Medical Diary
Contact details:
117 Tropical Avenue
Andergrove, Qld, 4740
(07) 4955 2190
Nothing much keeps this woman down for long!!
See Pictures and Video of Olive here
Friday October 16th 2009

David arrives from Italy on Friday morning. We go straight to the hospital.

Olive is weak and semi-conscious, but she seems to recognise David and responds to  his touch and his voice.

Olive passes away peacefully at 9.00pm

Thursday October 15th

Olive is very weak, and drowsy on the medication. She has many visitors.

Wednesday October 14th

Olive wakes early in the morning with sever pain. Nick and I rush her to the Mater  Hospital where she is re-admitted and her condition is stabilised. Su arrives from  Melbourne.

Tuesday October 13th

Olive condition is worsening. We arrange for a nurse to bath her in the mornings and  to recharge the medicine dispenser in the evening.
I call David in Italy and Su in Melbourne, and advise them to get on a plane.

Monday October 12th

Home at last!! The dog, Gizzie, is really happy to see her. The affection is  reciprocated.

She is very, very weak. I am concerned for her well being. She really should be  where she can get professional 24 hour attention.

Nick and I manage her condition as best we can, but we are not professionals.

October 10-11th weekend

Her condition  continues to worsen. She desperately wants to come home.  The Doctors agree to discharge her Monday.

October 9th 2009

Rod and Nick (Rod's younger son) in Mackay.  Olive is very weak, she wants to come home, but cannot do so until her condition  stabilises. We anticipate she will go home on Monday October 12th.

She needs frequent medical supervision.

October 7th 2009

Olive taken into hospital - nausia, difficulty breathing, very weak.

She is fitted with a portable medicine delivery pack, which meters out a prearranged  dose of  medicine. It is awkward and clumsy, but without it, she cannot manage the  pain.

September 2009

I talk to Olive on the phone every day.

Olive's condition slowly deteriorates. Darryl is helping her around the house.

September 3rd 2009

Rod and Su in Mackay

Olive has difficulty eating - she is consuming very little.

Her back pain continues and she is on morphine patches to control the pain.

Other wise in good spirits.

Tuesday August 11th 2009

Real improvement!!!

Olive now feels well enough to bollock me severely, for telling people not to come  and see her.

To the contrary, she would love you all to come and see her and you can stay there  as well!!

Sorry for getting this wrong Olive...

Sunday July 26th 2009

She is still in bad shape - cannot talk easily and frequently needs oxygen.

Darryl, who was house sitting for her while she was in Melbourne, is helping her  with chores.

Hazel has offered to come back to care for her - Olive would like that, and we will  explore that option shortly.

Saturday July 25th 2009

Liz visits Olive.

Wednesday July 23rd 2009

Her doctor has put her back on the medication that knocked her over in March,  albeit, he claims it is a milder dose and should not trouble her.

She takes the pills for three days and is reduced to the same invalid condition that  she suffered in March - she has terrible trouble breathing and is almost constantly  on oxygen.She cannot talk without great difficulty.

She stops taking the medication. We hope that she will recover as she did last time.

July 2009

Olive has another X-ray. The cancer has doubled since March 2009.

She visits Rod and Su in Melbourne from July 13th to July 19th. She tires easily, and walks slowly, but unaided. Her cough is deep.

However, she is in good spirits and her legs tapped all night to the 20 piece big  band we went to see in Richmond.

Darryl, a local Mackay friend, has been house sitting for her while she is in  Melbourne.

We were sad to hear that Don Fife died of cancer last month.

June 2009

Olive's health continues unchanged.

Her back pains are from a collapsed disk. She has morphine patches for pain relief.

Hazel returns to the West - there is little she needs to do.

May 2009

Olive has made remarkable recovery and is almost back to her old self. She does get  tired more quickly, but is much better.

She is back to coping very independently. There is nothing Olive needs from us, and  we are just getting under her feet.

Su and I decide to return to Melbourne.
General Request


Please be aware that whilst Olive is very touched that people care
and want to see her, she cannot cope with long conversations.

Please try not to make her talk

Talking tires her out very quickly.

Please do not ring her - please call Rod on (03) 8383 2467

And regrettably, she cannot possibly have people staying with her.

You are asked to find alternative accommodation.

We are sure you understand.
Thursday 9th - Saturday 10th April 2009

Nothing new to report.

Wednesday 8th April 2009

Hazel, son Dean and dogs have arrived from the West.

Hazel has offered to stay with Olive as a carer - she is free of obligations until  September, when she must return to WA.

This is a very kind offer. Olive has company and someone to assist her in day to day  activities.

We talk to Centrelink to formalise the arrangement.

Su returns to Melbourne.

Tuesday 7th April 2009

Excellent meeting with the ladies at Centrelink. Good support, very good advice.

Olive has bad back pains. Her GP's comments are that the pain is probably not  related to the cancer, but cannot be sure without a CAT scan, which Olive declines.  He prescribes Panadol Forte. Her back pain is slowing her down.

Saturday 4th - Mon 6th April 2009

Nothing new to report.

Friday 3rd April 2009

Nothing new to report.

Thursday 2nd April 2009

Nothing new to report.

Apointments have been made to talk to Officers at the Department of Health and Aging  in Mackay on Tuesday.

Wednesday 1st April 2009

Nothing new to report

Rod leaves for Melbourne for long standing dental appointment.

Hazel is driving over from Tom Price - she should get to Mackay around Friday April  3rd.

Tuesday March 31st 2009

Nothing new to report

Monday March 30th 2009

Olive is still off oxygen completely. Nothing else to report

Sunday March 29th 2009

Another good day yesterday and a reasonable night. Olive is now off oxygen  completely.

