Looking forward to Bella’s first Christmas at home
Guest Blog: Chris Outhwaite
In January Bella came home from hospital. It was like a dream come true. She was making good progress. Then in April she became very unwell. She was admitted to our local hospital, and it was there that they discovered that she had a blockage in her bowel. She was then transferred back to the John Radcliffe Oxford. It was like a reoccurring nightmare.
They operated the next morning. The nurse on the ward requested that my daughter and her partner could stay at the Ronald McDonald House but unfortunately there were no rooms available, so they checked into a local hotel which cost them £80 per night. Thankfully on the third day a room became available at the House. It was such a relief that they could stay close to their baby daughter without the added worry of the cost of hotels or travelling to and from Windsor every day. Once again the staff were on hand to support them. It was like a home from home. The staff remembered them from the time before that they stayed there, and they had become like friends.
After two weeks Bella needed a second operation; in total she was in hospital for six weeks and Keely and Darrell were able to stay at the house and be close to Bella the whole time.
It was so nice that at the end of the day once Bella was fast asleep in her cot they could go to their room and relax away from all the noise and machines bleeping on the ward. It also gave them time to talk to other parents that were going through the same thing. I remember my daughter telling me that when they would be cooking their evening meal other parents would come into the kitchen and everybody that walked in through the door would give a huge sigh of relief. It was so nice that they could all share their experiences and know that we're not the only ones going through it.
I tell people all the time about how wonderful the house and staff are but until you have been through something like this you really don't realise that places like the house exist.
Bella came home in time for the summer, and we had lots of fun playing in the garden. In September she had her christening and now we are all looking forward to celebrating her first birthday on the 10th December and her first Christmas at home, because last year she was in hospital over Christmas. Although it was a very difficult time the staff at the house made it more bearable. I still get overwhelmed how kind and caring everybody was. A Christmas hamper was left in their room, Bella had a visit from Santa who left presents for her. The fridge stocked with Christmas food. The staff even cooked a breakfast for all of the parents on Christmas morning.
We as a family can't thank Ronald McDonald House Charities enough for all their support.