Joman's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Farewell to a Boy with a Bright Future

Posted on Sun, 07/10/2011 - 20:40 by Jeff Sheehan

It was a red letter day for Joman & his mum. As I write this letter they are on their way home, to Northern Iraq via Jordan. Joman was received heart surgery at Wolfson Hospital in Holon, a Tel Aviv suburb, on the 6th of June for the repair of a Tetralogy of Fallot. His post-operative recovery was an unblemished upward road. It included three echo-cardiograms to monitor his heart function, and to check for any build-up of fluid around his heart, a common complication after open heart surgery. 

Joman Released to Travel Home

Posted on Thu, 06/30/2011 - 22:31 by Natalie Wisely

Joman's echo results from today surprised everyone! We headed to the hospital this morning for echoes with two of the other Iraqi patients, Hezhan and Chrakhan. We expected them to be released, but knew it was not likely for Joman to be allowed to return home so soon after his surgery. However, as we played in the waiting area, his mother would look over me with a question in her eyes, "Iraq?" Translation: "Will we get to go home to Iraq tomorrow too?" But it was a question I couldn't answer.
The other two patients had their echoes and came out excited that they were officially released to go home. Finally, it was Joman's turn. The echo only took about ten minutes, but it felt much longer as we waited, wondering if he would also be released. When I couldn't wait any longer, I headed over to the door into the echo room. As I looked in, I made eye contact with Joman's mom. She peeked her head out the door, gave me thumbs up, and whispered "Iraq!" Joman was also released! This was very unexpected, considering he arrived less than a month ago, but the doctors believe his surgery and recovery have gone well enough that he can safely return home in record time.
With joy in our hearts, we knew it was time to celebrate while we waited for the official discharge papers. We headed down to McDonald's and ordered ice cream for everyone! Joman probably only ate half of his; the rest ended up all over his face!
Unfortunately, the official papers from the hospital were not able to be completed today. Wolfson discharged more children than normal today and the nurse in charge of the paperwork was too overwhelmed to get them all done. The families were disappointed to hear they will not be heading home tomorrow, but understood that there was nothing else to be done. We hope to get the discharge papers on Sunday and send them all on their way Monday.
In the meantime, we are glad to have these last couple of days with them. Even though we haven't had Joman here as long as most other children, we have still all come to adore him. His sweet personality and infectious giggle make him an easy child to love. With bittersweet anticipation we look forward to Monday when he and his mother will hopefully return home.

Doctors Are Pleased With Joman's Progress

Posted on Thu, 06/23/2011 - 12:58 by Jeff Sheehan

Joman is a delightful two and a half year boy with a history of a Tetraogy of Fallot from Iraq. He was accompanied by his mum, he arrived on the 5th of June and went straight in for surgery on the 6th. The surgery was very successful. He returned to Shevet Achim's care on the 12th. Today makes day eighteen post-surgery, and he is progressing well. Joman had his echocardiogram today, and the doctor was very pleased with his progress. 
Heart function is good, a small residual ventricular septal defect remains, but this is of no concern. He also needs to return for a further echo on the 30th of June. The feeling is that Joman will be here till the end of the month. Joman looks well, he is quite steady on his feet, and walks unaided. He is chubby with a great cheeky smile. His observations are stable. His oxygen saturation is in the high 90's. His wounds are clean and dry. Two drain sutures were removed today. Our faithful God has kept him well and we rejoice. The first photograph is Joman having his echo, the 2nd one is with Joman and his mates

