Laine was my second child, and I was very excited. Pregnancy went beautiful, I just couldn't wait for her to be born, just kept counting down. I think I was probably the most excited mother that I thought ever existed.
When Laine was a little girl, she was, very bossy, and I'm sure she came out already talking. She was bossy, she told everybody what was happening. She had a really husky voice, and everybody knew when she was around, "Oh my god, Laine's here," 'cause her voice was just gorgeous. It was so different than any other child's. Laine was, 10 and a half months old when she caught the measles, and we were in Sydney. I was aware there- there was a measles outbreak. Being a paediatric nurse, I felt they w- ... that she had the measles. She had runny eyes, she had a very high fever, she had a rash all over her, which I had nursed many children with measles before, so I believed that it was measles.
She was ill for, probably one and a half weeks, and then she came ... became better. We did go to a doctor and made sure that it was confirmed, checked out the times the ... of, that she could've infected others and kept her home for that whole stage.
At the age of seven and a half, Laine, became unwell. She just didn't understand simple requests like, "Have a shower," "Come up to the table." Then she'd say, "Mum, I don't understand what you mean." So I took her to six doctors and said, "There's something wrong with my daughter, but I don't exactly know what it is." They all said there's nothing they could find, so I flew her to the city to the paediatric hospital in Perth, and once again, saw many doctors. She wasn't diagnosed. We saw a doctor that I used to work with in- in, at the hospital, and I called out to him and said, "Can you help my daughter?"
He came up and said, "I'm gonna ask you one question and one question only," he said, "Did she have measles as a baby?" And I said, "Yes." So after that, they did a lumbar puncture, where they drew fluid out of her spine, and it was diagnosed that she had SSPE, which is Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis.
As a nurse, and ha- had been a paediatric nurse, I actually knew what that disease was, so it absolutely devastated me. SSPE destroys the brain, so you never know which part it was going to attack next. Within, ugh, uh, t- two weeks after being diagnosed, Laine, lost her vision and she was still talking and, I thought it must be dark in there.
And she said, "No, I just see white." And she actually said to me, "Mum, just let me see your face one more time." And that's the hardest thing a mother could hear. Then she s- ... then she stopped walking. Her ... no more talking, and this is in two to three weeks, everything went. There's no cure for SSP.
She's going to die, and I knew that. Some children live 10 years, some two years, so I thought, you know, I just have to make her life as comfortable as I can. I know she's not gonna live, but we don't know how long. After three months I took her home, but I did physio, I did standing with her to keep her, uh, her muscles there so she don't lose any of that.
But I could just feed her, change her. That's all she did, lay in a bed, sleep. At one stage she started getting myoclonic jerks, so she was jerking all over the place. You couldn't even hug her. I just wanted to hug my daughter, and this illness just ravaged her, you know, in that the- the jerkings just ... nothing stops it. Nothing stops it.
I just can't believe this happened in our life. That this gorgeous, gifted child suffered so much, and I didn't see it as she lived for five years, I saw it that she died every day for five years. So Laine was diagnosed at seven and a half with SSP, and she passed away at the age of 12. I just want to remember all the fun times we had together, and every time there's a measles outbreak, that's it for me.
That's just ... takes me straight back to her suffering. So for any parents out there that are, not sure whether to vaccinate or not, thinking either way, having their immunisation, it's safe. So when a baby, uh, or a- a child, contract measles, they can be very, very ill at the time. Some need to be hospitalised with it, others get through that, but it's very serious, and people need to realise just how bad measles is.