Friday, February 27, 2009

Sakher's Catherization - Feb 24 09

We all met at Maha's flat in the morning to accompany Sakher, his mom, Nadia and her sister, Badyia to the clinic for Sakher's catherization.

We had a long wait and Sakher was scared - and hungry since he had to fast prior to the procedure. When we told him he could have ice cream after his cath, he protested and told us he preferred Colonel Sanders instead! He entertained himself by coloring in his coloring book, playing video games on Lana's cell phone, and making faces.

Sakher's father joined us. We had not met him before as he has a second wife and is not as present in Sakher's life as he once had been. He was very worried about and loving to his son.

Finally it was time! We all went with him into the cath room. Sakher was ok until the anesthesiologist tried to put the gas mask over his face. He did NOT like this and fought determinedly until the anethesiologist decided that it would be best to administer a sedative by IV before administering the gas. Finally he went under and Lana and I left for a meeting during the procedure.

When we returned, Nadia told us that the procedure had lasted longer than it was supposed to and that Sakher had woken during it several times and had to be re-anethesized. Sakher was thrilled with the blow-up Superman Lana brought him. Shaker wants to be a super-hero when he grows up!

This was an emotional event for all of us - especially Nadia who now must wait until the pediatric cardiology team looks at the results of the catherization and determines whether or not Sakher's heart can be repaired.

When we were in the clinic on Sunday waiting for Sakher's evaluation, we met another mother in the waiting room. She had traveled from Baghdad to Amman to have her daughter operated on by the US team with Dr Salameh. Little Fatima is six years old but was the size of a two year old. She is developmentally disabled as well as having the heart condition. Her mother was up-beat then, eager to get help for her only child.

When Maha, Lana and I returned to the hospital after our meeting, Badyia told us that Um Fatima was devastated - she had been just been told that her daughter could not be operated on and that she should return to Iraq and expect her daughter to die. Lana and I could not stand the idea of this woman being alone in Amman and hearing this terrible news so we went to find her. When we did, she was walking the hallway, crying quietly. Lana and I cried with her and just held her. There are times when there are no words sufficient enough to express feelings and when you don't have to understand the others' language to communicate.