Younis's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Younis Flies Home to Iraq

Posted on Thu, 08/09/2007 - 07:53 by Dirk
We were so happy to see Younis and Zhino back here in Jordan safe and sound after their surgeries and their time in Haifa. The mothers were full of praise for the friendliness and love of the hospital staff and the church.

Younis is much more active now than when he first came here three months ago. Both children were welcomed back here by the neighbour children.

Younis mother is a little sobered by the prospect that Younis will need another surgery in half a years time, and most probably will need a heart transplant at the age of 25 years. They were wanting to go home so much, and this morning we left at 08:00 to take them back to the airport. We were glad that the new baby decided to wait a little while before coming, so it will be born in Iraq. This will make the paperwork MUCH easier. (Imagine an Iraqi baby with an Israeli birth certificate... not easy.)

Younis' mother and Zhino's mother say thank you to all of you from all of their heart!

Getting Around

Posted on Sun, 08/05/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian
The good news is, Younis has started to walk around more often nowadays, and he seems to enjoy it too! And today, he got to sit in a car seat when Abu Amir drove us over to his home for a visit.

The Said family home has a great view of the Haifa port and we all spent a relaxing afternoon there, enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal and some lively fellowship.

Cereal, and Tears

Posted on Thu, 08/02/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian
Yesterday, both Younis and Zhino were officially discharged from Rambam Hospital, and are now back at the apartment in Haifa. They have a week to rest and relax till next Wednesday 8 August at 8am, when they will need to return to Rambam for their 'final' echoes before heading back to Iraq.

Although Um Younes seemed concerned that her son's cheeks and lips are not as pink as those of the other Iraqi children who have had their operations, Dr. Lorber emphasised that the procedures done on Younis have all gone very well, and that Younis' present condition is much better than when he first arrived at Rambam.

Besides, Younis' heart defects are complicated, as he has only one out of two vital ventricles. It is worthy to note that Younis' case was turned down by another hospital before being accepted by the Rambam medical team.

For now, Younis is doing very well in his recovery process and it may be years before he will need another operation to treat his condition if it deteriorates or causes problems in the future.

Meanwhile back at the apartment, Um Younis is starting to train Younis to walk more on his own, as well as to eat a more varied diet. This morning, she gave him
some cereals, which he hesitantly ate as I took photos of him "in action". But after a few bits of cereals and a couple of photos later, it was "halas" (finished!) for him as you can see the cereals scattered all over the bed!

What Younis wanted next was his favourite item--yes, you may have guessed it-- bread dipped in "cha" (tea)! And when his mom pretended to dip his bread in the tea and fed him with it, he knew it the moment the food was in his mouth and he burst out crying!

Well, least Younis had some cereals today! Day by day, may he change his way of eating--and we continue to give thanks for every bit of progress this little fellow makes.

Younis is Walking Out!

Posted on Tue, 07/31/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian
Younis is fit to be discharged from Rambam Hospital and will be moving back to the Haifa apartment tomorrow.
Today, I encouraged Um Younis to let Younis, who is already 2.5 years old, start walking on his own again, instead of being carried about all the time. This is partly in preparation for the time when she will return to Iraq with a newborn baby, who is due in a week's time!
Um Younis has been rather protective both before and after Younis' operation, but today she was convinced, as her delivery draws near.
So she put Younis down from the bed and said, "Yim-shee, yim-shee" (walk, walk). At first, the toddler wouldn't move nor let go of his mummy's hand. But with Zhino's help and my comical coaxing, he tottered his way towards me. I was snapping photos of his "first steps."
Younis loves to look at his own photos and video clips on my camera, and this is one sure way to get him to perform!

Younis' Uncle Killed in a Blast in Iraq

Posted on Thu, 07/26/2007 - 07:53 by Pastor_Philip_Saad

I've just received a telephone call from Um Younis, who is still at the hospital with her son, that her brother-in-law (her husband's brother, or Younis' uncle) was killed in a blast in Iraq. He was a newly married young man. Um Younis' husband and the family back there are devastated. Um Younis is crying all the time. She told me that her husband is asking her not to come back to [their hometown, which can't be named for security reasons] because it is very dangerous.

