Hi family and friends of Estelle

Feel free to email or phone us at any time. (03 62 253562  or mob 0408 377 107)

Phil & Jane

Estelle arrived home from hospital 9.00 am 1 December 2009 having spent 26 nights in hospital.



Latest Updates as of Mon 30/11/09 (Sorry I had yesterday's date here for most of today)

12.30 pm -
Jane dropped in this morning and Estelle is on target for a permanent homecoming on Wednesday.

5.15 pm - The news gets even better. I just visited Estelle and she said the Occupational Therapist (I think) will be taking her home tomorrow morning and if it is determined that Estelle can cope in her house, they will leave her there!!! I suspect that even if it is determined  the house isn't suitable - Estelle will be staying anyway. Shopping and everything is organised but I'm sure there will be things we all can do to help further down the track.

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Next update - Hopefully this will be the last update.


1.    Late October treated with anti-biotic for a chest infection which seemed to improve.

2.    Tues 3rd November had sleepless night with coughing fits. Strained stomach muscles by coughing violently.

3.    Wed 4th called doctor to visit. He confirmed a chest/lung infection and put Estelle on anti-biotic.

4.    Thur 5th Estelle had put herself to bed as she was feeling worse. Jane took food around in the afternoon and insisted an ambulance be called. Estelle agreed and called her doctor, who came and agreed. Taken to Emergency at the Royal and kept there overnight. Chest infection complicated by existing conditions emphysema

5.    Fri 6th Moved to Ward 1B. In some distress.

6.    Friday night/ Sat morning had respiratory failure and lost consciousness. Taken to ICU and put on a respirator and sedated until infection is cleared and vital signs return to normal. Could take a few days. Had a CT scan which showed no abnormalities.

7.    Sat 7th
2.30 pm  - Jane visited at noon today and there is little change since last night. ie On a respirator and sedated until the infection is gone and vital signs return to normal.

8.    Sun 8th  - At 8 am still much the same but some drugs have been stopped and she is initiating more of her own breathing. Plan is still to make sure all other signs are good before she is taken off the ventilator. Doctors were yet to complete their rounds at 12 noon so next update will be at 5 pm this afternoon.

                        At 5 pm. Just returned from the hospital and Estelle now only needs minimal support from the ventilator as she is mostly breathing by herself. She is on less sedation and briefly opened her eyes. Doctors are hoping to extubate (remove the tube) sometime tonight so hopefully there will be even better news before the next update late tomorrow morning.

9.   Mon 9th - 8 am. Saw Estelle only briefly this morning as the staff were about to change shifts. She still had the tube but she is being prepared to have it removed today which means other signs must be OK. Her eyes were open and she was aware. Next update about noon.

                 12.45 pm Nothing further.

                  4.45 pm After another visit I can only report that Estelle is to remain with the tube in for another day. Still an issue with deciding at what stage to extubate. Because the doctors have little base data about the condition of her respiratory system, they are not sure if there should/could be more improvement before removing the tube. Estelle is comfortable, wakens for very brief periods and is being well looked after. There is little chance of any change in her condition until after the rounds tomorrow morning. Next update early afternoon Tuesday.

10 Tue 10th -  1.20 pm The Registrar is pleased with Estelle's progress and is hoping to extubate tomorrow.

11 Wed 11th - 7.20 am - Estelle is still sedated and spent a peaceful night. She is fasting in anticipation of extubation today.

                       12.30 pm - Doctors  decided to leave Estelle as she is this morning and as they rarely extubate in the afternoons, it looks like tomorrow will be the earliest - guess we just have to be patient.

                       6.00 pm Brief visit and Estelle is still sedated but briefly opens eyes. Some uncertainty about whether the infection is bacterial or viral. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. 

 12 Thur 12th -

7.30 am - Estelle had a good night, stable, off morphine and able to follow simple instructions from the nurse. She is being prepared for extubation but, again, that will depend on the doctors decision made late morning. Apparently they need to know that basic signs are good, that x-rays don't show abnormalities like a collapse or build up of foreign material and that her gasses are good. The night nurse said that most of these, including her O2 levels, are fine but there is some concern about higher than normal CO2 levels. Because the doctors don't have baseline data for Estelle the doctors have to make the call as to whether current parameters are acceptable.

12.30 pm - Good news at last! Estelle is off the ventilator and breathing on her own. She is weak but lucid. She recognised Jane immediately and asked questions. Can't go back until 4 pm so next update early evening.

