During Natasha’s admissions to Southampton Children’s Hospital in 2017 and 2018, herself and her family were able to seek some time away from the wards in the daytime to spend time together at the Southampton House where they could try and maintain a normal family life. Now aged 19, Natasha shares her fond memories of spending time at the Southampton House.
“I was diagnosed with intestinal failure and my local hospital was unable to manage my nutrition, so I ended up being admitted to Southampton Children’s Hospital, 30 miles away from home, for a more intensive treatment. As part of the treatment, I needed to have a central line placed and IV nutrition fed through. What was meant to be a short admission soon became a lengthy one due to blood clots, gastrointestinal bleeds, complex medication interaction and lack of stability. My family and I coped by surrounding ourselves with friends and doing as much as we could to keep up a normal routine.
“We had friends who had previously stayed at a Ronald McDonald House, so when our nurse suggested us going over on a daily basis to make use of the facilities, it was exactly what we needed!
“Whenever we were at the House we were always made to feel really welcome and at ease. Moments that really stand out were using the kitchens to bake cakes for the ward nurses and being able to have friends visit and taking part in crafts. One time when we were at the House, I became very unwell but thankfully the House is just minutes away from the ward so I was rushed back over to the hospital. We were grateful to be so close!
“It was important that we had times to escape from an environment so medical and clinical to a ‘home away from home’, where my dad was able to work remotely and we could have times watching a movie together and just having fun as a family.
“If we weren’t able to access the House on a daily basis, it would have made the whole ordeal a lot more difficult. It would have financially been more expensive, so being able to cook at the House and do our laundry was amazing. It would have also meant not being able to see family and friends as much and it would have been a struggle to have breaks away from the ward.
“My family and I have since visited the House to offer donations of much-needed items that help to keep the House going. If anyone is thinking of donating money or time by volunteering to this great Charity then I would say it is absolutely worth it as it really does help change the lives of so many families”.