My one year old son Dexter needed a complex operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital to remove a lump growing in his chest. It was pushing down on his windpipe so that he couldn’t breathe properly - had it got any bigger it would have been life threatening. Doctors still don’t know exactly what caused it.
It was in a tricky position to access surgically, and doctors even suggested there was a possibility that he might also need heart bypass surgery and would be in hospital for several weeks. Thankfully, the operation went brilliantly well and Dexter was well enough to be discharged one week later and transferred back to our local hospital in Bristol.
While Dexter was in hospital in July, my wife Lucy and I were able to stay for four nights at Rainbow House, one of ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country run by The Sick Children’s Trust. We were so grateful because the cost of accommodation in London would have been far too expensive for us. I had even considered sleeping in a sleeping bag in the park nearby just to be close to my son, so I was very glad that they had room for us.
To have our own space away from the hospital was amazing. When you’re in hospital, there is constant noise and activity. Everywhere! There are monitors going off, people talking and children crying. To be able to escape to a tranquil space in the middle of London was such a relief. What’s more, having a room at Rainbow House meant that Lucy and I could both be at the hospital during such a stressful time and support each other. As the hospital only allows one parent to stay on the ward, it would not have been possible for us to be together had it not been for The Sick Children’s Trust. It would have been unthinkable to have had to split up with only one of us there, going through it alone, so far from our home in Gloucester.
There’s more to the charity’s ‘Homes from Home’ than just the physical building and proximity to the hospital. The people that take care of the houses, and in turn you, are wonderful. Louise, the House Manager, was so lovely and positive. She is a genuine and warm person, which is just what you need when you’re going through a tough time. In addition, the facilities such as the kitchen and living area were really nice, clean and spacious. It felt like you walked into your own kitchen which made us actually want to cook ourselves a sustaining meal.
After another week at Bristol hospital, Dexter was finally discharged and we could all finally go home. He’s currently recovering really well and we are so proud of our real-life superhero.
We are so grateful to The Sick Children’s Trust for its support, as it offered us practical and emotional support, taking away the financial stresses from us, which made the tough experience that little bit easier.