Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hospital Gown + Confidence = Oxymoron

Fifteen years in retail fashion taught me many things.  But the most important thing I learned is that when I feel like I look good, I honestly feel and "do" better.  To this day, if there is an important event - interview, meeting, presentation, date, etc., I will take the time to make sure I have the perfect outfit and all the correct accessories.  Then I only have to worry about what I'm going to say....not about how I look.  Why, you might ask, is this important to share with you???

In my opinion, going into the hospital, for any reason, is a time for making sure all of the confidence chips are stacked in your favor.  The night before my mastectomy, I laid out a cute, but comfortable outfit.  On surgery morning, I showered and got dressed.  Took time to do my hair.  No make-up, but made sure my face was clean and moisturized.  My friend picked me up promptly at 5:00AM with "wow, you look adorable!"  With my confidence boosted, I was ready for surgery!  

At 5:30AM, the pre-op nurses, put a quick and decisive end to my adorable-ness when they handed me a bluish-gray, standard-issue, one-size-fits-none, hospital gown w/unmatched robe, white compression stockings, gray slipper socks with white grippey stuff on the top AND the bottom and an over sized "hat" that most self respecting cafeteria workers would not be caught dead in!  In the span of 30 minutes, I went from confident patient, to just another patient to be operated on, and I was less than thrilled.  Now, before you start in, I can practically recite all the reasons for this change of garments, but does it really have to be that way?????

According to Rachel Zinney, the founder of Dear Johnnies, the answer is a resounding NO!  The tagline "the get better hospital gown", is true!  With a little pre-planning and some cash, I gave myself the gift of dignity and style, in a place where there is precious little of either!!  You can give yourself or someone you love, the gift of a hospital gown that is bright, stylish, improves the color in your cheeks, covers your assets AND meets the needs of your medical caregivers.  A win-win all around! 

It will probably take a little work to convince the nurses, that your hospital gown is not just any gown you brought from home to wear in the hospital - but I promise you, it is absolutely worth the effort!!  The minute I changed into my own gown, I started to feel more like Kathie and not "the patient in room 95W".  These gowns are the genuine article - open in the back as needed, but snap closed and tie in the back to protect your dignity as you walk around the floor, and have shoulder snaps to accommodate IV equipment or nursing.  Size these gowns come in a couple of sizes, including Plus for several styles.  Once my nurses were satisfied that they would not be inconvenienced, they were quick with the "oooohhhs" and "aaahhhhhs". Sprung from the hospital, I re-gifted my COCO gown to my friend Megan, an ALS patient who is in and out of the hospital....hopefully she will feel just as stylish!

Thank you Rachel for giving us confidence and dignity at a time when we feel especially vulnerable!

Props to Peter Shankman and HARO for sharing the Dear Johnnies link earlier this year!