Zykeise Miller
Feature Story
When 5-year-old Zykeise Miller seemed to always have trouble catching his breath, his mother knew something was wrong. “I could hear him wheezing. We lived in a very old house at the time and had a wood burning heater. In the winter it always seemed much worse. I kept trying to figure out why he was so congested,” Valnecia Fluker said.

His doctors at the Children’s of Alabama Primary Care Clinic referred Zykeise to the hospital’s Pulmonary Medicine Clinic where physicians diagnosed Zykeise with pulmonary stenosis, a condition which inhibits the flow of blood to his lungs, along with asthma and allergies.

Flare-ups with his asthma and allergies have caused Zykeise to be hospitalized half a dozen times in the five years since his diagnosis. Currently he sees Dr. Teresa Magruder twice a month at the clinic.

“I wouldn’t trade Dr. Magruder for anything,” Fluker said. “She breaks everything down and makes sure I understand it and I leave with no questions at all. If he is in the hospital she and her staff will come in just to say everything is OK. They call me even when he comes home to check on us. They are really good to us. You would think we were a part of their family.”

Coping with his asthma and allergies hasn’t always been easy for Zykeise. “It was a problem at first and he began acting out at school. Being sick at eight or nine years old and not being able to do what the other kids do was tough for him. I had to step into his world and see what he was feeling,” Fluker said.

With the help of his doctors and a therapist, Zykeise has now learned ways to cope with the times when he is not able to be as active as his classmates and friends. “He loves to draw. His teachers find other things for him to do and try to make it fun. He learns on the computer or reads to the kindergarteners,” Fluker said.

Zykeise is taking injections that help control his asthma and allergies. “He gets three shots every two weeks. A lot of kids wouldn’t want to go to the doctor knowing that they are going to get those shots, but he is fine. He loves Children’s,” Fluker said.