already necessary, and told us they were satisfied with the results.

We'll post more details and photos as they become available.

Sulaiman Breathing On HisOwn

Posted on Wed, 10/07/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Today's visit to the hospital brought some evidence of answered prayer for the life of little Sulaiman. Before I entered the ICU I saw his mother sitting outside visiting with another mom from Gaza. After telling me hello, she smiled and explained that Sulaiman had been extubated this morning, meaning he is no longer on mechanical ventilation. This is encouraging news, as doctors have been trying to give him the opportunity to breathe on his own daily. When I entered the ICU I could see the oxygen dome over Sulaiman helping him receive oxygen, and during my visit his blood oxygenation fluctuated between the mid-70% and mid-80% range. The nurse attending Sulaiman said he is doing ok, even though his sensitive skin is discolored from the tape associated with his breathing tube.

Please keep praying for both Sulaiman and his mother while he continues healing. It was obvious he still needs to gain weight and build his strength when the covers were pulled back for his examination. Pray that his mother does not become discouraged during the process. She seems a bit tired, but still retains her kind and thankful attitude with those around her. Let's keep praying together on their behalf.

Sulaiman Needs Time to Heal

Posted on Sun, 10/04/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

In the past few days Sulaiman's mother has asked me repeatedly to check with the doctors about her son, who lies in the ICU still ventilated and recuperating from his surgery. I learned yesterday that the lung problem he has been struggling with is from months of poor health after he was born with the heart condition. It is taking longer for his lungs to function normally because they were not functioning well before the surgery. Today I asked again about the possible timing of his extubation from the ventilator, and was told Sulaiman needs to continue to receive nutrition along with the healing of his heart and lungs. For now this is best achieved by keeping him on the ventilator, since it does the work for him. As the medical staff attempt to wean him from this, his body continues to show it is not yet ready to breathe on his own; and even his heart also needs the machine to balance problems with pulmonary hypertension. The doctors are caring for Sulaiman in every way possible to restore his health, and explained to me that he does not need another surgery to solve the problems he's having now. He just needs time to grow, heal, and become stronger so his body can function.

Will you pray for him? His mother is becoming discouraged as other children go home but he has to stay in the ICU continuously, making seemingly little progress. She loves Sulaiman very much, and is waiting for the day she will hear the good news that he is doing well. We're trusting God that such a day will come soon.

Sulaiman's Chest RemainsOpen

Posted on Wed, 09/30/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Tiny Sulaiman continues to recover in the ICU today and is stable. His chest has been left open as doctors monitor his condition, paying close attention to his lung problem, which is the same as before his surgery. His mother visits him, and speaks with the staff to check on his condition, but spends most of her time with the other mothers since Sulaiman is sleeping. She remains cheerful and thankful each time we see one another. As I looked at her little one today I couldn't help but think how amazed and thankful I would feel if I was his mother, given the tremendous improvement in Sulaiman's condition in the past fifteen days. We thank God for this, and will continue to pray for complete healing for Sulaiman. Please join us in praying specifically for healing of his lung problem.

Tiny Sulaiman Comes Through Surgery

Posted on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Exactly as scheduled this morning Sulaiman and his mother (above center) left the ICU for the operating room. He was accompanied by one of the ICU doctors and nurses, whose job it was to monitor his vital signs and hand-pump oxygen into Sulaiman's tiny body while he made the journey downstairs. After the OR staff took Sulaiman inside, his mother was somewhat anxious but mostly full of thanks that her son was receiving the help he needs. We walked upstairs together, and throughout the morning and early afternoon sat together during the time I was not assisting other patients. Sulaiman's mother has made friends with all the other Palestinian mothers in the previous two weeks, and enjoyed sitting with them for encouragement too. And I noticed that she seemed quite content to wait alone part of the time as well, separating herself from others, perhaps to ponder and pray.

At about two o'clock Sulaiman was brought upstairs, and I ran to alert her that Sulaiman was on his way to the ICU. We watched as he went past and followed him to the door, and then had the usual wait while all the needed monitors and medications were put in place. The surgeon Dr. Sasson told us on the way down the hall that he would speak with her soon, and he came out to explain that although Sulaiman's heart surgery had gone very well, he had a problem with his lungs. This is not a new problem, but one he's had and which doctors are aware of and have been monitoring. They will decide how best to treat this problem now that the heart surgery is taken care of. Sulaiman's mother was concerned, but remained thankful for the good surgery to his heart. When we entered the ICU together I was struck with how tiny he is, and by comparison the immensity of the instruments helping keep his body stable which surround him.

Please pray with us that even as his heart heals, God will reveal the perfect treatment for Sulaiman's lungs as well. Keep his mother in prayer as well, as she remains by his side throughout his healing process.

To Surgery After Yom Kippur

Posted on Sun, 09/27/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

During my visit to the ICU today I found little Sulaiman awake and aware of my presence at his bedside. His sheet was pulled back so I was able to see that he has filled out a lot in the two weeks since his admission, thank God. The doctors have him scheduled for Tuesday morning, the first surgery after the Yom Kippur holy day which will begin here in just over an hour. He has urgent need for this surgery to save his young life, so everyone is thankful that he is now strong enough, and will have to wait only another day and a half.

Most thankful of all is his mother, who greets us with a hopeful smile and many greetings every time we visit the hospital. Please pray for Sulaiman to remain strong and his mother to remain encouraged as his life-changing surgery approaches. May they know the God who heals is watching over them at all times.