Wednesday 5th November

I had a call from James this morning to tell me that they were staying at the Gold Coast Hospital as they found a bed for Olivia. What a relief – commuting to and from Brisbane every day is not our idea of fun.

I took Sarah to the shops this morning so that I could pick up a new SIM card. I also picked up a few little things for the girls, including some amusements for Olivia while she’s in hospital.

Sarah and I headed over to the hospital in the afternoon. I was distressed when I saw Olivia rigoring in bed – she was shaking uncontrollably and at the same time, she was telling me “I’m okay Mummy. I’m just cold”. She had a temperature of 40 degrees plus! I immediately called in the nurse who then got hold of a doctor. They took fairly swift action. Olivia had been having intravenous antibiotics but they also gave her Panadol and contacted the oncologists in Sydney to formulate a course of action. I was a mess. I found it very difficult to contain my emotions. It had already been somewhat of difficult week and to see Olivia so sick really upset me. That gorgeous girl has just been through so much – enough is enough! 

The doctors later came back to us to inform us that Olivia needed to have her portacath removed straight away as it was the most likely source of infection. Her high temperatures were persisting and the antibiotics didn’t seem to be helping. Surgery was going to be organized for that evening. I spoke with one of Olivia’s Sydney oncologists who pointed out that the most logical course of action would be to remove Olivia’s portacath. He was very reassuring and to be honest, I was relieved. I just wanted Olivia to be okay. I haven’t seen her that sick in a long time.

James and Sarah headed back to our apartment in the evening while I waited with Oli to have her surgery. Poor James was exhausted after barely having a wink of sleep last night.

Everything seemed to happen fairly quickly in the evening. Olivia was wheeled off to theatre at about 9.30pm where we briefly waited for surgery to start. I kissed Oli goodbye as the anaesthetists put her to sleep. I was quite emotional.

I headed back up to the ward to wait for Olivia to return. In the meantime, they had moved us to another room (a pressurized room, where they usually place young cancer patients). While I was waiting, I had quite a lengthy chat with a lovely German nurse. She was very compassionate and it was interesting to hear her views on God and spirituality. I’m not really religious but I do have certain beliefs and I often find myself questioning anything to do with God. I know that this experience has given me a deeper spiritual awareness and it has brought to light so many issues for me but I also have so many questions.

Olivia was brought back up to the ward at around 11pm. She was asleep but the nurses told me that she had already woken up and told them that she had been to Movie World the day before! I was relieved that she’d woken up from the anaesthetic well.  The nurses also told me that her temp had come down to 37.7.

Oli awoke briefly and told me that the surgery site wasn’t hurting her at all. She also told me she was feeling hot and went back to sleep. She continued to wake throughout the night. She would either wake up crying, complaining she was sweaty and needed a shower so I used a cool washer to cool her down. She also wet her bed a couple of times as she was receiving copious amounts of fluid with her antibiotics. The poor girl! However, she was rather chirpy during the times she did wake up, commenting on how much she loved the painting on the wall and how beautiful my jammies were (even though they were the oldest, daggiest jammies she’s seen a million times before) – it was very cute. When she wasn’t waking in the night, I was woken by her beeping machine. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a buzzer to buzz the nurses for help. Instead, they had a brass bell – talk about primitive! After ringing it several times, I would usually have to go out to the nurses station to get a nurse because no-one could hear it! It was extremely frustrating

Olivia’s temperature again rose above 38 degrees. The nurses gave her regular Panadol to give her some relief.


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