Aymen's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Hafla, Hafla!

Posted on Wed, 08/09/2017 - 22:32 by Jonathan Ries

Last night we had a great hafla (celebration), because it was time to say farewell to three of our precious kids - Ayleen, Dima, and Aymen.

For Aymen, his operation went well and all the following tests showed great results, so he got the doctor's ok on Monday to go back home to Kurdistan.

His mother said at the celebration, that saying goodbye means being able to go home on the one hand, but on the other hand it also meant leaving a second home. They both felt very comfortable and will miss the time here.

In addition to delicious food, there was also time to share memories, to sing and to unpack gifts, which Aymen surely enjoyed most. In addition to many memories and gifts, he will hopefully take some of the joyful message of Messiah back to Kurdistan.


Last Echo!

Posted on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 22:58 by Jonathan Ries

Today, we were in the hospital for the last time with Aymen and his mother. Once again, his weight was tested- with good results. After a few hours of waiting, a last echo was carried out. These results were also very good, so the doctor said that he can go back to Kurdistan tomorrow. Aymen and his mom are both looking forward to going back to their families after more than two months in Israel. We will pick up the discharge papers in the hospital tomorrow, book a flight to Iraq and of course make a big farewell party before they leave. Stay tuned for updates on his departure! 

Looking Forward

Posted on Mon, 07/31/2017 - 22:24 by Jonathan Ries

On today's doctor's visit, Aymen's last stitches were pulled out. The wound has healed very well so far. Aymen also had an echo today.

His echo results were very good. The doctor says that he has to have a final echo next Monday, then Aymen can go back home to Kurdistan! He and his mother are looking forward to it. But we as a community will surely miss them.

Onward and Upward

Posted on Sun, 07/23/2017 - 22:48 by Samara Noble

Aymen had his follow up echo today! We went to the hospital at 8am and waited...and waited. While we waited, we watched videos, raced chairs down the hallways, made a paper airplane, and colored smurfs.

Finally at around 1:30 or 2pm we were called into the echo room. While other children cry when they go into the echo room and the machine is hooked up to them, Aymen seemed to enjoy it and kept his ever present smile.

In fact, the doctor had to tell him to stop laughing so that they could get a good reading. He and I had to not look at each other for a few minutes or else we would continue to break out into laughter. The doctors say that everything is looking good! Praise the Lord! Aymen will still need a couple more echos after the one done today.

Happy to be Back

Posted on Sun, 07/16/2017 - 22:46 by Dayo Martin

We visited Aymen in the hospital, today. We learned that he may be able to leave the hospital as soon as he had an echo and some blood tests done. He was in good spirits and he and his mother seemed excited to return to the Shevet community.

While we waited for his turn to get his test done, he occupied himself by playing games on his mother’s phone and playing catch with balloons. I was able to go in the room with him during his test to take pictures.

It went very quickly and the doctor was very optimistic about what she saw. She told us that after some blood tests, he will be ready to be discharged and will return next Sunday for a follow-up echo.

He was able to return to Shevet within a couple of hours and is very happy to be back!

Reasons to Smile

Posted on Thu, 07/13/2017 - 23:31 by Jonathan Ries

When I visited Aymen this morning, he had just moved from the ICU to the children's ward. Through God's guidance, he came into the same room where Ayleen was already staying. The mothers knew each other already, which simplifies living together in a confined space.

Aymen was still very much weakened by the operation. He slept a lot, which was good for his mother. She always cares about him - like mothers do. It was hard for him to eat and drink, and he shed some tears and had to wait for an ointment from the doctor until he was able to go to the toilet.

It was nice to see that he was able to smile several times. At one point, he realized Ayleen was lying next to him which he liked. And, I promised to play soccer with him as soon he recovered. All good reasons to smile!

Up and At 'Em

Posted on Wed, 07/12/2017 - 23:11 by Alexa Bigl

Aymen was extubated this morning around 9am. When I went into the ICU later in the morning he was doing very well. He was very thirsty due to the breathing tube he had overnight which makes the throat very dry. His mom was so happy to have her son awake and doing well, but it was also hard for her to see him experiencing discomfort. 

