Having a big heart is considered to be a very good quality, but in Mikayla’s case, it was life threatening.
Mikayla is a charming six-year-old girl who loves playing with her dolls. She lives in Swellendam and has two siblings who have been missing her terribly. Just a few weeks ago she was sitting in her bed blowing bubbles to her mother while still having to breathe through a ventilator.
Mom, Beraldine, says that Mikayla was very ill when she came to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. She knew there was something wrong with her child when she began coughing in the mornings and became tired very quickly. Beraldine says, “She just wanted to sleep all the time. I was very worried about her.”
After going to three different hospitals Mikayla was admitted to Red Cross Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where it was decided by the doctors that she would need to undergo heart surgery.
Mikayla suffered from rheumatic fever, which caused damage to her heart valves. This meant that her heart had to work harder to pump blood to the rest of her body. Her mitral valve was also leaking. With the added pressure, Mikayla’s heart was enlarged. This caused her lung behind her heart to collapse.
Mikayla’s heart surgery was successful and the doctors replaced the mitral valve so that it could function properly. After the surgery she was placed on a ventilator to help her with her breathing. She no longer needs the ventilator to breathe.
Two weeks later Mikayla is sitting on the floor, happily colouring in her book with an orange balloon hat on her head. She stares at her mom and smiles because she knows she is finally going home. Beraldine is so relieved that her daughter is recovering well and she is thankful that the doctors and nurses in the ICU took such good care of her Mikayla.