Admitted For Surgery Unexpectedly

It hasn't taken long for me to start falling in love with Doaa. She is an affectionate little girl who loves to be hugged. Doaa is also extremely curious and on the move constantly. I could liken her to a butterfly flitting from place to place with hardly a moment's rest. Just two days after arriving in Israel, Doaa had her first appointment at Wolfson Hospital today, for what we thought would be standard pre-surgery visit. It turned out to be much more...

Generally, the initial visit calls for a range of tests from an EKG (which measure's the heart's electric activity), vital signs, X-ray, an echo, and blood tests. Doaa was smiling and cooperative at the beginning, taking everything in. But then came one of several traumatic events that turned her smiles into tears. Small veins and big needles did not pair up well as medical staff attempted five times to get a blood sample for lab work. The whole ordeal left her sobbing uncontrollably with a very sore hand. While most children cry for their mothers when they're afraid or in pain, Doaa kept calling for her father. "BABBA!!!" She screamed over and over again, hoping he would come to her rescue. By the end, her mother was crying as well. But a hint of a smile returned once Doaa had calmed down and we headed to the echo department.

Dr. Alona confirmed that Doaa's heart is, in fact, on the right side of her chest. This is unusual but not a deterrent for surgical repair. Her diagnosis is simple Tetralogy of Fallot, which means that she only has three out of the four classic cardiac defects for this condition. There is a hole between the two lower chambers of her heart and her right ventricle has hypertrophied (overdeveloped) muscle. The right ventricle is also divided into two spaces, called a double chamber. While this may all sound complicated, Dr. Alona explored the anatomy of her heart with confident finesse. A few minutes later, she looked up and said, "Okay! I think she will have surgery tomorrow if everything is fine with her chest X-ray!" Talk about a big surprise! I had just been explaining to Doaa's mother the day before that it could be weeks before a surgery date was scheduled. The X-ray did turn out fine, and suddenly, Doaa was first on the list for a March 13th operation. 

Her mother took the news more calmly then I expected. "This is so fast!" I reiterated to her. "It's usually not like this. God is good!" Soon after, we were back in the children's department to face Doaa's greatest foe once more...a needle. Three attempts produced a successful IV line. This nearly finished Doaa, whose face looked nothing short of miserable. It had been an exhausting day for her, and she was ready for it to be over. I wanted so much to make everything better and to see her smile again. Seeing her daughter in this state made her mother burst into tears again. 

Please pray for Doaa to feel comforted and safe tonight, for her joy to return, and for her tired body to rest well. Also pray for her mother to be a source of strength and security for her daughter tonight. The two have experienced a rapid turn of events with challenging days ahead. I praise God for His favor toward Doaa and that the door has swung wide open for her heart to be healed. Just as Doaa cried out for her father today, I am asking and trusting that our Heavenly Father will to come to her rescue in tomorrow's surgery.  

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