Post Operative Puffy Pillow Project
Our Postoperative Puffy Pillow Project (POPPP) has been initiated to distribute a comfort pillow, a drain bag pouch, information about our organization and a list of local resources available to those who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer. The pillow is given out at the time of breast cancer surgery at the Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu Hospital. If you had surgery in Kingston and you did not receive a pillow, call BCAK at 613.531.7912 and we will deliver a POPPP package to you.
This project began in 2005 and many breast cancer surgery patients have been comforted with these pillows since then. Over the years, we have received several thank you cards from grateful recipients.
Patients who have undergone breast cancer surgery at either of our hospitals are to be gifted a “pink bag” containing one of our pillow kits prior to discharge from the hospital. The kits consist of a welcome letter from a “breast cancer survivor friend”, a small soft pillow in an attractive slip cover, a pink pouch for their drain bag, our resources pamphlet listing services available in the area for breast cancer patients, along with other information about Breast Cancer Action Kingston (BCAK). If a patient who has had surgery misses out on our pillow gift, they are welcome to call our office and we will gladly provide them with one of these kits.
The pillows are intended to provide a small measure of comfort as it is helpful to have something soft upon which to rest the affected arm after surgery, especially if there have been any lymph nodes removed. Also, the information in the kit is often the first time the patient learns of BCAK, who we are, what we do and what we have to offer them.
A thank you is extended to the Nurse Navigators of the Breast Assessment Program at Hotel Dieu Hospital, the nurses at the EPAC and Phase II Units, also at Hotel Dieu, and the nursing staff at Kingston General Hospital’s Same Day Admissions and Outpatients Units. During the past year, a total of 92 pillow kits, as well as an additional 28 drain pouches for double mastectomy patients, have been delivered to the hospitals.
Thank you to those who have to cut out and/or sew the pillow covers: Doreen McDonald and Pam Cowell. Thank you also to Diane Molson and her daughter, Kim Molson-Moore for sewing the drain pouches, and to Marj Mason who makes the “pink ribbons” for BCAK. These pink ribbons are also tucked into the pillow kit. As well, a thank you goes to those who have made a specific donation towards this project.
Donations of fabric are always gratefully received. We prefer the material to be 100% cotton, with an attractive print. Any size piece is appropriate provided it meets the minimum requirements for one pillow cover which is 30 inches by 15 inches (80cm by 40cm). This year, I received fabric donations totaling approximately 8 yards for pillow covers and 3 yards of pink fleece for drain pouches.
With approval from the presidents of BCAK, there have been a few minor changes made that are worthy of note: a) The “Dear Friend” letter has been modified to give it a more personal touch and now includes my contact information; and, b) The number of pamphlets/newsletters has been reduced in hopes that the information provided is less “overwhelming” to the new breast cancer patient. Also, worthy of note is that I have personally received a couple of emails thanking BCAK for the gift and the information.
This summarizes my second year in this role as a volunteer and I look forward to continuing my work on this project.
Willi Clark, Project Coordinator