Kovan's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Farewell, Captain Cute!

Posted on Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:01 by Maxine Stuart

Little Kovan has reached the end of his stay here in Israel. What a joy this little guy has been to have in our community. Kovan’s last day was actually a difficult day at Shevet, with the passing of baby Ster affecting us all. We said goodbye to Ster’s grieving mother in the afternoon, and then began to prepare for the farewell party that evening. God brought such a sweet spirit to our community that evening, it is actually hard to describe. Through the trials and pain, love was pouring out. It was so tangible at the party as we said goodbye to the little ones.

The Kurdish mums cooked a special meal, we ate yummy cake cooked by our wonderful German teammates. We then gave gifts to Kovan and his Mum to take back home. His big eyes grew wide with excitement as he saw a toy car appear out of his gift bag.

But he had us all laughing when he received a recorder and was fascinated at the sound he was able to make with it. It didn’t leave his hand for the next hour! We shared some words of the fond memories we had of Kovan and his parents. His mother expressed her utmost thanks, and said the love Kovan has received at Shevet has meant so much to her. She said he often recites the names of our team, and asks to see pictures of us before he will fall asleep. Actually, as we were driving to the airport later, he was listing the names of our team to himself from his baby seat! Kovan, as usual, charmed everyone in the queues at the airport, and I even saw him soften a security officer which is quite a feat!

Wherever this little boy goes joy, wonder and love follow. He has touched my heart, and it was hard to say goodbye, but the knowledge that he is going home happier, healthier, and stronger makes my heart soar. It is such a privilege to be a part of the gift that these children receive as a result of so many willing hearts working together. Working to give them something truly precious. Thank you for doing your part, I know God is proud of His children for extending His love to little hearts like Kovan’s.

Kovan's Last Echo

Posted on Mon, 01/01/2018 - 22:55 by Jesse Tilman

We are glad to report that Kovan has been approved to fly home to Kurdistan! His last sutures were removed today and his throat bug is nothing significant. We're planning his farewell party tomorrow night.

He was the second of our two kids getting echocardiograms today. He still gets fearful at just seeing a doctor or hearing them saying his name. Walking into the hospital can set him of as well. Thank the Lord he made it through the echo time without being sedated! 
He's still receiving eye-drops as well, but he is doing well and on track to fly out soon. He's still scheduled to return to Israel for another surgery after 6 months or two years I believe.
He's a blessed boy and we enjoy spending time with this cheerful, soulful young guy. His childish voice and expressions endear him quite quickly. He even made some friends from Zanzibar while we were in the echo department. May our Heavenly Father bless his future!

Getting His Eyes Checked

Posted on Wed, 12/27/2017 - 04:38 by Teresa Baldwin
Today Suhail drove Kovan, his mother, Maxine and myself back to Wolfson Medical Center to get his eyes checked. His mother told the doctor that his eyes have been hurting him for a while. He put some type of medicine in his eyes which Kovan did not enjoy. It took Suhail holding his eyes open as Kovan sat on his mother's lap while Maxine tried to comfort him as he was getting quite upset.
We were then told to come back in 50 min for the results. So we took Kovan to the play area which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy. We then went back to see the doctor who informed Kovan's mother that there was no infection. He may have astigmatism and possibly allergies that are causing his eyes to hurt. The dryness in the air may be part of the problem as well. He was given a prescription and told to have his eyes checked in 6 months as there is a possibility he may need glasses. 

A Long Day at the Hospital

Posted on Tue, 12/26/2017 - 19:01 by Johanna Ebert
Last week on Wednesday, Suhail and Elwira went with a few families to Jerusalem.
There they had a great view from the Mount of Olives to the old city of Jerusalem.
After this they went to the Garden Tomb where Suhail talked to the mums about Jesus. Kovan's mum was listening carefully and asked questions. Suhail tried to explain the importance of Jesus‘s coming and why he died for everybody. He finished the story of the resurrection at the empty tomb.
After the lunch they went to the shuk (market) in the old city. A man gave Kovan chocolate for free what made him happy. It was a long but good day. May God speak to the hearts who heard the Gospel.
Today, Elwira and I brought Kovan and his mother to the hospital for an echo. We had to wait some time before he could be seen by the doctor, but Kovan was very patient and played all the time. At the beginning of the exam, he was a little scared, but after some time and with distraction from videos, he even smiled. 
The doctor didn’t tell us much, but next week Kovan will have an echo again. Hopefully this is the final echo. Kovan's mum wanted a doctor check kovan’s eyes and throat, because she thinks he has eye pain and also pain in the trachea. For this reason we had to go to the children's ward again to talk with the doctor there. But the doctor had no time and so we waited 2 and a half hours before she looked at Kovan and talked to the mom. That was a very long time for him and in the end he was so tired that he started to cry. The doctor gave us eye drops for him and we have an appointment for the examination tomorrow.

