Posted on 16 November, 2014

Meet Felix. He is only 15 months old and has a large VSD in his heart. I am learning slowly the different heart conditions and from my brief understanding a VSD is a “hole in the heart” which has been there from birth, which is a hole in the wall dividing the two main pumping chambers of the heart.

When I first met Felix yesterday morning he had a blank look on his face and threatened to cry every time I got too close. Eventually his mum, Nyiracumi got him to smile for some photos but he was still unsure of my presence.


Over the period of the day I made an effort to visit him in pre-op holding so he could get more familiar with me. It was only a matter of time until he was playing “peek-a-boo”, offering me his cookie and playfully hitting me with the pen. He is quite cheeky but adorable at the same time.

Felix comes from an eastern province, Kayonza, which is approximately a 1.5 hour bus ride from Kigali, in a town called Murama. Felix is an only child, his father is a farmer who currently doesn’t have much work but has stayed at home. His mother first became concerned when Felix started complaining of a fever, became short of breath and was continually coughing. She took him to the Doctor’s where he was diagnosed at 6 months of age.

Today is Felix’s scheduled day for surgery, if all the prior operations run smoothly. He may not fully understand what is happening but you can feel the tension from his Mum. If all goes well today, Felix should grow up to have a normal life.

I am actually going to watch Dr Andrews fix Felix’s VSD today. To be completely honest I feel nervous and have been given a number of tips from the nursing staff: drink and eat before entering, sit down if you feel sick, don’t “grab” things if you feel faint because everything has wheels in theatres.


So far there are three kids in ICU that are doing rather well. They are just about to transfer one of them, Kenny into the ward.

Tags:  East Africa,