“I would literally panic if I misplaced [my pillow], left it in another room.”

On her way to a relaxing session at her regular nail salon, Gail’s life changed dramatically. A massive heart attack lead to bypass surgery, an overwhelming medical situation she hadn’t suspected or ever considered. Here is Gail’s story.



What should have been a routine nail appointment turned into an unnerving experience in the hospital. Even though she had no previous symptoms—no high blood pressure or high cholesterol—Gail was sidelined with a massive heart attack.

She suffered dizzy spells a few weeks prior, and her primary care physician ran tests to try to pinpoint its cause. Though the tests had revealed nothing, much to everyone’s surprise, Gail would need bypass surgery like her father had years before.

So rather than a pleasant nail appointment, Gail woke up in the hospital, post-surgery, looking for any comfort she could find in a stressful situation.


The solution

The nurse from the hospital gave Gail a Shumsky Therapeutic Pillow and explained its use to her. She clung to her pillow like a life raft in a roiling sea.

“It’s a bit overwhelming, and the pillow helped me by providing a sense of comfort during those first few weeks post-surgery.”

Gail remembered the pillow from her father’s bypass surgery years before, so she was somewhat familiar with its use. If she had been asked before her own surgery though, she is certain she would have told her surgical team she could make do with a regular pillow. Afterward, when she started using her heart pillow at the nurse’s urging, she realized its significance. Gail said she would have bought a therapeutic pillow had the hospital not presented her with one.


Her advice to others

“Use it like they tell you until you feel comfortable without it.” Gail said it certainly made a difference in her recovery. “It would have been a whole lot more painful!”

She also urges healthcare providers, hospitals, and clinics who do not currently offer the Shumsky Therapeutic Pillow to give it to their patients. Gail felt that receiving the heart pillow after her surgery made her see the hospital’s quality of care differently. She thought her surgical team knew what she needed to help her recovery.

“It’s a nice thing to give to patients who have been traumatized by the surgery.”

Take-away message

“I was still in a state of disbelief when I received [my Shumsky Therapeutic Pillow]. But I still have it today.”

Try offering this important comfort care measure to all your surgical patients. It’s inexpensive and easy to customize for your healthcare organization, and you can choose from a variety of pillows. What you gain in patient compliance and their enhanced level of comfort far outweigh any minute costs.