Riley International Heart Missions

Archive for March 2009

Update….back home day #1

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Well, couldn’t stay away and had to update all of you…

Thanks to Rudy and Caroline Vines…we have pictures and updates on a few of the children

Rudy sent me a wonderful  picture of Aboudi after discharge looking fantastic.

Aboudi after discharge...so happy!

Aboudi after discharge...so happy!

and Caroline sent us pictures from today when she went to the hospital of Julyanna and Heba both extubated!

These pictures made us cry to see that they are doing well. Shookron Caroline for letting us get another glimpse at our kids from back here in US.  The significance of the Kleenex box for those of you that don’t know is that prior to surgery, Mark was about the only one of our team that could make Julyanna happy. The night before surgery this involved playing with her in her room as she stacked Kleenex for a long time.  Mark helped her and she was happy and not crying

Julyanna without her tube!

Julyanna without her tube!

Julyanna and her mom

Julyanna and her mom

  

Julyanna and her Kleenex box

Julyanna and her Kleenex box

 

Heba and her family...I'm sure they are relieved

Heba and her family...I'm sure they are relieved

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March 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm

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Mission day #11

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WE’RE HOME……well, almost!

We arrived at JFK at 6:00 am to a foot of snow!!! Worst storm on east coast all year. Had to be the day we returned. Our flight was cancelled so we waited anxiously all day to get on flight to Cincinnati, finally left after nearly 3 hour delay late afternoon and got to Cincy where we were not guaranteed seats on flight to Indy. So my wonderful husband drove from Indy to Cincy and picked the 6 of us up. We got home about 10:00 last night and our luggage had arrived on that flight to airport…so everyone and everything back home safe and sound.

Brief update via text messaging to Amman…..Julyana had her breathing tube removed today and did well.  She had good oxygen levels. What a relief!

Heba had a stable day, making lots of urine, blood pressure stable and will hopefully have the breathing tube removed tomorrow.  Waleed and Afnan were discharged today to home.

11 children operated on…..9 home and 2 recovering.  What an incredible mission and trip.

We want to thank all of you for your wonderful comments and wishes.  We are glad so many of you were able to take this journey with us and see the children, their families, our colleagues in Amman and friends…….it only shows such a small part of what we experience and how incredible it is. We can’t thank enough the countless people who help to make this mission possible….donors, the GOLA team, the GOL-International team, the GOL-Indianapolis team, Riley Hospital and Clarian, our colleagues at Al-Khalidi Hopsital in Amman, Kal, Rudy, Manal, Fadi….our familes, spouses, children and friends….we could never have achieved all this without every single person.  You all make it all possible for us to do this and touch and help the lives of now 44 middle eastern children born with congenital heart disease! Wow….quite remarkable.

If you feel is some way you would like to help be a part of our future mission, any type of funding is helpful to continue to pay for surgeries for these children.  Rotary and GOL are huge benefactors in these missions but due to the generosity of so many contributors. You can also make donations to the Riley Children’s Foundation, there is an International mission work subaccount specifically for Riley Cardiac Center work.

Again, thank you all for taking this journey with us……we can’t wait for our next opportunity to return.

Anne Farrell

(Update from Kal..just a minute ago, Tuesday morning…Julyana looks great today, took two small feedings! Heba was extubated (off the breathing machine) and “looks fantastic”…..what a relief!!)

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March 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm

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Mission day #10

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We spent the morning on our whirlwind tour of Jerusalem, touring the Islamic quarter which has the famous wailing wall and the incredible Dome of the Rock, the mosque which is symbolic and the cornerstone of Jerusalem.  We walked the Via Dolorosa, which marks the stations of the corss where Jesus walked and spent his journey while carrying the cross to Golgatha.  The last stations end in the Church of the Holy Seplicur.  We finished by going to Mount of Olives, where Jesus prayed his final night before dying and where Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  This is also where the Virgin Mary is buried.  We headed back across the border and returned to the hospital in the early afternoon.

Team at Dome of the Rock

Team at Dome of the Rock

Farah was ready to be discharged and her family was waiting for our arrival to say goodbye. She had on the outfit that Megan and her mother had bought for her and she looked adorable!  It was very emotional saying goodbye to she and her family since we have become so close to them.  We have known them for 2 years and have seen this girl’s life transforn to one from being very blue, to not the picture of health, pink and full of energy. I’m sure we will see them again at our next trip.

