There is nothing worse than the feeling of walking onto a hospital cancer ward for children for the first time, knowing you will be part of this new world that seemed so far away from your current happy life at home. You expect a surreal feeling of depression and sorrow, but when spending time on Ward 4 at the Great North Children’s Hospital you find the opposite.
Yes there is anxiety, worry and a lot of unhappy times, but there is also such a strong togetherness from the parents, families and nurses involved. The children too seem very happy with lots to do, they pull together and race around the ward in toy cars, pushbikes and more all the while attached to their chemo drips which simply doesn’t bother them. Bravery and courage comes to mind.
Everything is done for you. The nurses keep observing your child as much as possible, checking temperatures, blood and pressure regularly. Medication is also administered regularly and all organised for you. Meals are provided and you even get your own dietician for your child. All that you as a parent need to do is be there for your child with all the love and attention they need to pull through.
Finley had his obs done at regular intervals even during the night. Blood was taken for testing, chemo was given all through a portocath directly into his main arteries into his heart. Medication was oral however and the nurses also administered this via syringes again on a regular basis managing all the correct levels so we need not to worry.
Being only 9 months old, Finley’s special Neocate milk was also mixed up all ready and pasteurised into bottles for his daily feeds ordered by the Dietician. All we had to do was heat it up, it was all cared for. The support and service received on the Ward was second to none.
Ward 4 becomes your life when you are first admitted. Living in a hospital for days nevermind weeks is expensive. Having to source your own meals, provide entertainment for your child on a daily basis and coping with stress, worry and everything else you might imagine becomes a routine. But the Ward has most things you need. There are other things the Ward could do with which we feel would certainly help other families get through the stay there. We want to help raise funds to acquire these things for the Ward personally.