4.45 pm - Jane and I just returned from ICU. Although tired, Estelle was quite bright, joking and able to communicate as well as her still tender throat will allow. I passed on your collective well-wishes and she passes on her thanks and says hi. Could still be in ICU for a couple of days before moving to a ward, so still hold off on phone calls and visits just yet. CO2 levels are still a bit high but might be normal for Estelle.

13 Fri 13th -

9.15 am Estelle had a comfortable night and managed to get some sleep. Her CO2 level is below that which the doctors wanted and there is a chance she might be moved to a ward today. Thanks for the emails and cards. I  take them and read them to Estelle and put them away for future perusal. Hopefully she will be receiving more visitors once she leaves ICU.

1.15 pm - Bad news I'm afraid. Went to visit but the doctor informed me that her CO2 level rose to 80 this morning and she had to be intubated again. They have isolated a virus in material from her lungs. The virus is passed from human to human so Estelle has been put in a closed room as a precautionary measure. A respiratory specialist is seeing her and I am hopeful of receiving a report this afternoon. As Estelle was reasonably robust and active prior to going into hospital, the doctor is still confident of a positive outcome if they can overcome the virus. Her emphysema doesn't help the situation. She has been heavily sedated again so please refrain from calling the hospital or visiting. I was hoping Friday 13th was going to be a good day!

7.30 pm - Telephone conversation with one of her nurses who was most helpful. Estelle is still in ICU and intubated. She is settled and the dosages are low which indicates that her present condition is not long term. Lightly sedated, CO2 is improving, ph is better and she is on appropriate medicine. Hoping to attain the parameters for extubation sooner rather than later. Still some uncertainty about the virus and some discussion about whether Estelle had actually had the swine flu vaccine.

14 Sat 14th -

9.30 am - Had a long chat with the night nurse who is also an old friend of Jane. Estelle had a peaceful night but not real happy about being intubated again. The virus has been identified as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Click here if you want more information about RSV - a new window will open. There isn't a cure for this virus and it just has to run its course. A specialist is visiting today and the aim is to extubate as soon as possible. Estelle's other vital signs are within acceptable paremeters.

5..00 pm - Jane's visit saw Estelle comfortable, less agitated, not coughing, still in a closed room where gowns and gloves must be worn as a precaution against the virus. Able to communicate by gestures as she is still intubated. Her colour is much better and she has had a bed bath and her hair washed with a head massage thrown in because the nurse is one of Jane's friends. Jane went to leave but she was summoned back with a waving foot! - That's our practical Estelle.

15 Sun 15th -

11.00 am - Went to visit this morning but couldn't see Estelle as she was being extubated which is good news.

12.00 am - Rang Estelle's nurse (she has one in the room with her at all times) and he said she has been going "famously" I'm off to see her now so next update in a couple of hours.

1.45 pm - A visit found Estelle very well indeed. Tubes are out and she is speaking OK but with some discomfort. She still has her own room and personal nurse (a handsome young man!) She says hi to everyone and I read your emails to her. Nurse was happy with all the basic signs and fighting the virus is going well.

5.30 pm - Jane reports that Estelle is still making progress, joking and comfortable - fingers crossed!

16 Mon 16th -

8.00 am- Estelle had a good night, managing some sleep and a cup of tea at 3am. She ate a light breakfast and feels much stronger. Still in the same room and is having x-rays today.

4.45 pm - Estelle has left ICU and moved to a ward which is terrific news. She is still in a room by herself as a precaution against the virus and I had to wear a gown and mask etc. She is in good spirits but doesn't want other visitors just yet,  while she is still weak. Her muscles have wasted quite a bit so she starts some serious physio tomorrow and hopefully most of the other wires and bits and pieces attached to her will be removed. There were three doctors present including a lung specialist so she is in good hands and hopefully can make a speedy recovery from here.

17 Tue 17th -

8.40 - Estelle had a peaceful night and slept well.

12 noon - Just returned from a visit and found Estelle sitting and without any tubes or wires. She has stood up and taken a step or two. Still have to wear gown, gloves etc when entering the room so it is still best for Estelle if she doesn't have other visitors just yet - minimises the risk of infection. She will be in hospital for awhile yet so will no doubt appreciate visitors soon.

6 pm - Jane reports that Estelle continues to improve and can't wait to have a shower. If all goes well, she could be home sooner than we thought - fingers crossed.

