Thursday’s Child (cont’d)

We arrived at the hospital late that afternoon, and went immediately to the Emergency Dept, where we were ushered through by a nurse to take Luke’s obs. Questions were asked about Luke’s symptoms, and we told them what we could.

Some time later, a blood test was required and so my husband David carried Luke into a treatment room, where several nurses were standing…I waited outside.Luke was placed on the bed, where the nurses were preparing to take his blood.

David needed to refrain Luke from wriggling and thrashing about, and it wasn’t long before his screams echoed down the corridor. I peered through the door, and caught a glimpse of David holding Luke down, as well as the nurses. Our poor little boy was terrified and so were we! As they made their way out of the room, Luke was bathed in sweat, and tears were streaming down his face, and also ours.

From there we were taken to a room, where a ward clerk spoke to us, he mentioned having to spend the night in hospital, and possibly a week or two while tests were carried out. I spent that first night with Luke, we were sent to a ward for contagious diseases, as it was initially thought he may have contracted hepatitis.

It was a noisy place, nurses talking and laughing loudly, babies were crying…not the sort of place you get a good night’s sleep. Luke eventually settled, apart from the nurse coming in to check his obs; and administer panadol and check his blood pressure.

The next day we were greeted with more nurses, doctors, interns, medical students came and went. Luke was the centre of attention, as his stomach was examined repeatedly by the doctors, all eager to give their medical opinion based on his symptoms.

By mid morning most of our family had assembled in our room, gathered around Luke’s cot, waiting for a verdict! Two male doctors entered the room, and greeted us. One was quite old, but exerted authority, the other perhaps in his early forties. They introduced themselves and proceeded to talk about Luke’s condition and their initial diagnosis.

It was highly likely our son had a tumour, they were not sure exactly as a biopsy would need to be performed, but they had mentioned two types of cancer, Wilm’s Tumour or Neuroblastoma.

Once the biopsy was carried out they could then give us a more informed diagnosis, along with the blood test, so until then we had to sit tight!I was in shock, and so to my husband, tears streamed down our faces.

The biopsy was scheduled the next day, and so many calls were made to family and friends over the coming days, as visitors came and went. Luke needed to fast for the procedure, and he was anaesthetized under a general anaesthetic.

It was then confirmed the following day, that Luke had Neuroblastoma. We were then moved to the oncology ward called “Brookman” where Luke would receive his chemo as an in-patient for the next 6-9 months.

We met some other patients and families, whom were also under going treatment. It was an eye opener, to say the least. The ward was tired looking, with out dated curtains, we were put in a bay with four other patients, with only a curtain, for privacy. Parents had a Jason recliner to sleep in, pale brown in colour. There was a toilet/shower and deep basin (to bath babies) which was shared amongst the patients/parents.

For more information on Neuroblastoma: