Last week I made my first visit to one of ‘our kids’ – Aras, the start of what I hope to spend much time doing here as ‘Director of Rehabilitation & Family Relations’ for BSSL.
Aras was the first kid that was mostly funded for his surgery through BSSL . When we arrived in his neighborhood we first spotted him out playing on the street with his friends – running around, laughing, having fun! It was my first time to meet him and I definitely would not have suspected that he had been through so much in the past few months!
I had a wonderful time with Aras and his family. They thanked us over and over again for all that we had done to help Aras. His mom had put together an extensive photo album telling Aras’s story during his time in Jordan. It was fun having Aras talk me through all the photos from him lying on his bed immediately following surgery through all the various stages of recovery. He’s a real sweet kid!
Thank you for making it possible for kids like Aras to have the life saving operations that they need! Arya and Rebar just returned on Saturday so I’m also hoping to be able to visit them soon. This week I’ll also be visiting Baveel so check in again soon to see an update on how he’s doing.
Today both Aras and Delshad dashed through snow in Jerusalem, loaded into a bus with their mothers, and began the journey to travel back home to Iraq. This day marks a very eventful journey for these 2 boys!
Just a few months ago both boys were plagued with heart problems that were holding them back from living the normal life of a rowdy young boy (not to mention threatening their very lives!) and burdening their families greatly with worry. Here they are today with healthy, healed hearts, heading home to start a new chapter in life.
We’re speechless, really, to be involved in restoring health (and so much more!) to these children. Keep spreading the word, because, as you can see with your own eyes- it’s so worth it!
As I pulled up to the Shevet house, Aras, Hardi, and Dilshad dashed through the newly fallen snow with unrestraint. Once they were all piled in the van, their destination was the Al Aqsa mosque where each family spent some time in prayer. Then it was time for lunch before saying final goodbyes and heading for Jordan.
During the two hour drive, the boys practiced the many English words they learned during their stay. Aras and Hardi amazed me with their newfound skill of counting to 100 and pointing to parts of their face, saying “nose, mouth, ears”….. they now were showing off and we all began to laugh!
January 23, 2008 by Jeremy · Comments Off
On January 3rd Aras received heart surgery and has been succesfully healing and recovering since then. He has now been given a clean bill of health and was released from the hospital in Jordan on January 21st. He and his mother will be returning to their home in Iraq to begin a new phase of life- free from worry about Aras’s heart. We’re really excited to welcome him back to Iraq and to watch how much more he can enjoy life now!
Delshad is also recovering from his heart surgey that took place on December 30th. Due to some further problems he had to undergo a second surgery on January 3rd. This took quite the emotional toll on Delshad’s mother who has been at his side every step of the way. Delshad has shown great improvement however after both surgeries, giving his mother much hope! Delshad will receive his last echocardiogram on Thursday, January 24th and hopefully be released after that!
Aras has been discharged from the hospital as he continues strengthening after his open-heart surgery. His heart is doing so well that doctors today gave Aras a clean bill of health and the green light to go home to Iraq and a bright new future!
Aras moved out of ICU today, he was watching basketball in the corner bed of the intermediate ICU ward, with his mother at his side. He was not doing much eating, she told us, and it was clear he was still not back to his usual “chipper” attitude yet. He did perk up a bit when he learned that his new friend Hardi was now being admitted for surgery. After Hardi’s pre-op necessities, he came down to visit Aras. He and Baveel, as well as all of the mothers who just arrived last week, had been asking about him.
Aras was glad to see Hardi and they talked a little while, as did their mothers. They were glad their boys were going to have surgery within a few days of each other.
Aras was moved to another ward today. He began throwing up this morning from a virus, and was still not eating. I saw his mother in the hall, and followed her down the hallways until we found Aras’ new room. He was very subdued, and was on an IV for fluids. His mother was worried, but thankful that he was ok.
January 3, 2008 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Today it was finally time for Aras’ surgery. Accompanying an older child for their surgery is very different than going with one of the toddlers or pre-school aged children. Patients here are not given any sedation before they go to the operating room, so Aras was fully alert, and knew exactly what was about to happen, and couldn’t hide his fear in those final moments. Seeing him cry made his mother cry too. Seeing Diyka Aras’ distress as we walked out into the hallway, one of the medical personnel asked us to wait while she went to check on how long it would be before he would come upstairs. The answer we were given was that it would be a long surgery of about five hours.
Five hours later. Dr. Sasson, the surgeon who performed the operation, came by and told us that everything went very well. Diyka Aras was very relieved, yet as is always the case, she wasn’t able to be sure all was well until she saw her son for herself. When we saw two men wheeling his bed down the hall to the ICU, she cried and thanked God as we walked with them until they were inside.
At that time the phone calls began in order to give the family in Iraq the good news. We were able to go in to see Aras after about 45 minutes, and were told again that his surgery went very well.
Diyka Aras was telling thanking everyone for everything they’d done for her son. Your prayers and donations have been used by God to bring us to the life-changing time in Aras and his family’s lives.
Aras’ surgery was postponed until tomorrow because of an emergency which required his slot. This time they did not look so disappointed, and in fact seemed accepting because of the reason things were happening this way. Aras’ mother was also attempting to encourage Mustafa’s mother when she approached and began to shed tears as she talked about Mustafa’s condition. This good natured boy must be getting anxious about all the times he’s had to go through the pre-op essentials, and fast from foods after midnight. We will update you tomorrow about the status of Aras after his surgery.
December 17, 2007 by Jeremy · Comments Off
What do little boys with heart problems do while waiting for heart surgery? Apparently they ride their bikes much like other little boys do… The boys are sick and need help… but they don’t let that stop them from having fun and living a full life while they can. It’s so fun to see the way they just go for it and live it up; emotionally uninhibited by the setbacks they face! Would that we all were so vivacious and resilient!Thanks for all you do. Soon these boys won’t have to monitor the duration of their bike rides quite so closely, inshallah (God willing)!
December 5, 2007 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Aras was prepped for his catheterization today, waiting for his turn, playing with a small brass dreidel (or top) in his bed. All week the patients have been receiving gifts and candy from visiting school children and other volunteer groups, and this was one of his treats from a Hanukkah gift. It was quiet entertainment while he waited. However, because the catheterization lasted much longer than usual for the first child this morning, and he was to be the third one of the day, Aras’s cath had to be delayed. Since Aras could not have his catheterization today, he was dismissed back to the Save A Child’s Heart house. It is likely he will be rescheduled for next Wednesday, the day the caths are performed.