Benjamin was born 12 weeks early, in December 2016. At first, his dad Stephen said “he was a model neo-natal, slowly progressing and gaining strength but then he picked up a virus which really set him back.” Eventually, in March 2017, he was transferred to the the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow – over 45 miles away from home.
“Initially it was just for tests but then he was taken to the Intensive Care Unit as he had a real problem coming off some medication – he didn’t sleep for 4 days. We were with him the whole time.” The family ended up staying for 5 weeks. Unfortunately, Benjamin’s health was such that he was often taken to the local hospital then referred to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow then referred back to their local hospital in Ayrshire.
It was not until August 2017 that they were finally able to take their son home. Unfortunately, more complications lay ahead.
“He was only home for 4 weeks before he became ill again and so we took him straight to Accident and Emergency in Glasgow. They admitted him there and then and we ended up staying for 3 months.”
“He finally got out the day before his first birthday on the 10th December. We were able to celebrate his first birthday at home, which, as you can imagine, was a very emotional day.”
Benjamin’s parents really appreciated being close to their son. Especially since their home was so far away from the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow.
“The main benefit of RMH was being so close to our son. You can’t stay in the ward when a child is in the Intensive Care Unit, but we were able to be close by. We had the freedom to go and visit, whenever we wanted to. Even if that was 2 o’clock in the morning. Or midnight. We could just get up, walk out and see him.”
“It’s so important for your peace of mind, your mental health, your anxiety. If you can’t sleep, you can just go and see him.”
They also appreciated being able to have a safe base and a place to sleep and cook: “Being able to cook your own meals is so important. You don’t have to rely on take-away food. Also, you maintain a small degree of normality when you can cook your own meals – which is good for the mind, I think.”
Importantly, Benjamin benefited from having his parents close by: “It was good for Benjamin because we were with him longer, we weren’t restricted to visiting hours. He benefited from us being with him all the time and interacting with him. When he was on the Ward, one of us stayed with him all the time. We played with him and read stories.”
Benjamin still has health issues including Chronic Lung Disease and Pulmonary Hypertension. However, his dad says:
“He’s doing alright. He was in a hospital bed for a year, so that has affected him. However, he’s got a lot of people involved in his development and is being well looked after.”
At Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, we often welcome families time and time again, due to the recurrent health issues of their children. It’s very reassuring to them to know that they’ll always be close to their child, no matter how far from home they may be.Back to Stories