I was amazed at how much Aymen was moving around and interacting. He wanted to sit in his bed, ate some soup, and was talking with us. His recovery is going very well; praise the Lord. 
While on a small amount of supplemental oxygen, it's great to see Aymen's blood oxygen saturation is 100% - perfect! Aymen has two chest tubes, his central line, IV cannulas, and internal pacer wires so he is experiencing discomfort with all the tubes. And his skin is also quite itchy all over. His mom is doing a fantastic job helping him however he needs and it was so sweet to see how this loving mother devotedly cared for her son. Let's pray for Aymen's comfort to increase and his mom's strength to be abundant as there will still be quite a road of recovery ahead. 
It's exciting how well Aymen is doing. His doctors and nurse had good reports also; everything is looking great! All thanks and praise to the Heavenly Father.

At Long Last!

Posted on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 19:38 by Samara Noble

After over a month of waiting, Aymen has finally had his surgery! When we arrived, he had his usual smile on his face and was happy to see us. It took a while to get everything situated and Aymen was nervous but his mother remained strong for him and did not cry. I prayed over him and his mother before they went into the operation room, and she was very appreciative. When Aymen's mother came out of the operation room she broke down, cried, and gave me a long hug for support.

While we waited we went and visited Ayleen and her mother, and we had a wonderful time chatting and encouraging one another. The surgery took about 5 hours and when it was over the nurses brought Aymen into the ICU. His mother and I went in and stayed with him. When she saw her son lying there hooked up to all the machines and tubes she cried once more. It is amazing to witness the wonders of the body that God created. Even after such an intense surgery, our bodies somehow recover and heal. Aymen woke up once while we were there but was scared and in pain so the nurses immediately sedated him once more. They will keep him sedated until tomorrow when they evaluate his heart. The monitor kept beeping and saying that his ABP (Arterial Blood Pressure) was low but the doctors assured us that Aymen is doing well. Praise God! His mother was able to come back to the Shevet house to shower and change her clothes before heading back to the hospital to sit and wait by her son's side. 

Finally Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Mon, 07/10/2017 - 21:29 by Debbie Sturm

Today Aymen was finally and unexpectedly admitted for his surgery. When we arrived at the hospital we had to wait for a while until the examinations started. Aymen and his mother were in a really good mood.

We played Uno and Aymen got presents from visitors in the hospital. He was really excited and we had a good time together. When Aymen was called for blood tests and other examinations, he started to be nervous.

He did not like the blood test and cried for a while. But after all the examinations were done he started to smile again and enjoyed lunch. We were joking and visiting other children in the hospital. Tomorrow will be his surgery. Please keep Aymen and his mother in your prayers and pray for wisdom for the doctors.

A Long But Successful First Assessment Day

Posted on Mon, 05/29/2017 - 23:01 by Rebekah Yang

Cheerful Aymen and his mother arrived to our Shevet community yesterday morning. After a day of rest, this morning Aymen and his mother went to Wolfson for his first assessment there.

At first, our cheerful Aymen was giving smiles to everyone he met. However, after the nurses and doctors started to examine him, he became a bit anxious and irritated. After they had taken his general vital signs, he seemed very uncomfortable and even started weeping.
Later on he went to the nurses station to get his blood test and he, again, shed a lot of tears. We then went from one place to another to take different tests, such as a chest x-ray and a PPD test as well. After the PPD test was done it was time for lunch. 
We went to the children's ward to finish lunch quickly and then returned to the echo department for his last checkup.
Since Dr. Alona is a senior cardiologist and often trains others, they took a longer time to perform Aymen's echo. In the end, Dr. Alona gave Aymen's echo report with three issues, an ASD, a VSD, and tricuspid stenosis.
Because Aymen's diagnosis is not a common case that they have seen in the hospital, they will present this case in their weekly departmental meeting to discuss how to process Aymen's further treatment. Please lift both Aymen and his mother in your prayers as they're just arrived in Israel. May God's grace and peace help them to settle in well while they're waiting for surgery.