Please pray for her and the family.

CT Results Show No Fluid on Brain

Posted on Thu, 07/26/2007 - 07:53 by Pastor_Philip_Saad
Younis is still making good progress. The CT scan shows that his head is fine. Today he enjoyed a nice visit from his friends. Please keep praying for him, for complete recovery. You know that when God begins a good work he will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6) .

Official CT Report Tomorrow

Posted on Wed, 07/25/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian
In just over two weeks, Younis is now more familiar with the hospital environment and some of the necessary procedures, so much so that he did not make any fuss when he was wheeled over to another part of Rambam to get his CT scan.
Dr. Shirley said that the initial observation from the CT scan seems to show that everything is okay with Younis, but we have to wait till tomorrow before we can get the official report. There had been some concern that there may be fluid accumulated in Younis' head, and that was why the CT scan was required.
Younis' oxygen level was great today -- from yesterday's low 80's (even with the oxygen mask on) to nearly 100% today. He has now mastered the art of talking and smiling for the camera with the oxygen mask on!

CT Scan Needed

Posted on Tue, 07/24/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Younis was scheduled for a CT scan today, to check for fluids in his head. But it had to be postponed till early tomorrow, as he did not fast at least four hours before the appointed time today. The CT scan was ordered because the doctors need to confirm if Younis' large head is due to the presence of fluids which, if accumulated, could put pressure on his brain and cause other problems.

Meanwhile, Um Younis is rather concerned that her son's condition seems erratic -- he's feeling good one day, and then down on the next. We had to assure her that since Younis has undergone a major operation, it may take a while for his body to get adjusted and for his condition to stabilise. A nurse said that his wound is taking a bit longer to heal, probably because of the lack of vitamins in his preferred diet of bread, cake and milk.

Nevertheless, Younis has no lack of entertainment while in the hospital. He has a bag full of toys, which incidentally includes the oxygen mask and the rubberised sensor.

And when he is too tired to sit up, he even plays with his own ear!

His dad calls from Iraq several times a day, and Younis gets his share of chatter on the mobile too. (See photo at the top).

Infection on Chest Wound

Posted on Sun, 07/22/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Younis has an infection on the surgery wound down his chest. The attention given to it seems to give him a good excuse to be fussy. He was a little weepy. Then Younis broke out into shy smiles when I showed him video clips of Zhino and Omar having fun at the beach and at a neighbour's birthday party.

Younis' post-surgery recovery is good. However, he will need a dose of diuretic medicine to drain excess fluids from his body. Dr. Lorber explains that Younis is "puffy" with fluids because of too much salt in the food he eats. He has strongly advised Um Younis to cut down on "Bamba" and potato chips.

Back in the ward during lunch-time, Younis said "Nah!" (No!) to the cake he was eating... and almost the very next moment, he wanted it again. :-)

Both mother and child need our prayer!


Recovering in the ICU After Successful Surgery

Posted on Wed, 07/18/2007 - 07:53 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Younis' operation this morning was successful, praise the LORD! Cardiologist Avraham Lorber, who has arranged for the surgeries of Iraqi children at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, reports good post-surgical oxygen saturation and expects that recovery will be swift.

On hand to offer emotional support today was Um ("mother of") Omar, pictured below at right. She's a veteran of this process following her own son's surgery two weeks ago, and she accompanied Um Younis into the ICU to see Younis after he was settled in after the operation.

Seeing her son on a mechanical ventilator with all those tubes and paraphernalia stuck to his little body, Um Younis was understandably worried. And when Younis seemed to choke as he coughed, the concerned mother was in tears!

But the medical staff assured us that a little coughing is quite normal. As the patient gradually awakens from his sedated state and realises there are
objects stuck to his nose and body, he tends to struggle to get these things off him.

Just as expected, the coughing soon subsided. Um Younis' fears were further allayed when Pastor Philip Saad from the Haifa church explained to her in Arabic what are some of the common post-operation symptoms.