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Handmade Hospital Rest Kit

My friend was unexpectedly hospitalized early this month. She spent 5 days in 2 hospitals, steadily declining in heath until she was sedated, intubated and suffering organ failure. All without a diagnosis. We feared she would soon be lost to us. Finally, she was flown some distance to the University of Michigan hospital where they were able to stabilize her. Her fever broke, and a day later we had a diagnosis. Myocarditis, when a virus attacks the heart of otherwise healthy individuals, had weakened her heart so severely as to cause cardiogenic shock, a loss of heart function that can quickly lead to organ failure and death from loss of blood and oxygen throughout the body.

An incredibly scary diagnosis, but my friend is strong. I was happy every morning to see the positive updates from her siste:, "She's moving her head today..." "She's squeezing her eyes tight when I ask..." "She's opened her eyes and knows we are here..." "She's off all her IV meds today..." "She woke up this morning and asked for coffee..."

3 weeks after my friend was rushed to the ER when her husband called 911 she was up, moving around and transferred out of cardiac ICU to a regular ward. It truly was nothing short of amazing! The family requested no visitors or gifts as she completed her hospital stay, but a trio of us had a personal invitation visit from the Queen Patient Herself. (Provided we brought her a red slushy from Speedway....). Naturally, I couldn't bring myself to show without a gift, so I kept it small.


Hospitals are a contradiction of sorts. They are always telling you to rest, yet you are surrounded by constant light, noise and activity. If it isn't you who is being monitored and checked on, it's your roommate. or the guy next door and down the hall. Beeping and flashing of machines, coming and goings of staff past your door. How on earth can you be expected to get the rest you so desperately need to heal? So, to help my friend rest and heal while she was stuck in the hospital, I brought her a handmade Hospital Rest Kit. I don't think it's actually a "thing" as all my Google searches turn up results for pregnant ladies, so I've made it up of things I would want for myself:

  1. Ear Plugs, for when your room is too noisy.
  2. Face Mask, for when your room is too bright.
  3. Lavender Dream Pillow, to ward off the bad dreams and anxieties brought on by the smells of medicine and illness in hospitals.
  4. Coordinating Storage Bag.
I started by hitting my local Joann's store and browsing their quilting cottons. Look at what I found! She's going to have a long recovery and not have a normal level of energy for a while. I know she will find it frustrating. This message is perfect for my blunt-spoken friend and my sarcastic demeanor. 


I started with the storage bag, and used this free tutorial from The Creative Place. The result is a cute, lined bag with no raw edges. It's just the right size for the items I wanted to put inside.


 I wasn't totally happy with the way it was constructed on the inside, as those corners were very thick and tough to stitch without some frustration. But once it was done, I was totally happy.


I read a few different blogs about dream pillows and ended up using this one from Adventures In Making. You are supposed to fill it with an herb blend and place it in your pillow case to bring about pleasant dreams. Now, I don't believe all that stuff out there about herbs being magical, but I do know that aromatherapy with lavender can be a subtle way to calm nerves and help people relax. 



The lavender I used in this pillow was grown wild by a mutual friend, picked fresh and dried by me in my dehydrator.


Finally, I used the Fifi Eye Mask from Tilly and the Buttons to block out all those pesky florescent lights and flashing monitors. This is a free download and is really easy to put together. I like it because I didn't have to adjust the nose curve like I have in other eye mask patterns. It fits over the bridge nicely, but still covers enough at the bottom to block the light from your eyes.


The covered elastic is very nice, but truthfully, kind of a pain. For future (selfish) versions, I'll probably just use a pretty fold over elastic, or frilly lingerie elastic. Of course those aren't as "tight" as regular elastic, so you'll need to account for that when customizing the length of your head strap.


Super easy to stitch together, and as long as you go slowly, the curves aren't a problem.


I'm pretty positive the pattern doesn't call for 4 layers of fabric, but I wanted to be funny on the outside, block the light, and be soft and padded on the eye side. I use the quilting cotton facing out, a scrap of old black out lining, then a layer of white fleece and a for the back that lays on your face: black silk charmeuse. There is nothing like sleeping with silk on your face!


With so many layers, I did have trouble getting it to shape right when I turned it out. Nothing a little hand basting couldn't fix. After shaping it with the stitches, I steam pressed the crap out of it. When the stitches came out, it was perfect!


Queen Patient Herself has been home for a few days now and is on the road to recovery! Would you look at that? She returns from Death's Door with her heart working part-time and still looks fantastic!



Comments

  1. The nerve! :) Glad to hear your friend is home and doing better. She is lucky to have a great friend who cares so much- and who sews!
    I like your idea & I think I'll make some of the rest bags as gifts. I have some lavender I grew last year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! ;) I've thought about making some to have on hand for girlfriend gifts too. Although maybe I'll switch out the earplugs for a neck pillow or something....

      Delete
  2. What a great idea. Always a good thought to have something with you when you're hospitalized from friends. Glad to read your friend is better now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I know she was glad to just chat with us after only having doctors for company for so long.

      Delete
  3. A fantastic gift - and whilst I hope never to need to use the idea I will store it away.
    Good to hear that your friend is doing so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you never need to give a gift like that too, but should you make some, I'd love to see it!

      Delete

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