COVID-19 has highlighted how hospitals can sometimes lack essential items like masks but when one 100 Mile House resident realized there was a lack of plus-sized gowns, she decided to do something about it.
Elsarose Bryant has lived in the 100 Mile Area for more than 20 years now, where she said she’s come to enjoy the sense of community that prevails the area. A longtime quilter and sewer, Bryant enjoys gifting her creations to members of the local community.
This 71-year-old retired bookkeeper was just recently released from the 100 Mile & District Hospital after a 30-day stay due to a case of severe blood poisoning. Bryant said she is a large woman and during her stay she realized that they had very few hospital gowns that would fit her and those they did have were rather old. After a brief stay in Kamloops, she was able to snag an extra one and take it back with her to 100 Mile House in the ambulance, which helped the situation some.
“There’s a lot of large people here in town, men and women, and it’s demoralizing when you feel like crap anyway not to have a gown that fits you,” Bryant said. “It’s hard on the nurses because their whole purpose is to help and when they can’t even put something on you it makes them feel bad and you can see it in their faces.”
Once Bryant felt well enough to get on a computer in late April, she put out a call on Facebook to seamstresses to make some gowns for the hospital to store for patients like her. It was well-received and inspired a local seniors’ home to donate a couple of extra-large gowns to the hospital and others to start making their own gowns.
Seeing this response made her feel pretty good and supported her belief in the generosity of people in the 100 Mile House area. When she herself is well enough to sew, she intends to make a few herself using a pattern you can find online by Googling gown patterns. Due to its size, she feels the 100 Mile Hospital already is busy enough getting the other supplies they need, so she feels this is a good way for the community to support them in supporting the community.
This is especially important now with the threat of COVID-19 still fresh in everyone’s mind. Bryant said it puts tremendous pressure on the nurses and doctors but despite the healthcare professionals all still work so hard every day.
“They are very positive with the patients, I think that they do a remarkable job considering the pressure they’re under,” Bryant said. “When seven o’clock comes and the horns are honking and the bells are whistling it makes all of the nurses smile and it gives them a little lift.”
Interior Health says that while they really appreciate the offer, hospital gowns must meet certain specific standards so donated ones wouldn’t be acceptable. They add they are able to order all sizes of gowns as needed.