January 28th marks a year that I’ve been seeing my team of practice nurses on an almost daily basis (I took two breaks to have more surgery). That’s a lot of visits – 231 visits to be precise (plus 45 district nurse visits). In that time you get to know your team of nurses well and get to observe the amazing job they do.

A Year Of Visits

When you get a Ken/Barbie Butt, the ideal scenario is that it gets neatly sewn up and you’re sent on your way to get used to poop from your new butt. When you have an infection immediately post-surgery and have to have some stitches removed to try and help release the output from the infection, and have a pre-existing pilonidal sinus to complicate matters, the road ahead could be difficult. And it has been.

During the early visits I was having appointments during all times of the day which at first wasn’t an issue due to taking time off work but returning to work it would prove awkward so the nurses and receptionists helped out one of their regulars by block booking as many early appointments as they could. Being able to get the earliest appointments almost every day proved to be such a great help throughout the year.

Getting To Know My Nurses

If you spend long enough with anyone you’re going to start to get to know them better and they’re going to get to know you too. Each nurse knew that I was so keen to start running again (and briefly did again) so understood my frustration about not being able to. We’d also talk about how the pubs we’d visit, and occasionally see each other in, we’d talk about the walks we’d done and our recommendations, I’d even photograph them at running races!

If a nurse randomly walks into the room when my butt is on show, no problem. If a trainee doctor needs to observe what’s going on, no problem. If a new nurse needs to have a go at changing a dressing, no problem. In a year you get to experience a lot of scenarios so it doesn’t matter if someone new wants to observe your butt.

The Great Job They Do

Being a long term patient I have been well cared for and during that time I have seen how hard they work, how dedicated to helping their patients, how they help each other out during busy times and the problem that, no doubt like many other GP practices around the country, face.

I’ve always felt confident that they are caring for me and my wound and on numerous occasions they have helped spot infections after listening to how I’ve been feeling and instinctively raking swabs for analysis even there are no visible signs of infection.

Rewarding Your Nurses

Despite it being someone’s job to look at butts and dress wounds day in, day out, you really need to reward them for the hard work they’re doing. After putting up with my butt for weeks on end I started to reward them with some treats from Hotel Chocolat. Thinking that my wound would soon heal I thought a box or two would be enough but as time went on and the wound was clearly not healing it turned into a monthly treat for them.

The monthly chocolates would end up in the room of the nurse that had the fridge and throughout the day a message would be sent through the internal system that a ‘Cobra’ meeting needed to be called, or, aka it was time for a chocolate break.

I’m sure they appreciated the gesture and it makes you feel good to treat the people that are caring for you.

I’m Going to Miss Them

When you do something for long enough it becomes part of your routine and heading to the surgery every weekday morning is something that I’ve become accustomed to doing. It’s going to be great changing my routine so that I don’t have to go there every morning but I’m going to miss my nurses. I’m hoping that have being a visitor for so long that I’ll get a little name plaque on my seat in the waiting room!

So How Long Have I Got Left?

I’ve gone past trying to attach a date to when it’ll be fully healed as it’s impossible to accurately predict. The wound was created on September 20th so it’s been healing for over 4 months and at present it’s very small and superficial so it’s ‘likely’ to take another couple of weeks until it’s fully healed.

Here’s how it looked today.

How the wound currently looks
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Diagnosed with IBD in 2002, I have experienced the usual ups and downs of having a chronic disease and tried numerous medications but the time finally came in 2018 to elect to have surgery to improve my life. I had the surgery in 2019 and this is my journey having a 'New Bum'.

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