Touch and Heart II

At nine months of age, our younger daughter was subject to a heart catheterization, to determine the nature and extent of her heart problems. One of the risks that we were made aware of was the possibility of oxygen deprivation. Think about it: a small tube inserted in a vein, via the leg and up to the heart. Nine months old, with no body fat, due to heart problems. They showed us a video of what they were going to do and what could happen. We consented to the treatment.

The risk that was associated with the operation…happened. Oxygen deprivation, during the course of determining that she had two holes in her heart.

I remember my ex-wife commenting as to how sad our daughter appeared, after she was brought home.

Over the next two years, our daughter wasn’t meeting the milestones for her age.

After two years, our daughter had the first of several grand mal seizures that she has had during her life, to date. She also is subject to less severe seizures. She is medically classified as an epileptic.

We will never know who she could have been, and whether we were ill-considered in consenting to such an operation, at nine months of age.

At seven years of age, our younger daughter underwent open heart surgery. The doctors waiting as long as they considered medically advisable, since open heart surgery on young children, similar to heart catheterizations on young children, is particularly fraught with risk.

Our daughter was fortunate, at the age of seven, to be subject to the miracle of touch and heart, for which we will be forever grateful. She also was discovered to have three holes in her heart, rather than two. We may never know who she could have been, but we know and love very much who she is.

The doctors who do this type of surgery are in a zone of high risk and miracle. One such doctor is the father of my friend and former student, Husam Azhar. In a connection that cannot be random, it turns out that he is one of those who saves the lives of children, though saving their hearts. He has performed many heart catheterizations, and many at no charge to anyone. So much so, that he is considered newsworthy. In one news article, to which Husam referred me, it says that this is the 14th stage of a particular program in Yemen. The program has completed around 270 open heart surgeries and heart catheterization operations. It also says that this is Dr. Azhar’s 4th visit to Yemen to perform hearth catheterization operations. The program supports families with limited income, since it would cost them $5000 (U.S.) to perform such an operation in Yemen.

Here is a news clip from Yemeni television, in terms of Dr. Azhar’s activities there. Husam’s translation is as follows:

The newscaster:

Today has started, at the Kuwait University Hospital in Sanaa (Yemen), Tayba’s (pediatric heart catheterization) program. The program is led by Taybah Charity Development and funded by the “World Assembly of Muslim Youth“. The program’s goal is to complete 25 operations for free. Different types of operations will be preformed in support to the sick children and their families.

Then Dr. Azhar comments:

Today we are here to conduct heart catheterization operations for children who were born with congenital heart defects. Thank to Allah, we started the program, we have 25 patients waiting for us. We will try to complete the operations for them in this 3 day visit. Congenital heart defects include a variety of diseases that a child may be born with. We ask Allah to cure all sick children.

All in the eyes; concern and care.

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7 Responses to Touch and Heart II

  1. Ahmad Azhar says:

    I do this kind of activity every year as part of my social responsibility towards the community, the poor and needy. My Lord Allah blessed me with so many blessings and I do beleive we should thank Him by returning some of these blessings to His people. I also beleive that when you help others, God will help you in a time where you need the help most.

    One of our life problems is related to the fact that most of us want to take and few want to take and give, and very few are givers. One of my best moments in my life is when I draw a smile from the face of a child and his family.

    Ahmad Azhar

    Please let Husam translate this for you:

    من كان في في حاجة اخيه كان الله في حاجته , ومن ستر مسلما ستره الله في الدنيا والآخرة ومن فرج عن مسلم كربة من كرب الدنيا فرج الله عنه بها كربة من كرب يوم القيامة والله في عون العبد ما كان العبد في عون أخيه

  2. On July 6, 2012, Husam Azhar provided the following translation of the passage quoted by his father, Dr. Ahmed Azhar:

    “Whoever relieves a believer of some of the distress of this world, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Resurrection. Whoever makes things easier for one who is suffering hardship, Allah will make things easier for him in this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals a Muslim’s faults, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah will help a person, so long as he helps his brother.” (Narrated by Muslim, 4/2074).

