This is Jane Gilbert, a friend from Atlanta, writing on behalf of Lucy not in Atlanta. We’ll get to her in a minute, but first of all I must tell you about the Ronald McDonald House RESORT…this place is awesome. Once you get past having to wash and glove your hands every time you enter the kitchen and learn NOT to throw up in the public dining room (we’ll also get to that in a moment), it really is amazing. For instance, the kitchen itself is always open and stocked with treats. All the chocolate milk you could drink for free! Then, after a lovely morning walk with Garrick along the river while Lucy and Caroline were at “proton”, I was taking the trash out when I suddenly wondered, “Where does this trash go?” And then, like the most wonderful answer to my unspoken puzzle, before me were these giant, yellow footprints from the back door all the way to the very position from which you hurl your bag into the dumpster. Thank you Ronald McDonald! How can I get some of those for home? My days would be so much easier.
There is also a playground with tricycles, basketballs and picnic tables in addition to a playroom on every floor and childrens’ books and games everywhere you turn. They have Bingo Nights and Crafts Night and today Lucy made a beautiful watercolor of flamingos with an art teacher from Bolles Academy here in Jacksonville. They also have a rescue dog named Anita who Garrick loves to chase around the big island in the kitchen. Ok, so speaking of Garrick, the day I arrived he had not been given a snack so that he would finally eat a better dinner. He thoroughly enjoyed this particular dinner which had been brought, like every night, by a kind group of local volunteers. He kept repeating the word “bean”, delighting in green beans like no other child, until he sucked down the wrong one, or at least one not fully chewed that is. Without much warning, he began to throw up his entire meal sending panic throughout the room (since many of the residents are in highly vulnerable conditions, any illness is truly a very serious matter). Though Garrick immediately began to sing and dance, apparently unphased by his sensitive gag reflex, Caroline knew not everyone would immediately appreciate this little party trick of his. She brilliantly whisked him away and Lucy and I set to cleaning up and by morning, Garrick was well known and also well received back into the dining room for breakfast barring any more green bean eating.
Today, in one of the many times Lucy just wanted “to sit on the bed and talk”, I asked her where she would like to go on a vacation. I thought she might say the beach again, or even Swaziland. She said “proton”! What? Sure, she has described it to me as being very fancy (well decorated and shiny) and they have “pizza day” once a week, incredibly affectionate and kind people and chocolate cake every day. She said that when she gets there, they give her some sleeping medicine which makes her fall asleep pretty quickly, and then she wakes up and the whole thing is really fast! I’m with her – what’s not to like: naps and chocolate cake every day – what more could any of us want?
Her headaches have greatly improved through the week in severity and frequency. Every small gift she opens from the daily mail delivery is like gold. Nothing gets tossed down like Christmas gifts when the next one arrives. She truly relishes the coloring books, stickers and tiny animals…and she wanted to show them all to me when I arrived. She is very excited about having her port removed for the weekend (she calls it her “buddy” and she gives it drinks at proton) and hopes to go for a swim at the Y while back home in Atlanta. We will begin our drive immediately after she wakes from anesthesia tomorrow, hopefully with two napping angels in the backseat. Lucy has made it to the halfway mark! Hooray!