“[My pillow] is so awesome, and I used it all the time.”
When you need a liver transplant, the waiting is hard. But Jasmine never gave up hope. What she didn’t realize until later was her Shumsky Therapeutic Pillow turned out to be an important recovery tool. Here’s her story.
Jasmine was diagnosed with Hepatitis C over a decade ago and underwent dreadful treatments to cope with it. Finally, she went on the donor list for a liver transplant, only to find out that her insurance wouldn’t cover it.
In 2015, she could upgrade her insurance and get in UCLA’s liver transplant program. This was the first step in years of tests, doctor’s visits, and waiting.
As her situation continued to deteriorate, her doctor asked if she would consider going out of state for a transplant. He said she could get a liver much sooner if she was willing to move to another state, but it could still take up to 4-6 months.
Jasmine chose Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, and on a Thursday in October 2017, she and her son flew out to Louisiana to start the process.
At a doctor’s appointment the next day, they changed some of her medications. By Monday night, she ended up in the emergency room because of a bad reaction. The ER checked her into the hospital and moved her to a room to balance her electrolytes and other functions.
Jasmine said, “No sooner than they got me checked in, I got a call on my cell phone.”
It was Ochsner’s transplant program. They had her new liver.
The road to recovery
Her liver transplant went better than expected, and she was out of surgery in record time. As soon as she woke up, she was delighted to get her Shumsky Therapeutic Pillow from her care team.
She still laughs today because the nurse presented her with a kidney pillow. The hospital was out of liver pillows, but the recovery team knew how important the pillow would be to Jasmine’s recovery. She said it was a wonderful conversation starter, and her children thought it was cute.
Jasmine thought it was cute at first, too, but as soon as she held the pillow against her incision, she understood its true value. She said, “It fit perfectly in place, and I slept with it.”
“My kids make me laugh all the time. I say, ‘Give me my pillow before you make me laugh.'”
Jasmine’s advice to others
At first, Jasmine didn’t understand the pillow’s concept… until she used it. It provides the internal support she needed to cough, laugh, sit up, and move. Her advice to other surgery patients: “Use it! Knowing now how important my pillow was, I would buy one if the hospital didn’t give it to me.”
She also pointed out to healthcare providers who don’t offer the Shumsky Therapeutic Pillow to their patients, “Your patients must be in more pain without this pillow.”
Jasmine brought the pillow to her transplant support group. They all wanted to know where she got it and wondered why their hospitals didn’t offer such a wonderful tool.
“It’s a measure of comfort. Hospitals who don’t offer it don’t understand the therapeutic value of this pillow. Thank goodness, Ochsner did.”
“It’s like a souvenir. I wrote the date I got my transplant on the pillow and took a picture for Facebook. I still have the pillow here with me.”
If your healthcare practice isn’t taking advantage of this important comfort care measure, your patients are suffering. It’s inexpensive and easy to customize. But the benefits of patient compliance, their enhanced level of comfort, and a better recovery process far outweigh the costs.