  3. On July 6, 2012, Husam Azhar commented further, as follows:

    The translation I gave you is missing the narrator. It is also part of a longer hadith, I gave you the portion that my father mentioned. It is important to include that it is narrated by the Prophet.

    On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

    Whoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Resurrection. And whoever alleviates the need of a needy person, Allah will alleviate his needs in this world and the Hereafter. Whoever shields [or hides the misdeeds of] a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah will aid His slave so long as he aids his brother. And whoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the Houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that sakeenah (tranquility) descends upon them, and mercy envelops them, and the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them amongst those who are with Him. And whoever is slowed down by his actions, will not be hastened forward by his lineage. It was related by Muslim in these words.

  4. Despite your tribulations, having seen you care for your daughter, I know that you are fortunate. My wife Haruyo and I have a family of step-children to each other. We had one child together: a daughter, Hana. Hana was born very prematurely. The doctors said that, had she made it even one more week, she would have had a much better chance. The doctors did their best; my priest came to give the Last Rites. She died after a day of struggle. I still think of what might have been.

  5. On July 7, 2012, Neil Remington Abramson commented further, as follows (e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission):

    Hana Elise was born in 2001, very prematurely. The doctors said that she would likely have been specially disabled, though the earlier tests showed normal. She was the only child who was not a stepchild as between us.

    A tragedy like that gets shut away quickly; rarely mentioned; but close.

    We have her ashes. She will be buried with us.

  6. Further to his earlier comments, which referenced the death of his son, I asked Tyler Reynolds if he felt comfortable recounting further. On July 24, 2012, Tyler commented as follows (e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission):

    Our son’s development during pregnancy was textbook. He even put my wife into labour on his due date. Everything was going perfectly, although there was meconium tinging the waters when they broke, and labour was very precipitous by a first time-mother standards. Our mid-wife informed us that there was a good chance that we may have to deliver before we get to the hospital, but we wanted to have the best care available if there were any complications, so we made the choice to drive, and made it to the ward just in time, though deliberately travelling slowly.

    There were no indications of complications until he started crowning, and then his heartbeat became irregular. Two contractions later, he was out, but unconscious. The midwives had to call the obstetric floor’s crash team three times before they arrived, but once they did, they got to work vigorously. We didn’t even get to hold his hand, while they worked, away from us.

    It didn’t work.

    After 40 minutes, they brought his corpse back, fully dressed and diapered (which I found disturbing) for us to hold, and say our good byes to.

    The ensuing autopsy was inconclusive. There was evidence of a minor heart valve defect that is rarely associated with mortality, and regularly corrects itself as the child matures. There was evidence of meconium in his lungs, which is common with any baby born in distress (first breath attempted while still in utero). The coroner’s report stated that there was insufficient
    evidence to support a definitive cause of death.

    Jayson’s ‘life day’ as we call it, is 12 January (2002), and his sisters know about him. His body was cremated, and his remains are in a special corner of our home.

    I’m a little more habituated with death than my wife. Nonetheless, our marriage endured the tragedy, purportedly against the odds, and our first daughter was born about 13 months later–also on her due date.

  7. In his autobiography, Life, Keith Richards comments as follows, in relation to the death of his son, Tara, in 1976:

    …I got the news that our little son, Tara, aged just over two months, had been found dead in his cot. …the only thing that kept me going through that was (my son) Marlon and the day-to-day work of taking care of a seven year-old on the road. …What happened? I know very little about the circumstances. All I knew about Tara was this beautiful little boy in the cradle. …(His mother) Anita found him in the morning. I wasn’t about to ask questions at the time. Only Anita knew. As for me, I should never have left him. …leaving a newborn is something I can’t forgive myself for. …Anita and I, to this day, have never talked about it.

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