Echo for Kovan

Posted on Mon, 12/18/2017 - 21:46 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning Suhail, Jesse and I drove to Wolfson hospital. Kovan needed his echocardiogram and we had to visit some other kids, also. I took Kovan and his mom to the echo room, but it required some waiting before the echo exam was done.

While waiting, Kovan did well and was playing with chairs. When it was his turn, he cried and was afraid. Mom tried to make him happy with children's songs. The doctor was pleased and said that next week might be his last echo.

His medication was also reduced, which is a good sign of recovery. Kovan will need another operation in one or two year's time. We are thankful for his progress. We see that Kovan is becoming our happy and joyful boy again. Praise to our Messiah! 

Kovan's Great Surprise

Posted on Mon, 12/11/2017 - 21:15 by Coby van Wijhe

This morning when we went to the echo room with two other families of our house, I overheard the doctor saying that Kovan will be discharged. That was a great surprise - release so quickly! Then I saw outside the echo room Kovan and his mom with some of our co-workers. We didn't know that he also had his echo this morning. So they took him down to the children's ward to get him ready to go back to our Shevet house.

Mom was very happy although she didn't expect it today yet. While they tried to get him in his own clothes again, the clown just arrived. So he made some music for Kovan just before he left the hospital. 

These clowns are a blessing for the kids. They give a great effort to make the children happy. Kovan was a bit overwhelmed when he came back to the house. The other families were just having their lunch. So I brought him with his mom downstairs to their sleeping room. Kovan will have his echo next week. Then, he will have his second surgery in two years time. Thanks to our Messiah. The kids are safe in His hands. Thanks for all your prayers! 

Moved to the Ward

Posted on Sun, 12/10/2017 - 21:00 by Elwira Kromer

Elisa and I were at the hospital today to visit our sweet kids. We also visited Kovan and his mum in the ICU. I was so happy to see him without the mask and Intubation like last week. He was even without infusions. The nurse changed his bandages while we were there. A bit later he was dressed in his clean hospital pyjamas and eating a cookie his mum gave him.

Later while we were visiting another child, we heard that Kovan was being moved to the children's ward! This is good news because it means that he has improved enough that he no longer requires constant, critical care. So we found his room, and spent some time with him in his new surroundings.

He seemed to be there more happy than in the ICU. He was smiling and he played a game where he could hear the roars from different animals. We also talked a bit to his dad on the phone. It was great to see him doing much better. Thank God for all your prayers. Let's continue to pray for his complete recovery.

Extubated and Recovering

Posted on Fri, 12/08/2017 - 21:54 by Swain Wilson

Today we visited Kovan with both of his parents. We found that he’d been extubated and was stable. The medical staff are constantly monitoring his vital functions, and if his body doesn’t respond well, then he’ll be intubated again. When we visited he was still asleep and his heart rate was very low. It’s normal for it to be low after extubation but is also a sign he has a long recovery ahead.

Kovan’s father was expecting to stay in Israel another week, but this afternoon we got word that he’s actually leaving at 4 tomorrow morning. So, he went to back to the hospital to say goodbye two more times in the evening. The last time Kovan’s father went to see him he was still sleeping. We’re praying Kovan’s father has a smooth trip home and that Kovan continues to progress, with his mother stay behind to care for him. 

Stable and Responsive

Posted on Wed, 12/06/2017 - 00:36 by Swain Wilson

Today Ana and I went to visit Kovan. He’s still intubated and sedated, but very responsive to being spoken to or touched. Either can raise his blood pressure, the nurses told us. It was very difficult to see him in a sedated state but he’s recovering as expected and is stable. His chest still needs to be closed, so that will hopefully happen by tomorrow. We pray that he continues to heal on a healthy timeline and that his heart strengthens. 

Surgery At Last

Posted on Mon, 12/04/2017 - 23:24 by Elisa Kulla

Suhail and I went to the Wolfson hospital today early in the morning to support Kovan's parents during his surgery. When we arrived Kovan's parents were sleeping.

At 8:30am Kovan was taken with a smile on his face into the operating room. The operation took over 5 hours.

When Kovan came out of the OR and into the ICU, the doctor told us about the surgery. He said that the surgery went well and they made the two chambers become one. Also the doctor told us that they connected the bloodflow from the arms and the brain into the lungs. They are keeping the chest open for a couple of days until they see the heart is fine, and then they will close it. Keeping the chest open for now means they have quick access in case of complications. The first couple days after surgery are the most critical. 

In the future he may need a second surgery. In the next couple of days the medical staff will know more information that will shed light on his prognosis. Right now, Kovan will remain intubated and on medication. 

Mother and Father were both able to ask the doctors their questions, and now they are very happy that Kovan's surgery is behind us. Let us pray for this family!