Friends, fevers, five nights in a Starship

Last weekend we had a fab birthday party for two of Zoe’s friends whose parties she had missed out on. This is of course a tragedy when you’re 3. Plus, any excuse to make cupcakes with pink icing and cookies with pebbles in them is a good one. Zoe has spent so little time with other kids recently I was a bit worried how it would go. But these 3 were at daycare together from 10 months old and it was about 2 minutes before they hit their straps. Sqealing, playing, dragging out every toy in the house, it was like they still saw each other every day. Balloons, rings with lipgloss in them, making tiaras with “jewels” on them, piggy back races down the driveway (hey, how come the parents are doing the running around and the kids are getting rides?) and 4 hours later only the debris was left. What a gang!
The rest of the week was pretty much taken up with our first admission to Starship. We count ourselves incredibly lucky to have got half way through treatment with only one admission. For some of the kids its a second home, which is why its so cool the new ward is so amazing.
On Tuesday Zoe’s gums started bleeding so a quick trip to clinic for a platelet infusion. Wednesday was red cells. Wednesday night was a fever of 39.5, so back to Starship for admission. With chemo kids, a fever can mean a deadly infection, so they’re pretty cautious, especially when their white blood cells are low. Two platelet infusions later (fevers eat platelets, who knew?) some IV antibiotics and Zoe’s fever normalised, but not having found an infection source, Zoe was put into isolation and tested for swine flu and common respitory viruses. Lots of yellow gowns and disposable masks later she was cleared. Actually, she was probably the least sick kid on the ward. They let us home today, even though her white cell count is still not great. Who knew paying the bills online while sipping pinot gris would be such a treat after surviving on instant coffee, toast and cholocate bars (that’s not what they feed the kids by the way).
For some of the parents, what we’ve done for five days in the last 4 months is going on about every second week and their kids are having a lot more bad days. They deserve medals, but at least they’ve now got a family friendly environment thanks to the Starship Foundation. I’d have to say the staff all deserve medals too, special mention to Zoe’s friend Nikki the Nurse and Jo “who loves us.”

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