One of the benefits of staying at the Ronald McDonald House is you get to know a lot of people. Of course you don’t want to be at the hospital, but if you’re a patient staying at the Ronald McDonald House instead of the hospital then you can have fun. My most popular way to meet people is just sit in the community dining room and read. People will automatically come up to you if you look open.
People are surprised to know I’m the patient. They said I look so healthy, since I’m not in a wheelchair, have IV tubes sticking out, or extremely skinny. Someone even said they thought the patient was my grandma, and not me. That’s so good!
The people you meet and their stories are amazing. They’re inspirational but sad. A 10 year old girl has 10 open heart surgeries. A 14 year old girl with leukemia and went through different types of painful chemotherapy. A guy with a stem cell transplant that needs to stay at the Ronald McDonald House for 6 months (twice my required stay for heart transplant). A 10 month old girl with heart and brain damages. These are just a few.
When I was reading my book at the community dining room, I talked to Joe and another person at the same time. Joe is the dad of Nicole (see September 20, 2018), a girl who shortly came into the hospital after I left. This is Nicole’s 5th open heart surgery to replace her right artery. Her right artery was replaced with a mechanical one, and as she grows up her heart grows too, so the artery needs to be replaced. When she didn’t wake up, that was the sign that things were wrong.
I also talked to a nanny of a patient. That patient has been at Stanford last year for leukemia, and for the Fourth of July she was wheeled onto the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital roof; from there she watched the fireworks. She’s been through many painful treatments, and now they’re trying a bone marrow transplant. Before she gets a bone marrow transplant, she needs to go through conditioning. Conditioning was supposed to be finished in November, but it’s now July. The nanny shaved off all her hair to support the patient.
The nanny also has health conditions. She has multiple strokes, so she needs to go through painful treatments to control them. When she went to a doctor in San Francisco, she had to bend over and they inserted a needle into her spine to place an IV. It wasn’t done well, so she had to bend over two times.
It’s a sad world inside the hospital.When you’re around so many sick people, you also become sad.