ASCN is an annual convention/conference created for stoma nurses to meet, share experiences, see the new products from ostomy companies and watch lectures given by their peers. This years theme was “breaking barriers and enhancing relationships”.
I had the incredible opportunity to go to this years ASCN event at the International convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham; as Peak Medical’s ostomy advocate. You may have seen my YouTube videos or read my posts on the Peak products and why I like them. So to go and talk with the team and others about their products was a privilege and I am so grateful to them to have been asked to attend.
If I am honest I didn’t really know what to expect and I was terribly anxious about the whole thing. Was I going to say the wrong thing? Was I going to make a fool of myself? If I was making my own way there, 00Steve was in agreement that my anxieties would have been exacerbated. However “Uncle” Terry lives in the Newcastle area which isn’t too far from me, so he nicely picked me up.
From the moment I met Terry at a local stoma open day, I liked him. It was the first time I had heard of Peak Medical other than seeing a name when we did the ostomy bag roulette series. I have to say Button loved him as well. I told Terry on the phone how I was becoming nervous and he reassured me that he would look after me and that he did!
Once we were in the car, he pulled out a bag full of vegan/veggie goodies – I swear he cleared out M&S’s free from section! We spent the Journey chatting work and life which hopefully didn’t bore him and definitely made the journey seem shorter. When we were about halfway there Gareth rang to see how we were getting on. Terry unconvincingly tried to tell him, he had forgotten to collect me. Clearly the team are very close and Gareth must have been expecting some sort of prank as he carried on as if it was standard conversation.
Once we got to the ICC we went and got our ASCN passes (after going to the wrong stand first!) We then went into the exhibition hall, I saw my friends from Pelican/Respond and asked Nathan to fix my botched attempt at sticking the lanyard to my pass! My next port of call was to find my Honey Badger Louise and wish her happy birthday. Plus to congratulate her on being the face of Vitamin E bags by Pelican.
Then I spotted the Peak Medical stand and went to meet the team. Thankfully I wasn’t nervous at this point, just overwhelmed. The team that was there over the three days were: Auriol who is the managing director, Gareth, Paul, Mark, Jackie, Terry and in a sense me. I was proud but also embarrassed that on the stand was one of my videos on a loop, thankfully I got over hearing my voice although it did catch me off guard every so often when I caught a glimpse of myself on the screen.
I had a quick bite to eat with Rachel and Steve, then had a wander round I met Nicola Dames who created Vanilla Blush, had a look at the stands – saw my local Fittleworth rep Julie and had the absolute pleasure of meeting Ironostomy Caroline Bramwell and she signed her autobiography, we chatted about our lives similarities and the emotions I felt when reading her book (which I have got as a review lined up in my Blogtober series next month)
I was lucky enough to be allowed to use the science exhibition pass to see some of the talks; which I will do as a separate post as I feel they need a post to themselves. However I did see Rachel’s talk on Urostomy – The Poor Relation which of course was amazing!
In the slideshow it shows the Peak Medical team, Thalia Skye, Kat from Kats Bag of Crap, Caroline Bramwell, me as promised sticking my finger up Steve’s nose! Chris (my lovely fireman, I’m also wearing his coat in my selfie haha) amongst others.
We then checked in to the Hyatt Hotel which is joined onto the ICC which made for easy access. The hotel was full of greenary and was really beautiful, my room was small but more than enough space for me with a comfy bed I got to starfish, it had a view of the canal from the window which was better than office blocks! Terry gave me my dinner pass which allowed me access into the gala dinner. The Peak team were going for an Indian(s little in joke there sorry dear readers) and I had been invited to go especially in light of having an anxiety attack, but I decided because I had made a point of saying to Gareth and Mark how much I wanted to go I had to pull up my big girl pants and just go.
The food at the gala was okay I guess, now the starter was bloody amazing – brie profiteroles with asparagus; seriously that was just the best thing I had eaten out in a long time. I obviously had the vegetarian option and part of me wished I didn’t – it was a mushroom tart and it was definitely NOT my thing! The dessert would have hit the spot for a lot of people but for me cheesecake is the devil, but I ate it (regretted it later) There was the stoma care nurse of the year award, a live band and lots of dancing.
The next day I had breakfast with Terry and the lovely Irish Fireman Chris who was with Coloplast, before going back to the stand for a couple of hours. Mark and I had a wander round the stands and a chat about our love of stationery – which we were able to indulge in with notebooks and a diary. The stands at the ASCN event were:
- Peak Medical
- Pelican Healthcare
- Purple Wings Charity
- Trio Ostomy Care
- Vanilla Blush
- CUI Wear
- Breakaway Foundation/Buttony Bear
- British Journal of Nursing/Gastrointestinal Nursing
- Paediatric Stoma Nurse Group/Stomawise
- 11/ Health
There might have been a couple more but they were who I spotted.
Then it was time to go home which was a bit sad as I really enjoyed getting to know the Peak Medical team and seeing my friends but it was back to reality. I really enjoyed seeing what it was like for a rep at these sort of events, let alone the biggest ostomy event ASCN.