18 Tue 18th -

11.30 am- Estelle continues to improve. She was delighted to have a shower this morning and has been talking to the Occupational Therapist about the suitability of her home environment and what support she might need. She could be home as early as this Friday but this depends on her improvement over the next couple of days. Visitors still have to wear gown etc

6.00 pm - Jane reports she is continuing to make progress. She has had more physio but the powerful drugs she has been given over the last week have wasted her muscles and a Friday home day is probably optimistic. Taking a step or two is difficult at this stage and until she can manage her home environment she will remain in care.

19 Thur 19th -

3.00 pm- Estelle is having physio sessions to try and get some strength back. She still isn't walking but doing well and cheerful and chatty. She has had some other visitors but gowns and gloves must still be worn.

6.00 pm - Estelle is working out with a physio. She is able to stand, walk in a frame and perform a routine of execises.. They are aiming to transfer her to the Dwyer ward tomorrow for more intensive rehabilitation. She has had quite a few visitors and gowns are still required but will not be necessary if she goes to the Dwyer ward. She is very positive and looking forward to going home but knows that she can't rush it.

20 Fri 20th -

1140 am- Estelle is still making progress. Jane visited this morning and took track pants etc ready for her more intense physio sessions. No need to wear gown and gloves anymore so the doctors must think the virus has gone. If you wish to visit, it might pay to ring the hospital for a suitable time otherwise take pot luck.

6.20 pm-  No new news

21 Sat 21st

4.30 pm- Estelle is still making progress. She walks well in her frame and can manage more things for herself. She's had quite a few visitors today and is down to move to the Dwer Ward when a bed is available. She is in good spirits and working hard on her exercises to build up wasted muscles.

22 Sun 22nd -

12.47 pm- Jane just returned from a visit and the news isn't good unfortunately. Estelle had an episode last night where she again had difficulty breathing. A team of doctors attended her and they are still unsure what is preventing Estelle from making a complete recovery. She is still alert and chatty but If you are going to visit please keep it short as she tires quickly.

23 Mon 23rd

8.45 am- Spoke to Estelle on the phone this morning and she had a comfortable night and slept well. She still has the antibiotic line in and seems to think she might have it in for some days which will hinder her exercise program. She is in good spirits despite the setbacks. Try to keep visits short.

3.00 pm- Estelle still has a line in her arm but can get herself  in and out of bed to sit on her chair, read and do the crossword etc. Says thanks for your thoughts and well wishes. I read your emails to her and have saved them for her to read in detail at a later date.

24 Tue 24/11/09 

12.27 pm - Just returned having found Estelle significantly improved. The drip line has been removed, she had just had a shower and it seems highly likely that she will go to the Dwyer Ward today, where she can concentrate on getting some strength back. She had a good night's sleep and is in good spirits.

5.45 pm - Good news. Estelle was moved to the Dwyer Ward today. It is in the same floor as 1B North and just around the corner -so to speak. Visiting hours are flexible but between 10 am and 8 pm. Any therapy obviously takes priority. Let's hope there aren't any sneaky set backs around the corner.

25 Wed 25/11/09

12.00 noon - Estelle has made herself at home in the Dwyer Rehabilitation Unit. There is a large multi-purpose reception, kitchen, dining, lounge area and Estelle was quite comfortable in a leather lounge chair reading her book. She is quite mobile with the support of a light walking frame and was dressed in her track pants and polo top as she had been to a gym session in the morning. This unit doesn't have a mobile phone so to speak to Estelle would mean she would have to move to the reception area. Feel free to visit but be mindful that she has morning and afternoon gym sessions and tomorrow morning she has a lung test.

26 Thur 26/11/09

4.30 pm - Late report today as I didn't go to the hospital until late. Estelle continues to improve in the Dwyer Rehabilitation Unit. She can now walk with the assistance of a walking stick rather than a frame. She is practicing most of the actions she will need to cope with going home which could be within a week. Fingers crossed!

6.30 pm  - Jane organised to take our hairdresser friend Di to cut Estelle's hair and she was most appreciative.

27 Fri 27/11/09

12.30 pm - Found Estelle working out in the gym with her physio. Later they moved to the hospital's internal stairs where she managed a flight without assistance. She is still hopeful of going home early next week.

28 Sat 28/11/09

2.00 pm - Jane visited this morning and Estelle continues to prepare for going home, hopefully by the middle of this week.

29 Sun 29/11/19

5.30 pm - Jane and I have both visited today as have other friends. She continues to make progress and it is planned for her to make a visit home on Tuesday to assess her requirements for a permanent return.