RMH was blessing for family

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 27, 2010

I just wanted to share something very special, to me and my family, anyway.

My daughter, Kayla, had some complications during her pregnancy back in February. She went to the hospital here, stayed overnight for observation, then was sent to South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile the next day. She arrived around 11 a.m., on Fri., Feb. 19th. To make a long story shorter, the doctor said he was going to need to take the baby that day. Keep in mind, her due date was May 14, so this was an unexpected “announcement” to us. It scared us all, too, which is an understatement. They were, luckily, able to postpone the procedure until her husband, Kyle, got there, driving from the oil rig where he works.

So, at 7:11 p.m., she became the proud mother of a two pound, four ounce baby girl. They named her Alexa “Lexi” Lynn Sargent. Kayla spent a few days there until she was able to be released. But, of course, Lexi has a lot longer stay ahead of her. Doctors told us that Lexi would have to stay at least until Kayla’s projected delivery date. The nurses had informed all of us that this is the procedure in premature births, and the survival rate in cases like this was 95%. Plus, they went on to tell us about the Ronald McDonald House, and that most of the time, you have to get on a waiting list.

Well, Kayla and Kyle had checked and did get on the waiting list. Kayla was released that Tuesday, Feb. 23rd, and they happened to call and check the waiting list again, and got a very pleasant surprise. They had an opening.

So she and Kyle went by there to sign up. I want to say, I’ve heard of the Ronald McDonald Houses, but never knew exactly how the whole thing works – just hearsay, I guess.

Well, let me tell you, this place is great. It amazes me every time Mom and I visit. There is a very small fee (donation) to stay there. They have a room with two beds, bath, and TV. There is a huge kitchen with four refrigerators, four stoves, four microwaves, etc. Each family has an assigned room with refrigerator and cabinets to store their food. But whatever is on the countertops, is “everyone’s”. There’s always some type of cookies, snacks, drinks, and other food available for the families staying there.

Each day, someone (from the outside) will bring cooked food in, or sometimes, just bring it and prepare the meal there. There are postings all along the house, announcing when the next meal will be served. So when you’re away from home, it really helps when you don’t have to eat fast food everyday. Not to mention, everyone there is so nice. They go out of their way to help you. A couple of weeks ago, I saw some Girl Scouts there in the dining/kitchen area doing their regular cleanup. It just seems like people from all over are in and out of there, doing whatever they can to help the family’s stay as comfortable as possible.

There is a huge dining/living area with a big screen TV where you can watch TV/movies with others while you get to know them and their stories.

They have a laundry room with several washers and dryers, and they furnish the detergent. Also there is a soda vending machine with sodas that only cost 25.

The families can come and go, either back and forth to the hospital, or if you’re able, you can go home for a day or two, to take care of business such as bills, etc. The RMH staff are very cooperative in giving you that freedom. They just ask you not to stay away too long because it could be holding some other family out. Kayla and Kyle were told they could stay as long as they wanted at the RMH, which is the rule for everyone I’m sure. They are allowed to have guests that can stay overnight.

After we visited Lexi Sunday evening, we went back RMH and joined the dinner festivities, featuring beef stew, cornbread, rice, and for dessert, chocolate chip cookies. And it was very good, too, I might add. But as I said, everyone there is as nice as they can be. That says a lot, too, because if you are there, that means you have a premature baby in the hospital, and you are away from home, so that means a lot.

As we were eating dinner there Sunday evening, a girl and her mom walked by, being shown around by one of the staff members. She was just checking in. After a few minutes of being shown around, they walked by, and she spoke to us briefly. We then learned that she had just been released from the hospital. She had been there for EIGHT WEEKS. She broke into tears thinking about what she has gone through, and that her baby is still there.

I guess the reason for this whole letter is to let folks know there is still a lot of good in people, especially at the Ronald McDonald House. It is actually a home away from home. So, if you would like to help the RMH and the things they do, then start saving your aluminum cans, and can tops. They actually get money for this, which in turn, helps families out in a time of need. My hat is definitely off to everyone that has anything to do with the RMH! I had no idea!

Other items on the RMH “wish list” are: milk, tall kitchen garbage bags, Ziploc bags (1-3 gallon), food storage containers, chips, canned meat, cookies, cookie/brownie/cake mix, standard size pillows, postage stamps, furniture polish, liquid dishwashing soap, laundry detergent

Anyone wanting to donate any of these items can send them to:

Ronald McDonald House

1626 Springhill Ave.

Mobile, AL 36604



Jim Brown