Australia Zoo

In hospital, Lewis is very comfortable and has had a peaceful and pretty undisturbed night. The nurse comes to do his pre-op observations and confirms that they are to operate today and sometimes a slot can become available as early as 10.30am. After the operation once he is able to drink, has passed water and has been seen by the physiotherapist he can be discharged.


One of the nurses is Kevin Bechly, his son Callum had played in the under 16 game and the family had billeted Rhys Baker. He had been at the game and had seen Lewis’s injury. He was surprised that the ambulance took so long to arrive and that there was no pain relief available for him before the ambulance arrived. Given the seriousness of the injury he felt that Lewis had dealt with the pain remarkably well.


Mr Long and Mr Lewis phone to check on Lewis’s progress. All is well with the rest of the party, although Kieran Charles had been placed with a family with a dog – the travel company had not passed on the special circumstances to Sunshine Grammar. Kieran had had a reaction and come out in a rash, we try to place him elsewhere but the logistics don’t work so he goes back with the staff – there’s a spare bed there!!!!


Ryan messages us to check on Lewis, it’s nice that the boys are concerned. There is a clear blue sky outside and a good day at Australia Zoo can be expected.


The doctor visits us at just after 8am. Lewis is on the list for operation at about 4pm. However, he doesn’t feel that they will be able to discharge Lewis today and that it is doubtful he will be fit enough to fly on Sunday. Alternatively, the operation could be delayed until after we return which would allow him to fly with the whole party.


After consulting with Jason and Joanne and medical staff in Australia and the UK it’s decided to ask for the operation to take place in Australia. Once Lewis has had the operation we can consider the next step when we have a better understanding of his requirements.


As I don’t have my case, I go to a pharmacy to buy some shaving foam and shavers so I can have a shave. The lady who serves had also been at the game collecting her son who plays for the under 15s. It’s a small world.


We have lots of offers of help from staff and parents connected with Sunshine Coast Grammar, many of whom offer us a ‘place to stay’ if we can’t fly with the main party. As it’s likely that that will be the case, I contact Mr Long at Australia Zoo and arrange to travel over by taxi to collect my case. I leave at just after midday and return by around 2pm. In the zoo Mr Long and Mr Lewis are waiting for me and say all is going well and spirits within the group are high although there is concern for Lewis’s welfare.


Good news, Lewis was not in the ward and had gone to theatre at around 1pm. He would be expected back at about 3.30pm. He didn’t arrive until after 5pm-but ‘no dramas’ ,he’d been kept in recovery until he’d been able to eat something. The hospital is fantastic – everyone has time for you and they are all very caring – I hope I receive similar care when I have my operation at Santa Maria on Thursday.


As Lewis was not back from surgery until late, it’s not expected that the Doctor will be around to see him until Saturday morning, but with us not able to plan ahead as we don’t know the restrictions on travel for Lewis, the nurse ring Orthopaedics and arranges for a Doctor to come and advise us.


The Doctor arrives at 9pm and gives permission for Lewis to fly with the rest of the group which is a relief as we were anticipating that he wouldn’t be able to travel for several days. The doctor prepares written documentation for all parties including the airline that states he needs to travel with his leg raised above the level of his heart and recommending an upgrade to first or at least Business class-lucky Lewis!!


With everything now under control, I pop out for something to eat. I call a taxi and ask for “the nearest McDonalds please”. I know it’ll have wifi and allow me to update others both at home and in Australia. I also get the chance to update myself on the test. Pakistan had been well on top at the end of day 2, but England had started a bit of a fightback and Pakistan had a lead of 60 with 4 wickets left. It wasn’t all bad news though, the Aussies are ‘on the rack’ in Sri Lanka-I hope no-one in Oz reads this until I’m on the plane.


I am back at the hospital by 11.45pm. Lewis is comfortable and sleeping and I settle down hoping that he will be recovered enough to pass their protocols when he sees the Doctor in the morning, so that his discharge can be confirmed for the afternoon.