Mark and Farah before discharge

Mark and Farah before discharge

 

Anne and Farah

Aboudi was discharged this morning. Unfortunately, we didn;t see him before he left.  We saw a picture, though of him this morning and when Rudy sends it to me I will post it because he looks great!  They are all very anxious to take him out this week (he has become part of their families since he has lived here for 4 months) to see what kind of energy he now has.  THey said he was always getting tired before and had no energy.  He will leave to go home to Iraq this Thursday…I’m sure his mother is so anxious to FINALLY return home!

Sangar and Darwon, reportedly were out shopping yesterday! Can you believe it. They have the energy to do fun things.  THey had their check-up with Kal yesterday and look great and will leave to go back to Kurdistan, Iraq tomorrow.  I hope we will see them again some day.  They are two remarkable children.

Noor was seen in clinic today and looked great. Her saturations with the shunt were 89%!! We are very hopeful she will be a candidate for future surgery amd can’t wait to see her again. Her beautiful smile lights up a room. She and her parents are headed back to Syria tomorrow.

Ahmad was spotted by our team on the streets of Amman shopping with his mother!  They ran into him and he looked great. We have a picture, I have to get it from Megan but will post it soon. He looked amazing.  He also will return to Syria tomorrow.

Ahmad spied on the streets of Amman shopping

Ahmad spied on the streets of Amman shopping

Back in the hospital, Waleed and Afnan are both on the floor. THey both look great and are eating well and doing great. They will both be discharged tomorrow.  Afnan will require a completion of the Fontan operation in about 2 years, so we hope to see her back next year.

Waleed sleeping soundly

Waleed sleeping soundly

Afnan looking good

Afnan looking good

 

In the ICU, Julyana looks so much better than when we saw her Friday.  Her saturations were 100%. Good urine output, blood pressures finally stable and off epinephrine.  Plan is to remove the breathing tube tomorrow.  Her mother had a smile on her face when we walked in the room.  She is definitely a hard one to leave. THink we will be able to get updates about her in Iraq, we havef their cell phone and her father speaks some English.  We have grown very attached to her and her mother, and it’s reassuring to see her doing better.  We really wish we coould have seen her off the ventilator and going home.  Hopefully our friends there will send us pictures.

Julyanna and autograph heart pillow

Julyanna and autograph heart pillow

Mark saying goodbye to Julyanna and her mother...very difficult

Mark saying goodbye to Julyanna and her mother...very difficult

Heba had another rocky morning, she pulled out her breathing tube and had to be reintubated emergently.  She is better now. We are worried about infection.  Her parents have such look of worry on their faces but are so appreciative and thankful. Again, she is another one I wish we could stay longer to make sure she is out of the woods.  We said many, many prayers in the Holy Land this weekend, especially for these two.

Mark and Heba's parents

Mark and Heba's parents

Megan and Heba..saying goodbye

Megan and Heba..saying goodbye

We departed for the Amman airport about 9:30 pm for our midnight departure.  Very hard to again leave all our colleagues and friends, but has always gotten easier because it is not goodbye but see you next year.  There are always lots of tears at the airport, but the bonds become stronger and stronger each time we return.

saying goodbye to our colleagues

saying goodbye to our colleagues

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March 3, 2009 at 3:03 pm

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Mission day #9

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Our team at the CHurch of the Holy Seplicur

Our team at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Pouring down rain here in Jerusalem….

Had a few hours reprieve with sunshinie to see the Old City, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (site that marks Jeses’ crucifixion and burial) Church is built on Golgatha (rock of the site of crucifixion) and Mount Zion (site of Jesus’ imprisonment, Peter’s denial of Jesus and the Last Supper).

The team at Mt. Zion

The team at Mt. Zion

We traveled up to the Sea of Galilee and then finished our day in Jericho.  We went to the home of our friend Dr. Kal (our peds cardiologist in Jordan)’s aunt and visited with her.  She is 92 years old and has lived in the same house  since 1930.  They were so hospitable to 6 Americans that they had never met before.  Offering us home-grown bananas (which were delicious by the way) and tea.

The girls with Kal's 92 yr. old aunt in Jericho

The girls with Kal's 92 yr. old aunt in Jericho

Back in Jordan, update, Julyana had a good day. Heba had a very rocky morning and needed to reintubated and had low blood pressure.  She was stable last we spoke with good urine output.  Hard to not be there while she is having some difficulty.  This is the difficulty we always feel when we leave and not all of the children are completely out of the woods.  The care they receive from our colleagues in Jordan is excellent, but it’s just hard for us in general to leave the children and their families.  Some we may never see again. Many have access to email and cell phones and are great about sending pictures and keeping us up to date. Noor was discharged today as well and Ahmad, the two children from Syria.  That leaves 6 children left in the hospital, 5 home.

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March 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm

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