Thursday, July 8, 2010

Being the Patient...My Personal Experience

As many of your know, I was recently hospitalized with a severe case of pneumonia. Thankfully I am now on the mend and back to enjoying family life at home!! As my sister mentioned in a previous post, this whole experience was very surreal for me. I am used to being the nurse that takes care of the patients so it felt strange to be the patient that so needed the nurses and doctors to care for me....almost uncomfortable.

In my ER with my good friend and nurse, Robin

When starting this business, my sister and I really wanted to develop a designer hospital gown that would be stylish, cover the back, and make people feel better. The majority of our gowns are sold to people having babies or to people buying them as shower gifts for expectant mothers. We absolutely love this because we know our gowns make new mothers feel beautiful and special. In fact, the idea for our company started when my sister was in labor with her second little boy. We thought how great it would be to have had a beautiful hospital gown to wear for such a joyous occasion!!!

Since my sister and I are both nurses, however, we also had a passion to design a gown that would brighten the lives of cancer patients, those with chronic illnesses, and anybody having to spend time in the hospital. Inadequate hospital gowns are patients #1 complaint and, by giving some dignity and control back to patients by allowing them to wear their own that is stylish and doesn't leave them feeling naked....we felt this would help patients feel better. After my recent experience in the hospital, I now know how true this is!!

During my illness, I made two trips to the Emergency Room. The first day I didn't bring my own hospital gown because I figured the doctors and nurses would just tune me up with some pain medication, fluids, antibiotics and I would go home feeling better. This meant that I had to put on THE hospital gown. It was big, ugly and , yes, pretty much everything hung out the back!!! I didn't care about a whole lot at the time because I felt so sick but a couple of thoughts did cross my mind. What had soiled this gown in the past? I wonder who wore this gown before me? Have you ever thought about the history of a hospital gown? That will be a whole other post :-)

I went home that day, but things didn't get better and I returned to the Emergency Room the next day, knowing I probably wouldn't be going home. I promptly called my sister to have her bring the Anita!! I was still miserable, but it felt so good to have a clean, comfortable, beautiful gown that was my own. It was the one thing I could control during a time when everything else seemed out of control for me. Unfortunately, I spent many more days in the hospital, but one of the positive things that I looked forward to each day was that I had my own new fresh gown to wear. I wore the Anita, the Evelyn, the Isabel and the Elizabeth. For me personally, it was even more meaningful, because I also thought about the women that these hospital gowns were named after....women I knew and loved. I felt connected to them and that gave me strength. When I eventually had the energy to get up to walk the halls, I felt so comfortable knowing I was all covered up. I found that I also felt pretty in the gowns! Looking at the pictures now, I realize that maybe I did not look as good as I thought I did :-) The saying "When you look good you feel better" really is true. See for yourself....

ER visit #1 in THE hospital gown

ER visit #2 in the Anita designer hospital gown. Even though in actuality I was doing worse....doesn't it look like I feel better in that beautiful gown???

I am truly excited about the fact that I now know that we are on target in our mission to help people heal through the beauty of our product. Those words are not just our advertising slogan anymore.....the sentiment was a reality working in my life. So I am happy and hopeful that my experience will be repeated for our clients. I know that our designer hospital gowns can bring smiles, strength, and beauty to anybody who has the unpleasant experience of being in the hospital!!

Me with my little love

Thank you to all of my family and friends who provided such tremendous support through this experience.....especially my husband who was the rock in our family during this time!! To my sister, who was my best nurse and advocate and spent many nights in the hospital with me. To my mom who flew home from her trip from Salt Lake to be with me, and also stay with me in the meant so much to have you there. My love and thanks to my dad, who was there for me the entire time, and to my friends who helped me know who you are!!!

Me with my sister and awesome nurse, Selena!!

Me with my mom and best friend :-)

I want to also thank all the health care professionals at Sutter Health who took such great care of me!! You were all so amazing. It made me so proud to work for this organization. I am actually anxious to be able to go back to work next month! Given a choice, I would never have chosen this experience because it truly was scary but, I have to say, I learned a lot from being the patient, and I know it is going to make me an even better nurse when I return to work.


  1. I wish I would have known about your gowns, when I had my babies!!


  2. Sorry you've had such a rough go. Glad you are on the mend and that you have such great support there.

  3. Wow, what an amazing journey you have had. I love your idea for the gowns - it is terrific. I am going to pass your link on to a friend of mine who is a breast cancer survivor and starting a medical device business of her own!

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