Giving a Child a chance to be like any other kid
Wiseman Suprise Ngobeni is a confident and spirited seven-year-old boy who began his journey with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital on 27 January 2022.
Wiseman is from Daveyton, a township in Benoni.
He lives with his mother, his younger sister, his older brother, and his grandmother. He enjoys playing with his toy cars in his free time. He also enjoys cleaning and helping his family around the house.
Wiseman was born on the 20 March 2015. He was born with heart disease. His mother did not know about his heart condition until he had fallen ill around the age of three.
Wiseman’s mother would usually take him to the clinic for regular check-ups but, this time around, none of their visits resulted in an improvement on his health. Wiseman was ultimately referred to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital where doctors assessed his heart condition.
They then referred him to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital following this assessment, believing that it was at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital where he could receive the care that he desperately needed.
Wiseman, only six at the time, underwent open-heart surgery at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital on 16 February 2022. Dr Krubin Naidoo, a cardiothoracic surgeon, was among the doctors who operated and watched over him throughout this sensitive medical procedure.
Wiseman spent around 35 days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as a result of a few complications that had developed. He was finally able to go back to the general ward on 20 March 2022 when his doctors were confident that it was fine for him to do so.
Now that a few months had passed since he was welcomed to the Hospital in February 2022, he said, strongly about his experience, “Bekumnandi!” meaning, “It was nice!” Boldly, he yells again, “Bekumnandi!”
His mother expressed that he had been well since his operation. She also expressed how pleased she was about the work that the doctors and ward sisters do at the Hospital and how well she and Wiseman were treated at the Hospital.
She remembered falling ill while she was at the Hospital. Her illness, she admitted, was caused by constant worry over Wiseman’s health. She had also fallen ill and she was attended to. She was given a sick letter and advised to either go to Charlotte Maxeke Hospital or Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.
She paused as she told this story and said, “Hayi, babesiphathe kahle” meaning, “We were treated well.”
Wiseman was never alone while he was at the Hospital. His mother was always near. She was able to be near him because she lived at the Ronald McDonald House which is set at the top of the Hospital. The House was created by the Ronald McDonald House Charities to accommodate families that have travelled a great distance for their children to receive critical care – at little or no cost to them. The creation of the House at the Hospital plays an incredibly important role in keeping families together during a strenuous time.
Wiseman’s mother still carries a lot of pain because of his heart condition. Her words, however, make it clear that she carries a lot of hope too in spite of it. She talked about their experiences of social rejection. For example, she mentioned how some day-care centres have, in the past, refused to accept Wiseman because of his heart condition out of fear – fear that he may die.
All she wants, as a lot of mothers would is, as she says, “Ngifuna afane nabanye abantwana”, meaning, “I want him to be like other kids.”
Wiseman and his mother went back home on the 4th of April 2022. He is living up to his name by continually refusing to give his heart condition the power to affect his determination. Wiseman is back in school, in grade 1, at Bafo Chiko Primary School in Daveyton
He is set to return to the Hospital in July 2022