Next up for our Hospital Experience blog series is the firecracker, Aubrey Winkie. Aubrey is currently battling multiple chronic illnesses, but is doing it with a smile, and a Giftgown. She’s an absolute inspiration and we’re so lucky to have her share some of
her top tricks and tips for long hospital stays and staying positive!
Name: Aubrey Winkie
Location: Austin, TX
Social Media Handles:
Youtube: chronicles of a chronically ill girl
GG: Tell us about yourself, include if you’re a patient, survivor or a current
warrior battling an illness
Aubrey Winkie: My name is Aubrey and I am currently battling several chronic
illnesses. It all started with getting Lyme disease and having it go undiagnosed for years
before getting treatment. Because it was so late stage when I was first diagnosed the
disease had infiltrated most parts of my body, particularly my nervous system. It caused
seizures and autonomic nervous system disfunction. I have a condition called postural
orthostatic tachycardia syndrome that affects my heart and leads to passing out, I have
a service dog that helps alert me before these episodes. I also have gastroparesis,
which is a partially paralyzed stomach so I have to be fed through a feeding tube. My
goal is to spread awareness about Lyme Disease in the hopes that I can prevent others
from having to go so long without getting diagnosed. I love my dogs, the outdoors,
sunshine and vlogging! (I vlog about the ups and downs of everyday life with chronic
GG: In three words, how would your friends and family describe you?
AW: Positive, Determined, and Joyful
GG: Have you ever had a long term stay in the hospital? What was it like and how
do you think Giftgowns could have made the situation better and more
AW: Yes, I am very small, I fit into children’s clothes so I would literally be swimming in
hospital gowns. Giftgowns makes you feel more like yourself when you are in the
hospital. You get to wear something to express yourself instead of wearing what looks
like a curtain from a nursing home (current hospital gowns!).
GG: What is your favourite Giftgown?
AW: Peace sign!
GG: What are tips and tricks for those who are currently going through
● Sit outside- for me when I am housebound with treatment being able to sit out
brings me so much joy
● Call up and chat with a friend - being sick all the time can be isolating and lonely.
Sometimes it’s hard for friends to start the conversation so I’ve found being open
about what you are going through makes it a lot easier.
● Skillshare or coursera- I had to quit my schooling because of illness so taking
free online classes on Skillshare or Coursera made me feel super happy to still
get to learn new things
● Find hobbies that work with your abilities. When I first got really sick I just got
frustrated that I couldn’t do things that I loved (rock climbing, hiking, reading,
writing) but I found some new creative outlets that really helped with my mental
health and not going stir crazy (vlogging, cooking)!
GG: Do you have any tips on making a hospital stay more pleasant?
● Bring your own pillow and blanket!
● Coloring books
● Befriend the nurses
● Treat yo self! (I like to allow myself to do a little online shopping for packages to
look forward to when you get out of the hospital)
● Find some spoonie friends you can chat with to help get you through it
GG: Do you have any special routines or mantras that help you cope?
AW: Just keep smiling :)
GG: Tell us more! What’sd your sign?
GG: What’s your favourite candy/treat?
AW: Dairy free ice cream!
GG: What’s your favourite vacation destination?
AW: The coast of Kenya
Thanks, Aubrey for sharing your experience and tips with us! We love your positive, shining
spirit! Giftgowns is lucky to have you as our November Ambassador!