Jamie Murphey was treated as an infant at his local hospital for bilateral clubfoot. Unfortunately, as Jamie grew his feet regressed. The Murpheys decided to seek a second opinion with Dr. Morcuende at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. During the first round of treatment they had heard about the Ponseti method, developed at the University of Iowa, which is the gold standard of treatment and known for treating very complex clubfoot cases. They had read stories about the treatment and seen hundreds of success stories. Jamie’s information was sent to Dr. Morcuende to request an appointment. Amy expected several weeks before they heard and was surprised when they immediately heard back that their case should be seen the following Monday. Amy, Jamie, and David, Jamie’s twin brother, packed some bags and made the long 10 hour road trip from Tennessee to Iowa for the appointment. At the appointment, the surgery date was scheduled and a month later the Murpheys were back in Iowa City for the 10 to 12 week treatment.
With the prospect of being away from home for such a long time, Amy put her name on the waitlist at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City. Having the free resources of the Ronald McDonald House played a big factor in the Murphy’s ability to get the necessary treatment for Jamie. They would not have been able to afford to stay at a hotel, even with a discounted hotel rate, for 12 weeks. She reached out to ask about different restaurants that delivered to the House, pre-schools, and other resources in the area. Amy was coming to Iowa with two five year old twin boys with autism and Jay, Jamie’s father, had to stay home during the majority of the treatment to work. It took a few weeks to become settled. The boys had to adjust to different routines and new surroundings, which was difficult for them. To maintain as normal a routine as possible, Jamie and David attended preschool at a local school.
The boys are very active and curious, so the Murphey’s appreciated the many common areas at the House where they could spread out so they didn’t become stir crazy in the room. During treatment, Jamie was confined to a wheelchair. The great room, sun room, toy room, and kitchen are all connected and wheelchair accessible which allowed Jamie to move around easily. Before arriving, Amy was afraid that during most of the treatment Jamie would be limited in where he could go and what he could do. Instead, Jamie could explore and have independence. While the boys were playing in the playroom, Amy could prepare food and watch them through the window from the kitchen to play room.
The Murphey’s appreciated so many little details that helped make their stay comfortable and welcoming. The home-cooked dinners each night, the food stocked in the common fridges with milk and eggs, football tickets, the library upstairs, the porch swing outside, the La-Z-Boy recliner big enough for Jamie and his casts, the location near the hospital, and the community of other families all helped them feel at home. The Murphey’s made many memories during their stay. They went to their first college football game at Kinnick Stadium, spent several holidays at the House, and met families from many different states. During their stay another boy was also going through club foot treatment was able to show Jamie maneuvers and techniques for moving around in a wheelchair.
The Murphey’s could go on and on about all the helpful and unique things about their stay and treatment. “It is hard to explain what this House means until you have been to the house. Actually seeing it is the game changer,” says Amy. “The words ‘thank you’ do not express our gratitude enough.”
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