Omed's Heart Surgery


Farewell to a Special Young Man

Posted on Sat, 03/21/2009 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles
Omed sat next to me as I drove our van all the way from Jerusalem to Jordan on Friday. Everyone else nodded off to sleep, but Omed stayed alert, soaking in all the new sights. Who knows what impact the events of the last month have had on his twelve-year-old heart and mind?
Saturday morning it was off to the airport, where always-cheerful Omed showed how far his healing has come by pushing the heavy luggage cart (pictured above) all the way into the terminal.
I remembered to push the record button on our video camera at that point to allow you to share in our last minute together and hear words of thanks from Omed's mother (follow this link). I thank God for the opportunity to invest in Omed's life, and look forward to seeing him again, whether in Iraq or one day with the Lord.

Cleared For Takeoff

Posted on Thu, 03/19/2009 - 00:00 by Dorothy_Finlay

Today after Omed's echo, doctors gave Omed and his father the news they had hoped for. It is time to return home. They played the "Go Fish" card game while waiting for the doctors to come and pronounce them free to go.

There was great rejoicing with photographs all round with the doctor, and lunch in the hospital cafeteria as we waited for the clearance letter.

Pray for the continued desire in this little boy's heart as he sings about 'walking with Jesus'- an Arabic chorus he loves. Thank you for your support for Omed and his mother. Please keep praying as they leave tomorrow for Jordan en route to Iraq.

One Step Closer To Home

Posted on Tue, 03/17/2009 - 00:00 by Justin_Strong

We took Omed for an echocardiogram at Wolfson Medical Center today. Omed, being his typical paparazzo self, passed the time waiting by taking pictures of everyone, regardless of their cooperation, and getting them to pose in different ways when he could.

The report from the echo itself was very good, all appeared normal, and he was scheduled for another echo this followingMonday. Omed's mother was somewhat upset that she would not be able to leave with Halo and Havan who are scheduled to leave for Iraq on Friday. But as we were walking out to leave, the doctor caught us and said, "He can come back Thursday for one last echo. Two-and-a-half weeks after surgery is enough. That way he can go home with everyone else Friday!" Omed and his mother will be able to leave with Halo and Havan after all, and they were very happy about this news.

Snapping Away With His New Camera

Posted on Thu, 03/12/2009 - 00:00 by Justin_Strong
We brought Omed to Wolfson Medical Center today for his first follow up echocardiogram. Omed has become somewhat of a paparazzo using his new camera to take pictures of anyone at any time, and was snapping away as he waited his turn for the echo. The report from the echo was very good, and may be able to return home soon if his next echo shows good signs. Omed and Um Omed have been joking with us saying that they would like three more echos, maybe four... or five, so that they would be able to stay with us longer in Jerusalem. 

Can't Wait to Get Home

Posted on Sun, 03/08/2009 - 00:00 by Justin_Strong

We brought Omed back to Jerusalem from Wolfson Medical Center today after he healed sufficiently to leave the hospital environment (he's pictured at left with Halo, who's recovering from his own surgery on Thursday).

When I arrived in the children's ward Omed and his mother were very eager to leave; they hustled their bags to our van without waiting for my help and could hardly wait for me to get Omed's medication from the nurses.

After the drive back to Jerusalem, we arrived to find that Um (mother of) Alaa had prepared a tremendous Kurdish meal for Omed, Havan and the volunteers to welcome us back!

Doing Much Better Today

Posted on Thu, 03/05/2009 - 00:00 by Justin_Strong
I visited Omed today at the Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv. Omed was doing much better today than yesterday, very alert and appeared to be in much less pain. We were able to talk, open some Purim gifts of candy, and toy masks.
To my amazement, Omed even managed to get up and walk to the play room to go on a computer.
Pray that this young man will continue on a speedy road to recovery!

Ill With Virus

Posted on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

We decided to wait for an expected call from the hospital about Halos surgery today before leaving to see Omed. I had heard that Omed was in the intermediate ICU yesterday, so I anticipated seeing him there after taking Halo for his admission. Instead, as we approached, Omeds mother was coming towards us from the ward, and calling me to come to see Omed. It seems that yesterday he was not satisfied that I could not be with him after surgery and had been continuously asking where I was. When Um ("mother of") Omed called the house yesterday and asked Um Rasan to tell me to come to the hospital, it was not possible, so I called her back, and spoke to Omed by phone. His mother was profusely thankful for this small gesture to comfort her son. Knowing this, I was looking forward to seeing Omed, and especially his contagious smile once I heard he was in the ward, but found him struggling and moaning with pain and nausea. He was clearly very uncomfortable, and at his mothers request I went to the nurse to see about pain medication for him. It was indeed time for more medicine, and shortly after receiving it, Omed did doze off for a little while.

However, when his mother requested a picture with her son and lightly touched his shoulder, Omed awoke again, still moaning and nauseous. He began to vomit a little, which was painful in itself, and the misery was still ongoing when we left after several hours. I spoke to the doctor on duty in the ward who assured us that this was not connected to Omeds excellent surgery and recuperation, but instead was likely a virus, and that it could get worse before it gets better. Will you please make Omeds healing from this virus a focus of your prayers?