Her cough is still bad, but seems to be bothering her less than before.

Went to Eimeo pub yesterday for lunch - caught up with Joan Strait, her old school  mate.

Saturday March 28th 2009

Yesterday was a much better day.

We saw Dr De Silva. Olive told him she believes the pills are making her sick. She did not taken any pills that morning and feels much, much better.

After listening to her describe the symptoms, he reminds her that together they set  the primary goal some time ago - to maintain the best quality of life. He says belief is very powerful, and if she believes the pills are doing her harm,  then don't take them any more. Just stop taking them!

She is very relieved.

He tells her to take a holiday... he measures her oxygen level and tells her that it  is 95% - normal. He then measures his own level and shows it to her - 95%. He says  her oxygen level does not preclude her from flying.
"Take a holiday. Go somewhere"

He arranges for a new x-ray and subsequent consultation, for the end of April.

Olive spends the whole day off the oxygen. She is much better - less coughing, more energy, more spritely.

Friday March 27th 2009

A very bad night for Olive.

A frightening episode - she was choking and coughing. Don't know how long she will  be able stay in the house - even with Su and I here.

She intends to stop taking the pills that make her nauseous and unwell. At least  until she speaks with the doctor. We will see de Silva today at 12.30pm.  "I am allowed to put my dog to sleep, but I'm not allowed to put myself to sleep"  she said.

She is being assessed for the level of care that she needs by an ACAT team member  this afternoon.  They will almost certainly recommend that she no longer drives.  That will be a real blow to her independence, albeit, she is no longer in any shape  to safely control a vehicle. 

I have cancelled our flights back to Melbourne. Hoping the insurance company will  cover the costs.

I will return to Melbourne for some dental treatment of my own next Wednesday. I  will be away for four days, but Su will remain.

Thursday March 26th 2009

A reasonable night for Olive, not too much coughing.

Today I saw her physician, Dr De Silva. Olive was suppose to accompany me, but she  felt too unwell to go out. The pills she takes to ease her airways, give her bad  stomach cramps, nausea and diarrehha. She takes other pills to ease these symptoms,  but some thing is not right.

De Silva says her current symptoms are those of smoking related diseases (emphysema)  - not cancer. His prognosis for her is around 12 months, but he emphasises  that  these are only estimates.

She will see him tomorrow.

Picked up the portable oxygen breathing pack today. This is a small bottle - about  400mm high but still weighs too much for her to cart around. Someone will have to  carry it for her. So much for portable.

Many more people are saying they want to come to Mackay to visit her.

This is going to be difficult - she cannot cope. I am going to have to disappoint a  lot of people and just say no.

Wednesday March 25th 2009

Last night, a nice birthday dinner was had by all.

Olive had many, many phone calls - thank you all for thinking of her. And particular  thanks to Paul for the musical rendition. 

David McLeod tells me he is planning to return to visit Olive from Italy around the  end of April, to coincide with his birthday.

Many other people have also indicated that they would like to come to Mackay to  visit her.

Because Olive tires so very easily now, my initial thought was to arrange a common  date, based around David's visit, so that everyone could come along and we could  have just one big gathering.

I suggested this to Olive, but she doesn't think she can cope with a large gathering  of people, so this idea is on hold.

But I'm not sure that she will be able to cope with a large number of individual  visits either.
I spoke with Doctor Green today. He says she will become progressively weaker with  time.

So, I don't know what to suggest here other than if you want to come, make it sooner  rather than later.

I am arranging a portable oxygen bottle backpack, so Olive can get out of the house.  Her existing setup runs on mains power, with a large industrial size emergency  bottle to hookup if the power fails.
Tuesday March 24th 2009

Happy Birthday Olive!!  Olive is 84 years young today.

We are having a birthday evening at home with Alan and Colin-Mark Christensen.

Monday March 23th 2009

Olive needs oxygen frequently to assist her breathing and with the DVA having  provided an oxygen machine today at her home, she was released from hospital this  afternoon.

I spoke to her doctor this afternoon - news is not good.

She has a virilent form of lung cancer, that was not apparent in the xrays 12 months  ago.

Apparently, it spreads very quickly.

Given her age and frailty, she cannot have radiation or chemotherapy. The doctors  are simply providing palliative care to keep her comfortable.

The Doctor expects her timeframe is 4-5 months and suggests that she can no longer  live unaccompanied any more.

Su and I intend to relocate to Mackay to look after her.

Friday March 19-20th 2009

No change.

Rod will be talking to the Doctors on Monday 23nd.

I will post information as it comes to hand.

PLEASE DO NOT RING HER IN THE MORNINGS - she feels better in the afternoons.

Please do not keep her talking too long - she gets breathless easily.

Wednesday March 18th 2009

Olive continues to use oxygen as required and has regular physiotherapy. She is also  using different equipment to excercise her lungs.

PLEASE DO NOT RING HER IN THE MORNINGS - she feels better in the afternoons.

Please do not keep her talking too long - she gets breathless easily.

Tuesday March 17th 2009

Olive was admitted to the Mater Hospital in Mackay today, experiencing breathing  difficulties.

She has been given oxygen to ease the air passages and has regular physiotherapy on  her chest and back.

Chest X-Rays show a shadow on her lung. This is being investigated.

She has a direct line to her room - (07) 4965 5125.

Please keep the conversations short - she gets breathless easily.

PLEASE DO NOT RING HER IN THE MORNINGS - she feels better in the afternoons.

Rod and Su will be in Mackay on Sunday March 22nd and, depending on doctor's advice, 
will endevour to take her home sometime after that.