More than just a place to stay
Guest blogger: Michelle Davenport
“When Max suffered a stroke during his 7th birthday party we were rushed to Southampton General Hospital that evening; a long 46 miles away. Southampton is not our local hospital but Max needed to stay there to receive the specialist care he required. Since we arrived last September, Max has had to undergo intensive therapy as he lost all the movement down the left hand side of his body.
Arriving at Ronald McDonald House Southampton on the first day is how I imagine Max felt on his first day at school – I didn’t know anyone and would never have dreamt of going into the Dayroom on my own for a coffee, or approaching someone I didn’t know just to have a chat. Being at the House though, I have met other mums who have children in hospital and are staying at the House on their own too, whilst their husbands are back at home working and looking after their other children. We have formed some great friendships which are incredibly precious.
Me and another mum, Tracey, regularly attend Waffle Wednesday at the House. We go for walks together, go shopping together and can quite often be found having a chat over a cuppa in the kitchen. Staying at the House and meeting Tracey has helped me to stay close to Max and stay strong for him. On days when I don’t feel so great, I know I have a friend to confide in.
At the weekends, my husband Gary would come to visit with our daughter Sophie. We could all share a room, which meant we could be together and spend some really important family time with Max. It’s been great knowing that I have a family-sized bedroom they can stay in with me. Gary and Sophie have to leave for work and school on Sundays but I have been able to stay all day, every day, to be close to Max’s side.
Max is now allowed weekends at home but still spends all week at Bursledon House, whilst I stay in the Ronald McDonald House. It has been the hardest time of our lives so far but staying at the House has made it so much more bearable and has allowed us to continue to have a family life outside of the hospital.”