Two years ago, due to a generous donation from a local charity organization, we were able to give 6-year-old Furkan a specially designed and fitted wheelchair. Born with some physical as well as mental special needs,, he’s as sweet and lovely a boy as anyone could hope to meet.
Yesterday, after receiving a desperate cry for help from his mother, the team began a prayer chain on Facebook, and served as advocates at the local hospital to save his life.
Directed by a friend of a friend to contact this boy and his family, one of our Kardelen Mercy Teams made their first visit. They found a spotless tiny apartment on the fifth floor. His mother loved her son but was absolutely clueless about the possibility of him ever changing, improving, or learning anything. He and she lived essentially separated from any outside contact other than the few relatives who would visit. Mom carried Furkan on her back whenever she needed to go to the doctor.
Our team then committed themselves to helping both mother and son leave their virtual isolation and hopeless mindset. First, they made regular visits, taking each weekly visit as an opportunity to help the mother learn what she could do which would enhance the health, strength and morale of Furkan. He made observable moves forward which in turn meant a light was turned on in his mom. She became fully engaged and continued on the massaging, feeding, non-verbal communication techniques with her son.
We were all thrilled when we received the donation for 10 special chairs. Immediately, the team assessed his seating and positioning need (with the help of our volunteer American physical therapist), then brought and seated him in his first ever wheelchair—one, by the way, which is designed in such a way that it is adjustable to suit his growth.
But Furkan’s physical condition when we first found him was pretty dire. Lack of proper seating and treatment meant that his spinal curvature was severe. He, like our dear Birol and Bushra, is always in need of help to make sure that his lungs stay free. A common cold is deadly for these children. A month ago his mother rushed him to the hospital to try to save his life. He couldn’t catch his breath and he couldn’t fight the infection.
This hospital is the largest public hospital in the city. Anytime day or night you will find hundreds of people milling around outside, crowding the emergency wards, camping out in the rooms of those who have come for some kind of treatment. It’s a nightmare for someone who has no money or connections. —And Furkan has neither.
After three weeks of Furkan lingering between life and death in one bed of a crowded ward, we learned that the doctors had told the mother that they need a special oxygen tank, hospital bed, and medications. Our team member phoned me to ask my advice and if we had the funds to buy the things. Having been in this situation many times before with our Mercy Teams I told her that I had heard that the government has publically promised to buy those necessary items for those whose income levels are below poverty level. “That’s what I thought, Norita Abla,” she answered, “But this poor mom has been told another story by the doctors here. “I’m going in now and relieve the mother for a day. I’ll be his day nurse (Turkish care system custom) while she goes home and gets some rest. I want to see for myself what’s happening.”
An hour later she phoned to ask for prayer. “Furkan is turning blue; his breathing machine keeps buzzing and turning off. No one is coming to look in on him. His mom is sitting here next to me crying her eyes out, sure he’s going to die.”
“Yes,” I answered. “I just saw your post on Facebook. “ We prayed together at that point over the phone. “Go back in to Furkan if you can get in, lay your hands on him and ask the Lord to intervene.” She said that she would and would call me back in a couple of hours to let me know what had happened.
When I answered her phone call the next time, I heard a smile coming through. “Before, I went in to be with Furkan,” she said. “I had to ask for permission to get in to his room. When they asked who I was, I put on my ‘official” hat and announced that I was a volunteer worker under the Department of Social Work of the city and had come to check out the situation of one of our families.
“Norita, you should have seen the look on her face, the phone calls which resulted, the doctors who poured out of their offices—all to rush to Furkan’s side. I went into the room, laid my hands on his chest and asked –in a loud voice–the Lord God to instill mercy in the hearts of the nurses and doctors. They worked away to make sure his machine was working; they gave new medication and his fever broke. They were polite and attentive and when I asked about government provisions for the breathing machine and for medications, they immediately said that yes, they would provide those free of charge, but that he still needed a special bed which they would have to buy.
“ I then spent the next few minutes training his mother, Kezban, in how to get the collected phlegm out of his lungs by patting his back—something I’d often have to do when we worked at the orphanage. Nobody at the hospital had done that the whole month he’d been in the bed. Sometimes, it’s just the simplest things that make the biggest difference.”
Furkan is daily showing improvement. He’s been moved to a single room out of intensive care. He’s peaceful now and his mother is now aware that hundreds of people prayed for her son and that they are not alone, but loved. This afternoon when I spoke with the team, Kezban’s voice rang out in the background. “Thanks be to God for you all!