Thursday 6th November

It was a fairly uneventful day. Olivia’s high temps persisted and she continued with intravenous antibiotics. Oli and I were both exhausted today. Oli had about three long naps during the day and I had a couple of brief snoozes. I felt like a zombie.

James and Sarah arrived in the evening. James stayed with Olivia overnight

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.


Tuesday 4th November

We planned to go to Movie World today. We were originally going tomorrow but the weather forecast was not looking good. Unfortunately, our visit to Movie World was slightly delayed by our little scallywag, Sarah, who, attempted to apply her own sunscreen but instead applied it to the carpet. We were very unimpressed, especially since we had asked her on several occasions to leave the sunscreen alone. No amount of water and detergent could get out those stains so we spent the morning trying to track down a carpet cleaner. Much to our relief and $40 later, someone came around to clean the carpet while we headed off to Movie World.

When we arrived Oli and I headed straight over to the Roadrunner rollercoaster. She had a great time but mid-way through the ride, her bandana and hat flew off her head, revealing her little baldy head. You would think that no-one had ever seen a bald head before – boy, did she attract some stares. Luckily, we had brought a spare hat with us,   however, they had to stop the ride while one of the maintenance workers strolled around the rollercoaster grounds searching for Oli’s gear. He was taking so long, I began to wonder where it could have possibly gone. Perhaps it had blown on to a roof, in which case we would have no chance of getting them back.

In the end, James found it. It had blown out of the rollercoaster grounds and into some bushes next to another ride!

The weather wasn’t great and there were a couple of very light showers but it could’ve been worse. The girls had a great day, enjoying all of the rides. Sarah has really come out of her shell since her last visit to Movie World. We took her on the Roadrunner rollercoaster as she had just exceeded the 100cm height restriction. She absolutely loved it. She even let out a few excited screams while riding on it. Once she had the taste for that ride, it was hard to keep her off it. She kept saying, ‘I’m bave’(brave). However, she was still too scared to sit through the 4D Shrek movie so James took Olivia.

Oli and I each picked up a little cold in the last day or so. Nothing too bad, just annoying. The girls were pretty tired by the end of the day. By the time Oli went to bed, I thought that she was feeling a little warm but wasn’t overly concerned as her blood counts should be rising and a temperature would be very unusual at this stage of her treatment. I thought I would check her temperature before I went to bed.

At about 10.30, Olivia’s temperature was pushing the 38 degree mark (she has to go straight to hospital with temps above 38 degrees). James and I were hopeful that this would pass but knew it was likely she’d end up in hospital. James waited up to check her temp an hour later which was well and truly over 38. We then made arrangements to take Olivia to hospital. James took her to the Gold Coast Hospital.

James returned to our apartment at around 4am to tell me that there were no beds available at the hospital and that they would be transferred to Brisbane Hospital. What a nightmare!

Monday 3rd November 2009

We went to Sea World today and met up with Mel, Sam and Mel’s sister’s family. We had a great day and the girls loved all of the rides as usual. Olivia was keen to try out the Pirate Ship again. We were a little concerned as on our last visit to Sea World, she seemed to get a little queasy and didn’t enjoy the ride as she had in the past. However, she was perfectly fine and went on it a couple of times. I don’t think I got the same enjoyment out of that ride as I felt a little green around the gills after just one go.

We also went on the Flume ride several times as it was the one ride the whole family could enjoy. Sarah absolutely loves it. I think we have another little adrenalin junkie on our hands.

Back at the apartment, I couldn’t find my phone. After James tried calling it, we assumed that I had lost it at Sea World and someone had found it and kept it. The phone didn’t ring and rather than going to through to my message bank, the message was that the mobile was not in service. I couldn’t remember losing it and was convinced I’d probably left it in the car. After a thorough search of the car (or so I thought), James and I realized that I probably wouldn’t be getting my phone back. I was so disappointed. I had some beautiful photos of the girls on there as well as all of my contacts, etc. It was a major inconvenience – I didn’t realize how much I depended on my phone. James reported my lost phone, cancelled the SIM and blacklisted the phone to prevent anyone from using or selling it.

1st November 2008

We returned to the hotel via taxi early the next morning, just in time for the yummy brekky they served in the restaurant at Rydges.

Apparently James and Sarah had a bit of a rough night. Some idiot was having a very loud and aggressive domestic dispute on the same floor as our room. He apparently set off the fire alarm at around 2am and then continued to cause a disturbance. He was soon arrested by a cop who happened to be staying in one of the nearby rooms. We heard that about 21 charges had been laid against him.

We checked out of our hotel and headed in the city for a bit of a shopping spree. We had been given some gift vouchers to spend at Queens Plaza. We found some good buys but it was an exhausting day. We headed over to Phil and Mel’s for dinner and then made our way to the Gold Coast.

We arrived at our Gold Coast apartment at around 9pm. The room we were given was not the room James had booked and there was a foul stench coming from the walk in robe and ensuite. The apartment had been sprayed with air freshener in an unsuccessful attempt to mask the odour. The smell was ghastly – it could’ve been either vomit or poo or perhaps even a combination of the two. Whatever it was, it seems to have permeated the carpet or walls. Luckily, the stench didn’t really affect the girls’ bedroom so we put them straight to bed. However, James and I had to drag the mattress out to the lounge room floor as the smell was unbearable. We complained to the night duty manager who, in turn, had the security guard check out the situation. He later informed us that the hotel was completely booked out and there were no other rooms available. We were very disappointed. We seem to have such bad luck with hotels – on two of our previous holidays, there was dried blood on the girls’ bedsheets!

We complained at reception the next morning and they arranged to move us that afternoon. We were moved into the type of room we had originally booked and it was odour-free (mind you, the cleaners still overdid it with the air freshener!).

The girls spent some time in the pool. Apparently, it was very cold so they didn’t last long. I wasn’t game to go in at all. Unfortunately, it was also an overcast and coolish day. I hope that this is not the sort of weather in store for us for the rest of the week.


Our Beautiful Girl