During the course of the afternoon I called our friend Mazal to help translate from Kurdish for the doctor so he could tell Mazal directly in Hebrew and she could tell Um Omed in Kurdish what was happening. We also called on Abu Halo and Um Havan to settle her concern that because he was having a problem it must be from the heart surgery. Like any mother, his mother wants to do everything she can to help him feel better and recuperate quickly, but this virus is something which would typically have to run its course. Once she understood that it was not related to the heart, she was more settled. I prayed for Omed before leaving, and told him I would see him again tomorrow. It is my hope that when we see Omed in the morning well see the evidence of answered prayer.

The Weakest Of Smiles

Posted on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

Amazingly Omed was out of the ICU Wednesday just one day after his open-heart surgery. But the effects of his surgery were still obvious, as he strained to open his eyes and to speak in a low whisper to his mother. Only once was this normally grinning boy able to produce the weakest of smiles.

But his mother and medical staff can only be happy at the speed of his recovery. We thank God for preserving his life through the surgery, and for the promise of new life for Omed.

Omed's Surgery Day

Posted on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 00:00 by donna
Justin and I arrived at the hospital today several hours before Omed came up from his open heart surgery, so we could sit with and encourage his mother. She was very glad to see us, and seemed to be doing well under the strain of waiting, but she was anxious for the time to come when Omed would return from surgery. We were told his surgery would likely last about seven hours, and expected him to come to the ICU around 2:00pm, so felt we had time to go to the cafeteria with Omed's mom and Havan's mom for some lunch. Much to our surprise, just after 1:00 when we returned from the cafeteria, we found that Omed was in the ICU already, and that Omed's mother could go in to see him! It was at that point that Omed's mom's display of strength fell to reveal how shaken she was at seeing her son after surgery. After only a glance she walked away and cried very hard for just a minute, then went to the sink in the ICU and splashed water on her face and got a drink. Dr. Sasson, the surgeon, came by and told her the surgery was very good and Omed was doing well, but she couldn't seem to grasp all that was going on around us quite yet. She walked back over to the bedside and looked again, and started dialing Omed's father in Iraq. It was then that I noticed that she was shaking all over, and Justin quickly got a chair under her so she could sit down.
After only a few minutes she left us saying she was going to go pray and thank God for Omed's surgery. I remained behind to pray over Omed and thank God for His wonderful help in this step for fulfilling His plan for Omed's life. The next time Justin and I went into the ICU, Omed's mom was much more composed. She was clearly relieved at how well Omed was doing, as if the reality of the doctor's words to us had sunk in. Omed seemed to be about to wake up, yet the nurse attending him shared that he would not be extubated until tomorrow. I explained to Omed's mom that he would be sleeping until tomorrow, and that she should sleep too.
She was smiling and thankful after a few more minutes visiting together, and then a special guest came in to see her--Mazal, an Iraqi friend who occasionally visits our patients. This made the rest of her afternoon a treat, so we said our goodbyes at that time. Another surprise came when I spoke Omed's name to say goodbye, and he opened his eyes to look at me!
Let's pray together that as Omed wakes up he will be able to quickly overcome the pain, and begin eating and drinking normally right away. Pray that his sweet mother will not be anxious if his recovery takes a little longer than she might want, and that she and Omed will soon be able to converse and joke with each other just as they had done before his surgery.
Justin adds:
Donna and I went to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv today to support Um ("mother of") Omed through the process of her sons surgery. She was visibly nervous but seemed to be in good spirits. We convinced her to sit with Um Havan, Donna, and me for lunch in the cafeteria to encourage her and help distract her from dwelling on the surgery which had been underway for several hours by that point. She has said on a few occasions that I remind her of one of her older sons, noting especially how much I was eating. When we finished lunch we returned to the ICU to find that Omed had been brought in while we were eating. Um Omed had a difficult time seeing her son in such a condition and needed to sit down outside the ICU for a short while. The report by several doctors and nurses was that everything went very well and that there were no problems with Omeds surgery, and at this news Um Omed was able to relax. Omed, being as determined as ever, seemed to be trying to wake up already, just a couple hours after his surgery! The nurses gave him another dose of medicine to keep him asleep and stabilized. Please pray that his recovery will continue to move smoothly and that his mother would be at peace beside him.

Omed Brave on Surgery Eve

Posted on Sun, 03/01/2009 - 00:00 by Justin_Strong

Today we brought Omed down to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv to be checked in for his heart surgery tomorrow. The drive down was rainy, windy, and the roads were slick, but we managed to get everyone there in one piece. Once we arrived Omed had his vital signs checked, blood drawn, and lines in his arms put in. Omed is very brave for twelve years old and though he was in obvious pain he managed to joke and make light of what he was experiencing, sticking his tongue out at the camera for the picture. 

He got a little too brave however after the blood work was done when he sat up quickly and immediately became light headed. He had to lay down for another 15-20 minutes at the doctors command, which was an opportunity for more joking.

Omed and his mother have a very special relationship as well, they seem to take care of one another and support each other's needs very lovingly, often through a light hearted joke. When he was getting comfortable in the hospital bed, Omed was saying facetiously that he wants us to take many pictures of his mother when she cries during his surgery for our website, but in reality it's clear he is trying to minimize this surgery so that his mother will not be worried. When I left them, Omed and his mother were resting comfortably, Um Omed taking care of his physical needs, and Omed taking care of her emotional needs.