“Black” Friday of 2013 – a day my family will never forget as it was the beginning of a long and emotionally enduring time for us.On this day, we received news that my nephew was in the hospital in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator due to pneumonia and an enlarged heart. At the time we didn’t know much and neither did the doctors except that this strong 19 year-old boy was very, very sick.
The first time that I saw my nephew in the Intensive Care Unit brought me emotions of sadness, fear, and helplessness. As I walked into the room I could hardly prepare myself for what lay next – his mother surrounded by hospital staff being informed that her son’s condition was getting worse and what they thought to be pneumonia was actually severe, acute heart failure. Open heart surgery was needed immediately and a possible heart transplant.
As I heard this news and reacted to my own emotions, I felt compelled to comfort and help his mother in this most difficult time. I offered the services of our Ronald McDonald House. As I spoke with her, emotions overwhelmed me that at this moment my family was dealing with such a catastrophic, life changing event and that the services I provide each day to families was desperately needed for mine.
Sobbing tears streamed from my eyes as I told her she would have a place to stay near her son. My nephew. And as if her motherly instinct took over, she hugged me and told me “it will be okay.”
That night while my nephew lay in the ICU fighting for his life, my family found comfort in our Ronald McDonald House “home away from home.” And for a moment, it made my heart smile and my tears dry up.
You see, you truly never know when someone you love will need a place to call home during such a difficult time in their life.
Bryce Yates (nephew) is from Vine Grove, Kentucky. He spent 42 days in the hospital and endured two open heart surgeries. He currently has a left ventricular device (LVAD) to assist his heart with function.