Joman's Jerusalem Homecoming

Posted on Mon, 06/13/2011 - 21:25 by Kristina Kayser

While the Shevet community enjoyed a day of rest in honor of Shavuot (Pentecost) today, the symphony of city life continued outside our old stone walls. More and more, I find this place I now call home to be an oasis of sorts. Buses and scores of people may be streaming up and down Prophets Street, but step through the weathered gateway into our courtyard, and an uncommon peace resides. I believe this sentiment is shared by our Kurdish families especially after spending restless hours at the hospital. 
The door at 29 HaNeviim, which has greeted weary travelers for over a hundred years, opened to Joman and his mother this afternoon. Due to our office being closed, we were unable to escort them home in the typical fashion. Thus, their homecoming came by way of a quiet taxi ride into the heart of Jerusalem. Greeted by friendly faces and a cool evening breeze, our newest family began to settle in. 
An initial assessment assured me that Joman's incision was healing nicely, but a mild fever and rapid heart rate raised some alarm. Even a slight temperature can turn into a critical issue after cardiac repair. Just six days ago, Joman had an extreme heart makeover, and his body is still adjusting to the changes. Thankfully, both issues were resolved after some rest and medicine. Jeff, my fellow nurse, and I will continue to keep a close watch on Joman in the coming days.
Aside from this, what has caught everyone's attention is Joman's sweet laughter. His tummy shakes with each giggle, and you just can't help but laugh with him. Truly, "a merry heart does good like medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). Joman and his mother are beautiful additions to our community life, and I pray they find the peace within these walls a welcome addition to their own lives.  

Improvements Place Joman in Secondary ICU

Posted on Thu, 06/09/2011 - 21:38 by Kristina Kayser

Since watching Joman's pre-surgery video, I couldn't wait to hear his contagious giggles for myself. However, laughter was not on the agenda for Joman this afternoon, who was a bit solemn on his third post-op day. The brilliant news is that he has been transferred to the secondary ICU and is breathing without oxygen assistance. The chest tube, which serves to remove excess surgical fluid has also been removed.

Tears were absent from his bright eyes that looked to his mother for reassurance. This young mother exudes a spirit of calm confidence for her son in a totally foreign environment. As long as she was by Joman's side, he felt safe to study Suhail's (Shevet member) and my comic attempts to persuade a smile. His mother laughed at our impromptu routine, but for now, Joman is keeping us in suspense. Heart surgery is, in fact, serious business, as this toddler reminded me today. Nevertheless, I am confident that it won't be long before his laughter fills the air once more. By God's grace, we anticipate Joman's recuperation to continue as smoothly as it has begun.

Joman Sleeping and Recovering in ICU

Posted on Tue, 06/07/2011 - 16:15 by Natalie Wisely

Since his surgery on Monday, Joman has been resting and recovering in the ICU. When his mother took me in to visit the boy today, we walked toward a darkened corner of the room and found the boy fast asleep. I snapped a couple pictures before I was sternly warned by the nurse not to wake him up. Rest is the most important thing right now as his little body adjusts to his new heart, so I was happy to comply, but I do look forward to meeting him again and hearing his little giggle that has already touched our hearts.
After saying a quick prayer over Joman, his mother and I headed out of the ICU to where the other volunteers were waiting. Joman's mother is an amazing woman. Despite the stress of the situation, she seems strong and much more independent than many of the other mothers have been. Still, I couldn

Joman's Surgery: Joy Comes in the Morning

Posted on Mon, 06/06/2011 - 23:11 by Donna_West

This morning Joman was wide awake supporting his best smiles and giggles.

You would never expect this child was on his way to open heart surgery by his actions and demeanor. The transition from the ward to the operating room was smooth, with an uncanny air of peace for mother and son. Many of the things we do to help a mother when she first arrives at Shevet Achim had not yet been put into place since Joman's mother went directly to the hospital

Joman Rushed to Hospital on Arrival in Israel

Posted on Mon, 06/06/2011 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

Two and a half year old Joman and his mother flew into Amman from Iraq Saturday afternoon,  and we set out for the Israeli border after a delay of one hour while my family and I finished packing and closing our apartment for a summer trip. It was touch and go at the border as we arrived just before closing time, and at one point the customs manager decided our vehicle would not be allowed to enter Israel. I acknowledged the delay was my fault, and simply asked for mercy. After a pause that seemed like an eternity, we were allowed through. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Joman had turned blue and listless at the border crossing, and his mother told me that he was losing consciousness on a daily basis due to his heart condition. We determined at that point to head directly to the Wolfson Medical Center from the border. Dr. Eldan in the pediatric emergency room was waiting for us, and immediately set everything aside to evaluate and admit Joman.












After hospitalization overnight, doctors in Israel did a full evaluation of Joman's condition, and scheduled him for urgent surgery Monday morning. Please pray with us for a successful rescue of this precious life. We'll update this page Monday evening with a full report.