In Australia Zoo, the rest of the party have an opportunity to see a range of animals and reptiles. As you walk in, there are zoo staff dotted around with different reptiles that you can hold. There was a blue tongued lizard, which Ms Smitham and Ms Rushworth hold, and a rather large snake. The zoo is spread out with plenty to see and Mr Lewis and Mr Long tell me that it has certainly expanded since they were there 3 years ago. The animals there include tigers and tiger cubs, kangaroos and wallabies, camels, various snakes and lizards, crocodiles, dingoes and koala bears as well as new additions of rhinos, giraffes, lemurs and zebras. Many of the pupils take the opportunity to have photos with koala bears, feed the kangaroos and many took ‘selfies’ with the kangaroos who seem to take it all in their stride. There was one kangaroo however that was not that impressed with Mr Long trying to get up close and personal with it for a photo – it promptly raised its front claws and growled rather aggressively. Mr Long promptly moved onto a more willing participant!


The croc show in the ‘Crocoseum’ was a definite crowd pleaser. To get the crowd warmed up, one half were invited to perform their best monkey impression. A number of young children enthusiastically participated and a winner was chosen by the host. The other half, where the Gowerton staff and students were, were asked to perform their best chicken impression. Mr Thomas gave it his best shot but he was outdone by Callum Carson’s effort. Mr Lewis think’s it may well have just been Callum’s normal walk as he was on his way to his seat, but the host chose him as the winner and he was asked to perform his routine again. This time it was broadcast on the big screen for all to see. In the amphitheatre, a range of birds were trained to fly through the crowd at break neck speeds, skimming over the heads of the crowd.  A condor, with a wing span that defied belief swooped down to feed on some treats. The main attraction though were the crocodiles. The zoo staff brought the crocs out and hand fed them some tasty morsels of  chicken and fish. It is clear to see and hear the strength and power of the crocodiles as they take the food from the well trained zoo staffs hands. After the croc show the group have some more time to see the zoo and buy their gifts. Shanaye Grant may well have some trouble with her luggage limit on the way home – wherever we have been she always seems to be the one with the most and fullest shopping bags – todays trip was no different!! Rebecca Williams may well be a close second!!


The group meet at 2.15 (apart from a few latecomers) so that the bus can leave at 2.30pm to make the trip down to Surfers Paradise. Brett, the bus driver, tells us that the journey should take 1hr 45mins on a good day. Today is Friday and its rush hour. He tells us to allow for 3 hrs!! A film is played on the TV, music is playing and some sleep during the journey – the group to be fair were excellent and didn’t complain once and the journey takes us about 2 hrs 20mins in the end. On our way into Surfers Paradise Brett points out movie star Jackie Chan and golfer Greg Normans holiday homes on the waterfront.


The staff check the group into the hotel and allow them some time to relax before heading out for the evening. The hotel has 17 floors and most have a room with a sea view. Some opt to take a dip in the outdoor pool. The concierge says to Mr Lewis ‘they’re not going in the pool are they, it’s freezing out there!!’. ‘We’re from Wales’ he replies, ‘this is like summer to us’. Mr Lewis tells me she looked sceptical.


The party head out at 7.00pm and arrange a meeting point under the illuminated guitar of the Hard Rock café’. They head off to get some food and see the sights. Surfers Paradise is bristling with nightlife, with plenty of tourists evident. There are plenty of eateries to choose from and lots of shops open. One even advertises itself as being open 25hrs!! The group reassemble at 10.15pm, but by then many have already returned to the hotel as they are tired. A meeting takes place at 10.30pm to organise timings for the following day and all are in their rooms by 11.00pm.

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Comments ( 2 )
  1. Reg williams

    As a grand parent I would like to congratulate Mr Mason,Mr Thomas and the staff on the way they have handled very trying situations,You are a credit to Gowerton School and feel very proud of you..

  2. Debbie Williams

    Thank you Mr Mason and staff for your commitment to this tour and our children. I have especially loved all these blogs and photos…..I’m almost there with you all!

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