Monday, August 23, 2010

Our house... a very very very fine house
with two cats in the yard
life used to be so hard
-Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young "Our House"

I mentioned a few days ago that we've moved to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, but haven't given y'all much detail. "The House that Love Built" is indeed a very very very fine house. (No cats here, but I've got a couple in Raleigh that I'd love to put out in the yard...)

There are more than 300 RMH homes worldwide, but ours here in Philly is the first. It's a gorgeous old mansion, and some of the family rooms are actually original to the house. There is also a large, modern addition to the house with additional family rooms, and we're in the newer part. So while we don't get the gorgeous 12 foot ceilings and parquet wood floors, we do get our own bathroom. That's particularly useful for the unending washing of bottles and pumping parts. Ahhh, just a little slice of "regular" life.

The rooms are fine, and fairly similar to a hotel. We have 2 double beds, so Jane and I each get our own. (Derek's staying here in Jay's room.) But that's about the end of the similarities to a hotel. In many ways, it's like staying in someone's home. There is a GIGANTIC kitchen with ... hmmm, lemme count ... at least 5 huge, commercial size fridges. They have one fridge that is stocked solely with individual size milk cartons from a local dairy. (I do kinda feel like I'm elementary school again, drinking straight from a little carton!) Each family gets a locked cabinet for food you brought and a bin space in one of the fridges. But you really don't need it because there are cabinets upon cabinets completely stocked with anything you could possibly want to eat. Dinner is provided each night by "guest chefs" who come into the house to prepare a meal. Then, any leftovers from the meal are put into the shared fridge for people to eat the next day, to take to the hospital, for middle of the night baked ziti attacks ... you name it, you can eat it. Just clean up after yourself and put your dishes in the dishwasher.

There are laundry facilities, and Granna has been washing the endless mound of bibs & burp cloths that Luke drools all over. There are drink machines with bottled Cokes for $.25. When was the last time you put in a quarter into a drink machine?! There are movies to borrow and watch in your room, playrooms with toys for all ages, lounge areas to hang out and meet folks, and shuttles to get you back & forth to the hospital. There is a great deal of programming as well: tix to Phillies games, discounts and passes to area museums, therapy dogs coming to visit, a knitting group. (To my crafty friends, there's a Stampin' Up party tomorrow evening, and you can bet I'll be there. I have many thank you cards I need to make...!)

Like so many other things, it's as wonderful as it can be, given the circumstances we're under. But I still wish I didn't need it.

Jay's had a very stable day. He seems sleepier than usual today - he may still be feeling kinda cruddy from the fever. And I need to remember that he's on a healthy dose of morphine which is keeping him very groggy. They've tweaked his ventilator settings in preparation for coming off tomorrow ... though it depends on who you ask whether that will really happen or not. The echo from this afternoon apparently looked really good - and not just to our untrained eyes. His primary cardiologist here is Echo-Experto, and she said she's not just impressed with the progress but genuinely pleased with how it looks. Happy news, for sure.

Now, I'm off to eat my RMH dinner, delivered courtesy of dear Derek who's been taking a break from medical world to go back & eat with Luke. Wonder what we're having tonight?!


Anonymous said...

Well, all I can say is Praise the Lord for a good echo and poop- all in one day! God is good. :)
The RMH sounds really nice.
We will be praying for Jay as they take him off the ventilator.
Also to report, the cats are alive and well and being well taken care of (they are not in your yard).
Aunt Ali

Ginger said...

Wow - it's wonderful what the Ronald McDonald House provides!

Glad to hear that Jay is making some good progress - YAY, Jay!

Mindy Marshall said...

I'm thankful that the RMH exists for situations exactly like yours. Enjoy the small creature comforts and have fun at the Stampin' Up party!

Gabby said...

Praying that today brings only good news and more progress towards riding the Drexel dragon.


Cara said...

So good to hear some of the "normal" life things--that's definitely a confirmation of the ECHO--hope dinner was good and that you had a great night.
Know that there are lots of us that are looking forward to cooking you dinner in NC!!
Cara Lynn

ANAPatterson said...

So glad you were able to get into the RMH. Im glad Jay is getting stronger and I hope you enjoy Stampin just reminds me how much I need to get busy on my scrapbooking. I hope your dinner was good and that Derek enjoyed his little break away and you enjoyed your mommy and Jay time. Lots of hugs and love from NC.

The Patterson

Joye said...

YEAH for great echo results!! Doing a happy dance for you today :)

Sending our love...

Jamie said...

So happy that things are progressing well. I volunteered for the NC Ronald McDonald house in college, so it is really cool to hear about the one in Philly, and also know that it is really helping the families who are there.

Anonymous said...

What a blessing the McDonald house is - to have all your needs taken care of and guest chefs in the evening. Amazing! One less thing to worry about and you get to focus on Jay and not your daily needs - Give us this day our daily bread takes on a new meaning in that house - Praise God for blessings. And 2 beds instead of one twin. Hang in there - we are all still praying! Dora Wallace, Cary, NC

Holly said...

What a blessing it was to meet you at the Ronald McDonald House. You brought sunshine into our lives! Thanks for your help and patience with me getting settled into the van on Tuesday morning. I so much enjoyed our Stampin' Up time together! :) Prayers for your family...