I took Aidan to a nearby TaeKwon-Do
class with the friendly guys and gals at Chong-Hwa
to do some training. Trish took him to his first class official
class with Master Low
just before his diagnosis in October 1999. He really enjoys running around
and jumping over pads. He has been unofficially attending classes since
he was this big, first in a carry basket and later as a spectator
from atop a picnic blanket. Caitlin sometimes joins Aidan on his viewing
perch at class.
Aidan in his dobuk beneath the ITF
Click image to enlarge.
Aidan practicing his walking stance with help from Dad.
Click image to enlarge.
Aidan performing a walking stance punch.
Click image to enlarge.
Trish, Aidan and I called upon Dr. Baker to discuss
the forthcoming operation with Aidan. Trish spoke to the little man briefly
beforehand to tell about the operation. He just nodded quietly, accepting
the situation and then went off to play with the other kids. Somehow, he
already knew something was brewing. I know he has just clocked over 6 years,
but the past 18 months have aged him well beyond 6. He never fails to amaze
We rounded the day off on a happy note at the
Discovery Centre playing with gadgets and seeing how stuff works. I
don't know who enjoyed it the most, Trish or Aidan.
Trish, Aidan, Caitlin and I spent the morning
loping along atop "the ships of the desert". For months we have been waiting
to spend some time with the camels at the Calamunda
Camel Farm and today was the day. Trish clung to Caitlin on one beasty,
while I clung to Aidan on another. I've spent a little time with the "tall
hairy kneecapped ones" in the past, but never a long walk through bush.
We had a ball. The camels and staff were wonderful hosts.
The second of this week's distractions was a trip to Caversham Wildlife
Park, featuring native fauna, such as kangaroos, koalas and, an alpaca
which is sort of native, but not really. Aidan and Caitlin seemed to enjoy
feeding the critters. Possibly more amusing were the Asian tourists who
took a shine to Liam and Evan and snapped a few pictures for their albums.
7-Apr-2001 to 8-Apr-2001
An Australian folk band by the name of "Weddings, Parties, Anything"
summed up the weekend with a song titled "Away, Away". We escaped for a
camping trip at the Lane Poole forest reserve near the town of Dwellingup,
south of Perth. The whole tribe came, including some of Trish's family
to help juggle kids. The days were good ... and warm. The nights were not
so good ... and way cold. While Aidan and Caitlin slept through the chilly
evenings, the twins opted to scream and scream some more, something to
do with cold fingers and noses. We honoured camping traditions by loafing
around during the day and managed to spend a little while on the Murray
River paddling about. Aidan and Caitlin were quite taken by canoeing, so
it could be an activiy to revive in the near future. We returned to Perth
(well, actually Lesmurdie) for an Easter Egg hunt at Grandma and Opa's
house. The kids now have much egg.
Aidan near the Murrary River in Dwellingup.
Click to enlarge.
Today is the day of reckoning. Trish, Aidan and I arrived at the hospital
early morning for admission and blood sampling. Aidan spent part of the
morning running and flying around the ward in his Superman suit, a birthday
gift courtesy of Uncle Bob and Aunty Mary. We also idled a while in the
Starlight Room playing air hockey and snooker. We were summoned away from
the fun stuff for surgery about 1 pm. Trish followed Aidan into pre-op
and emerged a short while later. The waiting game was just beginning.
Trish, Grandma, Nanna and Nanna Pat waited it out in the Friendship
Room which adjoins theatre. Not being a "cup of tea" person I spent the
time walking around Subiaco with my sister Nicola, collecting books for
him to read after surgery.
Mr. George Wong, the chief neurosurgeon, emerged from theatre about
4 hours later to let us know the surgery to sample tissue for a biopsy
and remove a suspected secondary tumour was a success. Another hour passed
before Aidan was wheeled to the intensive care unit (ICU). Unlike the previous
surgical episode, he was virtually unscathed, bar a very large bandage
above his hairline; the entry point for the procedure.
Aidan was partially conscious, but mostly disoriented by the medication.
His little hand reached out clumsily to touch Trish's face. Unfortunately,
he slept very little in ICU due to the noise of staff and equipment that
were focused on another child in a critical condition.
The prognosis is unknown at this stage. We are awaiting upon a full
pathology report of the tissue sample taken during surgery. After that,
we just don't know. One day at a time.
