Upon their initial recovery from cardiac surgery, patients are given a heart-shaped pillow. The heart pillows, a symbol of the Mended Heart organization, can assist the patients in coughing after painful surgery. Coughing to keep the lungs clear is required prior to discharge. The heart pillow helps patients brace their tender chest while coughing. Nurses issue the pillows to patients upon their return from surgery.
Mary Taylor and her husband Richard managed the chapters heart pillow program for many years and have turned it over to Patty Swan. Last year the chapter donated over 400 heart pillows to heart patients. Chapter 119 provides the materials for making the pillows. Patty Swan ensures there are ample supplies available for members, other individuals, or local organizations to assemble the pillows. A group of members of St Mark’s Lutheran Church makes pillows during February, Heart Month. Sudie Stultz, a Mended Hearts volunteer checks the supply of heart pillow weekly in the CCU and emails Patty when more are needed. Patty brings new pillows to the CCU as needed. This process has continued since the beginning of the chapter in 1981. The pillows seem to be very meaningful to the patients. Some organizations donate stuffing for the pillows or funds to cover the expenses.