"We Were About To Sell Our Home"—Getting To Know Zahraa's Family

A photo collage of Zahraa in her room on the ward.

Zahraa isn't in the best mood right now.

I was making ward rounds visiting families and I stopped in to check on her. Immediately after exchanging our 'salaams' her parents asked, "Can you tell what's wrong? She won't stop crying, she has a fever, and she is upset whenever we touch her."

Now, I've already told you guys that I'm non-medical. I don't claim to be a doctor. But I've picked up a few things about post-operative care from some of the nurses, and so, after a few minutes of discussion, it became apparent Zahraa was in pain because—wait for it—she hadn't been given her pain meds.

Yes, I figured that out all by myself. Smart, huh?

To be serious, it's extremely frustrating to think of Zahraa spending an entire night in pain just because a local doctor didn't take the time to come check on her and give her the necessary medication.

But we aren't here because the place has competent doctors—it's actually quite the opposite! We choose to work in Iraq because it's difficult and because doctors need to learn about things like how and when to distribute medication. Slowly but surely, mission by mission, our partner nurses are writing and enforcing protocols, the surgeons are teaching (and reteaching) surgical techniques, and things are improving.

But last night was a mistake. Zahraa's parents and grandmother (pictured above cuddling with Zahraa) were worried sick. Being non-medical, they did what they could; they bought her outrageously large stuffed animals (pictured above), tried to hold her, sing for her—nothing worked. For all they knew, their daughter was dying. Thankfully, she wasn't. I left and brought back one of the nurses to give a more proper inspection. Zahraa took her medicine and began feeling better just a few minutes later, and she's been fine since then.

With that resolved and the doctor on duty reprimanded (not by me), I sat down to learn more about Zahraa, her parents, and their family's surgery search. Her father explained that they learned of her heart problem when she was eight months old and that—thank God—she's the only one in their family with a known heart problem.

When asked about their fears for Zahraa, her father shared,"We were so afraid that she would suffer and be unable to mix normally with other girls. We thought about her constantly—what can we do? How can we help? We knew we had to do something, so we eventually decided to sell our house."

Zahraa's parents love her with such intensity that they were prepared to make as many sacrifices as it took to help their little girl. It was obvious, sitting in their hospital room, that they were telling the truth. I'd seen how the mother and grandmother cared for Zahraa, and how the father was constantly taking breaks from work to come check in.

But, thanks to you, Zahraa's parents didn't have to sell their home.

After years of distress, their daughter is well on her way to recovery now, and she even has a home to go back to—thank you for saving her!

Would you like to be a part of saving more lives and houses? You can bless SO many families just by donating for Iraqi children. Donate below to start changing lives now!

Our Partners:
Living Light InternationalInternational Children's Heart Foundation

About Matthew Willingham

Matt Willingham is Preemptive Love's Senior Field Editor and writes primarily on politics, history, general updates and visual peacemaking through photography and film.

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"We Were About To Sell Our Home"—Getting To Know Zahraa's Family
"We Were About To Sell Our Home"—Getting To Know Zahraa's Family
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