February 23, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
I got word that our pig-tailed girl in the red coat left the ICU and was resting in her hospital room up on the sixth floor. So I grabbed my translator-friend and made the climb to hear more of Zahraa’s story.
Her father welcomed me into their room and we all sat down. He jumped right in and explained that his family had looked for a surgery for 3 years and spent over 17 million Iraqi dinar (nearly $15,000) on their search.
Zahraa had even been scheduled for surgery 7 other times, but each resulted in cancelation. Sometimes Zahraa got sick, and other times the Iraqi doctors got cold feet. It was a lot of disappointment to stomach.
But the mood couldn’t stay sad, because Zahraa’s life had already been saved! Her father beamed with joy and gratitude as he shared of his daughter’s dreams: “She begs me for sewing supplies. She wants to make dolls for herself and her friends.”
He went on to explain that the recent surgery made her want to be a doctor. She still wants sewing supplies, but she can’t decide if she would rather use them to make dolls for her friends or to give her friends stitches!
Regardless, Zahraa now has this and many other choices ahead of her because of your generosity! Thank for saving the life of this precious little girl!
February 20, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
We passed the midway point of Remedy Mission IX, and, for me, everything seemed to be moving in slow-motion.
It was the best problem any hospital could hope for: boredom.
When the alternatives are problems like drama between medical staff, complications in the ICU, or even death, I’ll take boredom any day!
I had already completed my morning rounds of photos and family meet-’n-greets, and I was back dozing in the break room, debating whether or not to eat an extremely unripe banana.
Then the break room door opened and in walked the little girl in the red coat. She was hugging a doll and squeaking something at me in Arabic.
Her dad poked his head into the room, apparently glad to have found her. He seemed embarrassed by her intrusion, but we invited them to sit and share their story.
I learned that the girl’s name is Zahraa, she is 6 years old, she has a beyond-your-typical-little-girl obsession with dolls, and she needs an urgent heart surgery.
While talking with her father, Zahraa leaned toward me from her dad’s arms and whispered something to me in Arabic.
“She says she loves you,” a translator explained.
Initiating heart meltdown.
As if that wasn’t enough, she proceeded to grab my head and kiss me on the cheek and then to tell everyone else in the room that she loved them, too. Her malformed heart certainly has no trouble expressing love! But she still needs an operation and, according to her father, it is scheduled to happen soon.
Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you more about the little girl in the red coat and her (hopefully) lifesaving operation!
February 12, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
I was a little worried when Hamma had to be carried from the ICU into the children’s ward. But the doctors said he is doing well and should be able to go home in a few hours. Then, sure enough, he perked up and now he’s walking all over the place!
After a sick heart, a smashed nose, and a surgery, I finally got what seems to be a smile out of this little boy. Isn’t he cute?
And he has reason to smile! His surgery was a complete success, and he is going home. Thank you for making Hamma’s surgery possible, and thank you for putting his best days ahead of him!
Mohammed – quite possibly one of the cutest kids in southern Iraq – is currently resting after his successful surgery!
On our last day at the hospital we found out that Mohammed has suffered through much more than a failing heart; just before he was born his father left their family, and his mother was left to raise him alone.
That’s a big deal in a region like southern Iraq. It’s not easy for a woman to take on that kind of responsibility alone, which is why I feel such respect for Mohammed’s mother.
Like so many single mothers, she worked hard to raise an amazing kid, and she helped get him to the place where his life could be saved.
So, as we near the end of Remedy Mission VI, we’re celebrating Mohammed’s successful surgery, but we can’t really celebrate his life without acknowledging the hero who has always stood behind him.
We’re excited that Mohammed’s heart is healing, and he can now grow into a man capable of caring for the woman who sacrificed so much for him.
So from Mohammed, his mother, and all of us – thanks for saving his life!