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Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Journey of Oscar's Central Line

On the day the kind Dr in Emergency at Westmead’s Children’s Hospital told me that Oscar had Leukaemia I was alone and scared. When Pete arrived I had to try and tell him the diagnosis and could not say more than “He has L...”. Over and over I repeated this without being able to complete the word Leukaemia out load.

It was a very long day spent trying to get a needle into Oscar’s collapsing veins – the nurses literally spent hours of the day making attempts at this. They must have been short on beds and they finally transferred us to the Camperdown Ward at around 9pm. We had arrived in Emergency more than 12 hours earlier thinking Oscar had an ear infection. What a strange and dark 12 hours of being bombarded with information about a disease that could take Oscar’s life.

When we got to the ward a nurse walked into the room carrying a doll with a strange contraption in its chest. She explained that this was a central line and that Oscar would need one to make it easier for them to take blood and administer chemo and other drugs to him over the coming months of treatment. She also told us that the central line would get ripped out at some stage and that this was all part of the journey.

I remember clearly wishing that she would shut up. I could not take any more information in that day and I did not want to hear about the emergency procedures for ensuring my son did not bleed out when he one day pulled out a central line he didn’t even have yet. I also remember thinking very strongly – that is not going to happen to Oscar.

Within 12 more hours Oscar had a central line in his chest. I remember the early morning run to the theatre, kissing him as they put him off to sleep, the first of many anxious waits for his return and the shock of how sick he looked and this new strange contraption in his chest.

We have come a long, long way since that day and on Wednesday 16th March Oscar’s central line was removed! He never did pull it out and I never had to sit on his chest and apply pressure while waiting for an ambulance. We were super vigilant and careful and it served us well for almost 9 months. Well done Oscar for treating it with such respect.

Aside from the miraculous fact that it has been instrumental in saving Oscar’s life it has taught him lots of new words like, “blood”, “flush”, “push”, “central line”, “medicine”, “cold”, “all done”, “all clean now” and “change dressing”. He can say all these things very clearly and is not backward in bossing the nurses about how it works.

So on Wednesday when he came out of surgery and I pointed out to him that it was gone he looked down, spread his arms out wide and said, “Oscar’s central line all gone”, and then promptly burst into tears. On waking the next day he did the same thing. He had become very attached to his special central line and liked walking around the house after bath pushing his chest out, showing off and saying, “Oscar’s central line”, over and over.

It is very emotional.

For all of us.

Thank you central line. You served us well and we are grateful for such a nifty invention and all the pain it saved us along the way.

Luckily, whenever we say goodbye to one thing we are always saying hello to another and I’m sure Oscar will completely forget how much he loved his central line when he discovers that he can now go swimming and have the freedom to play with water whenever he wants.

So, goodbye central line and hello our new friend ‘freedom’.


  1. A beautiful piece of writing and one that made me cry. yay for that huge step xxoo

  2. Darling Cindy, Oscar, Pete and Auden... you did it!! I wish in our own concerns and sadness we could have been more present in such a joyous occassion. Wonderful, wonderful step. I'm so happy for your beautiful family. Lotes of Love the Marriotts. xx

  3. Thanks girls for keeping up with this blog when you have so much on your own minds - and for your kind comments. Thinking of you all the time. Love Cind x