For Outback mother-of-two Kerryn Marshall, a drive to the shops or childcare is 50-minutes away in Lightning Ridge.
Mrs Marshall and her husband, Sean, have only been on their 7,300ha sheep farm at Goodooga, NSW, about two years.
In that time they have called on the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) twice.
The first occasion last year was when the couple’s baby arrived 10 days early.
“We had our car packed ready to drive to Brisbane for the 10-hour trip when my waters broke,” Mrs Marshall, 37, recalled.
“We changed plans and thought we would go to St. George medical practice in Lightning Ridge … but the baby wasn’t going to wait that long.
“She arrived on the veranda before the ambulance arrived.”
Mrs Marshall said Sean was on the phone to Triple-0 getting instructions.
“Sean and our two-year-old son, Harry, were down the business end,” she laughed.
Labour took about two and a half hours, with Vicki Marshall, named after Sean’s mum, arriving happy and healthy.
But Mrs Marshall was hemorrhaging. She had lost four litres of blood.
The local ambulance service was on the scene 20-minutes after Vicki arrived. It whisked mother and baby to Lightning Ridge, where they were going to be transferred to an RFDS flight
However, poor weather prevented the RFDS from landing.
Instead, mother and baby were taken by road to Walgett hospital, about 40 minutes away.
A RFDS flight then followed to Dubbo, where Mrs Marshall’s condition was stabilised at the local hospital.
But because of a shortage of beds, RFDS again took to the skies with Mrs Marshall and her baby bound for Orange.
“At one stage medical authorities thought it best for the baby to stay at Dubbo but the RFDS made it happen for Vicki to come with me.
“The RFDS nurse was awesome.”
Mrs Marshall received treatment in Orange. She was discharged after four days but late last year her family again came under the care of the RFDS.
Young Harry was showing symptoms of Meningococcal disease, which is potentially fatal if untreated.
Doctors at Lightning Ridge requested the RFDS transport the boy to Dubbo for further tests.
RFDS flight nurse Lynda Harper accompanied Mrs Marshall and her children.
Lynda, who has been with the RFDS almost four years, said Harry had symptoms of headache, irritability, neck stiffness and lethargy. He was also showing signs of a fever.
For Mrs Marshall, apart from the health of her son, the wellbeing of her new daughter on the flight was also paramount.
“I was feeding so RFDS staff made sure Vicki was on the plane as well. They were very accommodating of our circumstances, which was great.”
Fortunately, young Harry just had a virus – so now all four members of the Marshall family are thriving.
“If it wasn’t for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, I’d be dead,” Mrs Marshall said.
“We were so glad the RFDS was there, but we certainly don’t want to see them anytime again soon!”