When 13-year-old Andrew had issues seeing the board at school his parents took him to the local optician. However, after examinations, it became apparent that Andrew’s condition was much more serious. The family found themselves having to travel 300 miles from their home in Edinburgh for the specialist care that Andrew needed. They stayed together at our Birmingham House for more than two weeks to be close to Andrew. Here dad Stuart shares their story.
Guest Blogger: Stuart
Andrew was having issues seeing the board in school and we thought he might need glasses. We made an appointment for him at a local optician, who referred us immediately to the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion (PAEP). After initial examinations, the staff at the PAEP asked us to report immediately to the Edinburgh Sick Children’s Hospital.
After scans and assessments, Andrew was diagnosed with having a tumour inside his liver. We were initially told that Andrew would require surgery and that it would be likely that this would take place in Birmingham. We didn’t have a date at that time for the operation as Andrew’s blood pressure was too high for this to be safely carried out.
Andrew stayed in The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh for a couple of weeks and we were relieved to find out that Andrews operation was now being planned for Edinburgh as opposed to Birmingham, a mere 18 miles from our house and family.
However, following one of Andrew’s weekly checkups we were slightly taken back to find out that the operation would indeed be carried out in Birmingham and we were to be there in a few days.
On one hand we were relieved that we now had a date for Andrew’s operation, but to be honest, it put us into a bit of a tailspin. How do we get there? Where can we park the car? Where will we stay? How long will we be there? Who will look after our other child?
As further details of Andrew’s operation became more apparent, we became more anxious. I can’t begin to describe the mix of emotions whilst trying to remain outwardly positive in front of Andrew.
We found out about the Ronald McDonald House a day or so after we found out about the date of the operation and we were lucky enough to get a room. When we walked in we were so relieved, it was clean, modern, secure and a stone’s throw from Andrew’s ward.
Being able to get a comfortable night’s sleep, so we were able to cope with the events of the next day, had such a positive impact. We were only five minutes from the ward and Andrew was able to visit us and see where we had been staying during one of his post-surgery walks out of the ward.
The House allowed us to stay together as a family and come and go as we needed to. It took away all the stresses about parking, being able to do the laundry, and we were able to cook and make a fresh cup of tea when needed.
Without the House we wouldn’t have been able to cope and be strong for our son, we wouldn’t be able to have time away from the hospital and have some private space and time to think/talk/cry.
The support the Charity gave my family is immeasurable.