The Ronald McDonald House located in NUH is a place where caregivers can get a good night’s sleep in any of our 4 comfortable bedrooms, knowing that their sick child is just moments away.
We speak to Faith, a mother of two who gave birth to her second son Kingsley very prematurely at 30 weeks due to her pre-eclampsia condition, and had the opportunity of staying with us at the Ronald McDonald House.
This is her story.
Baby Kingsley weighed a mere 1200g when he was born on 20 May, and had to spend the first two months of his life in the NICU. Due to the advent of Covid-19, ART swabs or PCR tests were needed with every single visit to the hospital and since we could not stay over in the wards, we had no choice but to make the daily commute. Fast forward to 21 July 2021, Kingsley was discharged with no major issues.
But on 1 September 2021, things quickly took a turn for the worse. We noticed that there were weird sounds coming from Kingsley and we quickly rushed him to the hospital. When we arrived at NUH, he was pushed to a room and all the doctors and nurses dropped everything and rushed to attend to him. According to the doctors, he was in a critical condition with dangerously low levels of oxygen at 20%. He was then immediately sent to the PICU and we were not allowed to go into his room to accompany him until he cleared his 2nd PCR test. Doctors briefed and updated us very regularly on his condition and what procedures they had to do in order to save his life. We were told that he was suffering from a very bad lung infection. On his first night, we received a call from the doctor that Kingsley’s heartbeat had stopped. They performed CPR and managed to save his life. We were at home at that time and were very shocked to hear this. We were thankful that the doctors and nurses had saved him but felt very sad that we were not there with him. When my husband and I were finally able to see and touch him, we were heartbroken to see him all tubed up to the ventilator for oxygen support. He was shaking so badly as they had to use a strong ventilator to support his breathing and they also had to administer him with lots of medications and injections.
A few days after, we received a call that we are given a room to stay at the Ronald McDonald House*. This is a charity that provides families whose kids are critically ill, a comforting stay beside the PICU ward in NUH. We moved in and were surprised that the room was just like a hotel room. The house is fully-equipped with a living room, dining area and library. It has a communal fridge which contains healthy drinks and also ready-to-eat meals for each family every two weeks. There is even a fully-equipped kitchen with a stove, microwave and dry snacks. They also have a laundry area with a washing machine and dryer. The staff there are all super warm and friendly as well.
We ended up staying there for over a month. With the tumultuous ups and downs throughout this entire hospital episode with Kingsley, we really cannot imagine what it would have been like without this support from RMHC. Not only will we be both physically and mentally exhausted, having to travel back and forth to the hospital every day, it was also a hassle for a mother like me to pump the breastmilk every three hours. Thank you again to the RMHC team for being there for us during our lowest times in the hospital. We hope everyone will support RMHC and their cause by opening their hearts and wallets to make donations to help families will seriously ill children who need support during their darkest and most critical moments.
Faith, mum of Kingsley
* Given that the Ronald McDonald House only has four bedrooms – we strive to turnaround our rooms quickly so that we can check a new family in.