Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


In September 1976 Sonya turned two. We belonged to Springwood Playgroup. Parents took it in turns to hold playgroup in their homes. The kids had fun and parents had fun preparing activities. We also got to make new friends. Some of us are still in contact today and we have reunion dinners twice a year. I'm going to one tonight. We catch up on what our children and grandchildren are doing now days.
 Sonya had her party at playgroup. Another little boy, Troy had his birthday too.  Troy is now a specialist nurse, who helps doctors implant pacemakers. Sonya is an operational manager for NICA (National Institute for Circus Arts). Who would have guessed then.

We had indoor activities and outdoor play. Carol was four.

During 1976, Bill was very ill for three months. He collapsed at work and was rushed to hospital where they saw he was having a Left Jacksonian fit. The doctors said he had plaque float into his brain from the Carotid Artery. So he had a six hour operation to clean out the artery in his neck. There was a chance of brain damage so that scared me. I was lucky to have the best neighbour, Moira, who looked after the girls while I went to the hospital. (We have no family in Brisbane) My parents lived in Sydney, Bill's in Switzerland. He is an only child and my brother had just moved from PNG to  England. 
The operation was a success and he came home to recuperate. But it didn't happen. He got severe headaches and was projectile vomiting. I called an ambulance and sent him back to hospital. Doctors spent ages trying to find out what was wrong. There were no CAT scans in those days but he had every kind of brain x-ray available even one where they drilled out a piece of skull and pumped air in. They were trying to find a brain tumour which they suspected was causing the pain in his head.
After this last test his eyes pointed in different directions and he could see more than double  of everything but I was happy that he didn't have brain damage nor could they find a tumour. They gave him huge doses of cortisone and he started to get better.
A year later after going from one specialist to another, he was finally diagnosed with chronic sarcoidosis of the brain membrane, which is kept under control with a low dose of prednisone everyday. 
This photo was taken on his first day out after three months. He was marching for the Lions Club at Brisbane's Warana  Festival. I was so happy to have him back to himself and so were the girls.

Carol and Sonya at the festival.

 Daddy enjoying the girls again.

 The girls were two and four and becoming good play mates.

They entered the Miss Naarilla Tiny Tot Quest again but didn't win this time. I thought they were cute though.


Grossmutti knitted the vests and sent them from Switzerland. They hadn't met their Swiss grandparents yet. With Bill being sick and me not working plus paying a mortgage with a whopping 18% interest, there was no way we could afford to fly to Switzerland then.


  1. What a frightening time for you and Bill those many years ago, and glad they found a successful treatment. Cute little vests made by their Swiss grandma.

  2. So scary! Glad they had the treatment for him. The girls are so cute, great photos!

  3. That must have been dreadful and with you being so young at the time. Your story keeps on being very engaging.

  4. How scary it must have been for you during those tough times. But thankfully you survived and Bill had no brain damage.

  5. Ah yes, how well I remember the time of 18% mortgage rate. The grossmutti knitted nice garments, which your children were young enough not to hate. What a rough time of it Bill must have had, and you too of course, full of fear and responsibility.

  6. What a story Diane, you must have been very afraid in those days. Glad to hear all went better at the end.

  7. Hello, those must have been scary times. Your girls are so cute, great family photos. I am glad you had a happy ending. Enjoy your day and week ahead.

  8. I have never heard of anyt of these diseases or symptoms and I know back then there was not much to be done for same things happening now. so happy for all of you that he was back to playing with the girls and is still with you now. that had to be a terrifying time for all of you.

  9. I think it's so wonderful how you have kept up friendships from the past. I would love to know what became of some of the children (and parents) in the playgroup mine attended. Maybe people move around more often and farther away in the
    U.S. That must have been such a scary time when your husband was ill and the girls so young. So glad it worked out and you have had many more years together.

  10. You certainly had a lot going on in 1976. I didn't realize Bill was so ill at that time -- I'm glad that worked out okay. Your girls are absolutely adorable, but I suspect you knew that!

  11. Wow frightning stuff for you and I guess for Bill as well. It must have been difficult for you in many ways. I presume he is on medication for life but if it controls the problem then it is a blessing. Take care, t'other Diane

  12. My goodness, all on your own and a sick husband.
    You both did well to survive that one and what a blessing to have done so.
    Not good times then but always light at the end of the tunnel :) though it may be a long one.
    So pleased it all turned out alright in the end, and what a good thing it can be contained with a 'pill'.

  13. Well goodness me Diane, what a terrible time for yourself and Bill - at such a young age personally and with a young family. How very relieved you must have been to finally have him home, I can feel the relief in your words as you've written them.
    We do have wonderful Doctors and Nurses - and back then, as you say, there wasn't the equipment available that there is now.
    Moira sounds like such a kind person to you.
    The photos of your dear girls are beautiful and, of course, very precious to you. As I've said before, its lovely of you to share them. I too remember the playgroup days, it was a wonderful way to meet other Mums - an aspect I was grateful for, as well as for the children to learn to play together.

  14. That was a tough year for you all, Diane, and so glad that all turned out well. Thanks for sharing more of the story of your family theough good times and hard times as well.

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