by Crystal Porter, RMHC Intern
Before the age of 23 I was fairly healthy, with the usual minor ailments like childhood illnesses, infections, sprains and pesky seasonal allergies. The only surgery I’d ever had was when I had my wisdom teeth removed at age 14. When I found out last year that I needed my gallbladder removed, I was nervous and scared. While my surgery is considered common and minor, to me it was one of the scariest experiences in my life.
Despite my age, I immediately wanted my parents. This posed a problem since they live 1,800 miles away. Luckily, my mom already had plans to fly down for my youngest sister’s high school graduation at the end of May. Her boss approved her request to work remotely so that she could be in Austin at the beginning of May in time for my surgery. She stayed for my 3 week recovery and my sister’s graduation.
I am thankful her boss was understanding because the first thing I wanted when I woke up from surgery was my mom. I was confused, scared, nauseated and in pain. I asked for her until I was stable enough for her to come back to recovery. Even though I knew she couldn’t heal the pain or nausea, all I wanted was to have my mom there with me. She, along with my sisters, made all the difference.
Often the simple act of being there is overlooked or undervalued, but I believe it is one of the greatest human actions. Knowing how much I wanted my mom, I can only imagine how a critically ill child feels. I have felt the relief of knowing my family is close by, well-rested, and available at a moment’s notice. I love that RMHC Austin’s Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Rooms make being there possible.
P.S. Being there means more than you can imagine. Check out Ann’s blog post to see another side of being there.
Crystal is a senior in the St. Edward’s MBA in Digital Media Management program. Her interest in nonprofits led her to a summer internship at RMHC Austin. She feels blessed to have the opportunity to join the collaborative efforts of the RMHC Austin staff to make a difference for families of critically ill children. Crystal plans to continue working with RMHC Austin in the fall.