Post surgery update: Ali's heart is doing great! The rest of Ali's body is slowly catching up too.
Surgery, time away from home, and pain management after his lifesaving heart surgery left Ali without an appetite. He's a skinny kid who can't afford to lose much weight. But a week after being home, with his mom preparing his favourite food, Ali was exactly where he needed to be with recovery.
Ali and Mohammad both found it scary to return to the hospital to have their stitches removed. But when he needed to be brave, Ali found courage. His father was amazing and spoke gently to his son through the whole procedure.
Our visit with Ali at home was beautiful and encouraging. We wanted to hear how he was feeling and to check on follow-up instructions from his doctors. But it became so much more than that. The whole family participated—everyone wanted to be together for this.
When we expressed concern that Ali wasn't eating well, his mother popped up and made a plate of food for her son—soft cooked eggs, tomatoes and flat bread. His grandmother added her observations about how Ali was managing at home. Ali's brothers listened closely with concern; they leaned in to catch every word, following as the conversation was translated from English, to Kurdish, and finally into the Arabic they know. They stuck around for our whole visit, when they would usually head outside to play with the neighbourhood kids. And Ali's father? He smiled and took it all in. He has been transformed over the last month, and it still shows every time we see him.
Follow-up Appointment today: "Perfect!" "Perfect! "Perfect!" The doctor performed a fresh scan of Ali's chest, to make sure his heart was healing well after his surgery. And every time he got the ultrasound wand into the correct position, showing the inner workings of Ali's chest on a screen, his response was the same "Perfect!"
His scar has healed nicely. His colour is good. And Ali has put on a little weight! Somehow since his surgery he's transformed from a boy into a young man.