Many thanks to Aidan's neurosurgeons, Mr. George Wong and Mr. David
Holthouse and the theatre staff who brought him safely through the ordeal
Aidan playing snooker in the Starlight Room before surgery. Click
Superman Aidan with Mum and Dad before surgery. Click to enlarge.
Superman Aidan receiving a dose of sleepy medication before surgery
which dropped him like a rock.
Aidan and Dad in ICU after surgery.
Aidan awoke a little tired and irritable in ICU, but nothing severe.
He was rather parched and spent a goodly while muching on ice cubes before
downing some water. He was discharged from ICU about noon and took up brief
residence in Ward 3B before a CT scan. The CT scan will be used by the
surgeons to determine how much tissue was removed. He returned to Ward
3B to devour a chocolate Easter Egg delivered by Kylie the playleader.
He was quiet for most of the day with the heavy drugs wearing off and general
fatigue from the traumatic operation. He dozed in between TV shows during
the afternoon and fell into a restless slumber during the night.
Many of the nurses and other staff have set aside a special place in
their hearts for Aidan and were asking after him today. We have also received
many supportive email messages. Thankyou to everybody.
Aidan's friends at Walliston
Primary School wishing him a speedy recovery.
Thanks to Aidan's teacher, Mrs. Thomson, for organising the photo.
Click on image to enlarge.
The little guy is doing so much better today. He walked to one of the
school classes during the morning and was happily playing with toys when
I visited at lunch. His temperature has come down to a reasonable level
and he slept a little more during the night. When I left with Grandma and
Opa this evening he was busily muching his way through a chocolate Easter
Egg donated by Big Matthew. He was also making silly faces at me when I
left, which is a very good indication of his recovery.
Aidan with some of his easter eggs.
Some wonderful people at my old TaeKwon-Do club in Denver, Colorado
(USA) published a short dedication to the little guy. See here.
Aidan and Trish returned home today. He is in great shape, bar 35 stitches
along his hairline. Big James commented on a striking resemblance between
Aidan's head and a softball.
Aidan and Caitlin have been truly honoured by the Easter Bunny this
year. Our house is filled to the brim with chocolate contrivances. We will
be force feeding the kids chocolate between now and next easter to clear
the stash. Thanks to the many people who have donated their time, good
will and eggs to the little man in the past few days.
Trish took Aidan to the hospital to have his stitches removed in the
morning. Trish and I later attended the funeral for our neighbour Beth
Colley who was diagnosed with lung and brain tumours only a few weeks ago.
Beth was always asking after Aidan's health. It was only right we payed
The US Navy's Constellation Battle Group (USS Constellation, USS Chosin,
USS Benfold, USNS San Hose and USNS Rainier) spent a few days in Perth.
I tried in vain all morning and at port to organise a tour of the aircraft
carrier USS Constellation
for Aidan, Caitlin, Neil and I with the resident public relations officer,
Lt. Charlie Brown, but to no avail. Nobody could get hold of the guy. We
were eventually ushered through the passenger terminal gates by a good-natured
petty officer. The tour was self-paced and included the cargo bay and flight
deck. Aidan was captivated by a makeshift baseball game the sailors had
rigged on the flight deck and waited patiently for his turn to swing the
bat. Caitlin just wanted to go home. Each to their own. The sailors and
officers proved to be good hosts.
The engineering which goes into an aircraft carrier is nothing short
of amazing. Many moons ago (1982) I ventured onto the USS
John F. Kennedy and still have fond memories of that visit.
Aidan, Caitlin and I saw the USS
Kitty Hawk briefly in mid-1999 when it came to Perth, but arrived too
late for a tour.
USS Constellation arriving in Fremantle, Western Australia on 17
Caitlin and Aidan inspecting the cockpit of a helicopter with one of
The lab results from Aidan's surgery on 9-Apr-2001 are inconclusive.
The pathologists don't yet know what to make of the tissue sample from
the biopsy. Looks like we'll be waiting a bit longer before we know what's
Aidan, Caitlin, Trish and I took our place beneath the Stardust
Circus bigtop, courtesy of the local chapter of Camp
Quality. The session featured clowns, trained animals (lions, horses,
monkeys and Arna
the elephant) and gymnists (trapeze artists, rope artists). The clowns
were great; Aidan deafened my right ear with his laughter. We were all
spellbound by the gymnists balancing upon poles 30 feet up or spinning
through the air ever so gracefully. The animals performed on cue (mostly),
but the lions and elephant looked like they would rather be someplace else.
Aidan and Caitlin with a clown from the Stardust circus.
Last updated: 26-Jun-2001