The following message is from a veteran, Sonya, who recently spent a lot of time in hospital, separated from her family by necessity.  Fortunately we were able to make her stay a little easier and her message is shared with her permission. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the good people involved with AHQ. 

Since early January I have been in Sydney receiving medical treatment.  I needed a revision of my Right Above Knee Amputation after a silly fall resulted in me crushing a nerve ending, meaning I was unable to use my prosthetic and was in constant terrible pain. 

Originally my partner Jennifer & our two kids came down with me but as the treatment drew out they had to return to Darwin so Jen could return to work & the kids could start school. I had to remain in Sydney at the Nepean Private Hospital.
After my initial surgery I was just days away from discharging to attend an Australian Woman’s Paralympic Wheelchair Baseball Team Training Camp. Then unfortunately I contracted an infection in the wound and this meant I missed the training camp & had to go back into surgery for a washout of the wound site. Due to the infection being stubborn this had to be repeated a number of times over a few weeks. 

Over this time I was in contact with Jan-maree who was also in hospital recovering from bilateral knee replacements. She asked me if I had my Invictus Games quilt with me for comfort. I had to let her know that would have required an all out battle with my 7 year old son as he loves it, and will not sleep without it on his bed. 

After this conversation a few days went by and a parcel arrived at the hospital and was waiting in my room for me when I returned from another washout surgery. As that was the 4th procedure in attempt to get rid of the infection, I was feeling quite deflated & defeated. One of the nurses handed me the parcel. 

I was brought to tears as I opened my new very own hospital quilt. I felt instantly warm and comforted & purple is my very favourite colour. 

Jill, your beautiful quilt of creams & purples & blues gave me hope and strength at a time that I couldn’t have needed it more. I love it so much, so do all the nurses & doctors. I have had nurses visit from the other side of the hospital just to get a look at the beautiful quilt they have heard about.

From now, every hospital trip & prosthetic fitting, it will have a place in my bag so that it continues to give me comfort & warmth into the future. 

Moving forward, I had the all clear given by the Dr on Friday and a flight booked to return home to Darwin on Monday the 8th April. I was so excited to be going home until Saturday night when a new growing infection caused swelling and pressure build up which caused my wound to open and ooze fluid everywhere. 

This meant I went back on antibiotics, had a vacuum dressing fitted and was booked in for washout surgery again on Tuesday. This news was a massive blow and I can’t tell you how sad I was that I was not able to take that flight home to my family. 

Out of the blue on Monday, the very lovely Carolyn pops in for a visit and tells me how Jan-Maree summoned her to appear at the hospital to visit as she was unable to herself in the midst of recovery. “You don’t say no to Jan-Maree” she said. 

She was kind enough to sit with me a few hours and brought me Chocolate, biscuits and some beautiful fresh fruit. For the time that Carolyn sat with me I did not feel any of the anxiety or stress that I had been carrying in the build up to the next surgery. I couldn’t be more grateful for those few hours of relief.

Also on Monday I was so surprised to receive another package in the mail, an absolutely awesome Laundry Bag made by Pennie, accompanied with some very “drinkable” Tea & Coffee, and a magazine.

The laundry bag is country themed with a picture of my kids and a silhouette of a dog. We own a small property past Humpty Doo, and are very proud of our rural NT lifestyle so I love this design.

I have decided that I will re purpose this beautiful work of art as a “Sit Mat” for “Lilly” my pup in training as my service dog. This means it will come absolutely everywhere with us when I finally get home to work with her again. It will become Lilly’s safe place…when she sits on it it means she can relax & take a break from working. I have no doubt she will love it as much as I do and it will be great to use something with meaning & with a story behind it. Thank you so much Pennie.  

All in all, I am now leaving Sydney tomorrow and returning home to my family in a very positive frame of mind. It has been a very long and trying 3 months, where at times, I felt very lonely and forgotten about.

I really want to thank everybody involved with Aussie Hero Quilts. The Efforts & Kindness you all share really does make a difference. I am going home happy, feeling loved and cared about. You have made me smile from deep inside. Thank you,

Warm Regards