We did a tour of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Kids when I was still pregnant with Joshua. All of the doctors had a heads up about Joshua and the little bits of information we knew about him. On both the NICU floor and the PICU floor, were two Ronald McDonald rooms. These rooms had snacks, drinks, tv’s and tons of toys for siblings of sick kids to play with. These rooms were life savers for us when John and Bridget came with us to the hospital. They spent many hours there and I’m not sure we could have brought the kids with us to see Joshua as much if they wouldn’t have had a place to play while we snuggled and held Josh. They are run by volunteers and people can even donate snacks/drinks. We were so grateful to those volunteers.
Also, there was a Ronald McDonald House probably a half mile or less from the hospital. Ever since Joshua’s admittance to the NICU, my parents tried to get us in there, to stay even for a day or two so we wouldn’t have to make the daily commute of an hour and a half or more. We couldn’t get in however because you have to live more than 60 miles away. When Joshua was admitted to the PICU the social worker called and said we could stay there, mainly because Joshua was in such critical condition.
I can’t speak more highly of Ronald McDonald House and what they did for us and what they do for families with sick children. Bridget and John were excited because they had a huge rec room, a playground, and tons of play rooms. It’s almost a surreal feeling being there, because you never really expect to be a parent of a sick child. Different organizations and families would donate meals almost every night of the week. It was also a little humbling to be served by these volunteers, to be the ones “in need”. The community there was amazing. There were encouraging notes left everywhere and small gifts would be left at your door, especially on holidays like mother’s day. Everyone there was in the same boat as us, more or less, and they understood. The best part…being able to be at Joshua’s side within 5 min.
My husband didn’t want to stay there at first, but once we did, he was so impressed. He said the church should have community like Ronald McDonald House had. Encouraging one another, sharing food or resources with one another, carrying each other’s burdens. If you are ever looking for a place to volunteer at or give to, please consider them. The families that stay there are so grateful for it.
One day I walked into Joshua’s room in the PICU and he was awake, looking around and just…alone. It absolutely broke my heart and still does, thinking of him being there alone. The NICU has volunteers who hold babies when their loved ones can’t be there. I know Joshua had many people come in to hold him, even one of the medical students would frequently be holding Josh when I walked in. That meant so so much to me. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impact on others. I know it’s hard to volunteer and serve others when we get so busy with our families and our lives but I encourage you to put yourself out there, reach out to someone. It probably means more to them than you will ever realize.