Through having my ileostomy I have been incredibly lucky to have some amazing opportunities opened up for me! We as part of the show had been invited down to Cardiff to meet the Pelican Healthcare team and have a look round the factory. One of my (many) brother in laws said “Surely there would be an episode of ‘How It Was Made’ done so you wouldn’t need to go.” Which deflated me slightly but do you know what? It was one of the most fascinating and interesting things I have ever done!
I have never been to Cardiff before, let alone Wales so I was incredibly excited to go; maybe not for the nearly 6 hr train journey mind! We stayed in an air BnB near the stadium so pretty central to everything and not too far from the station which is good because Little Miss Independent had a huge suitcase plus her crutch!
We went down on the Tuesday night and chilled waiting for Mister IBDhour himself to drive over the bridge from Bristol to have a couple of drinks and food. Well what ended up as a couple of drinks ended up with one last call and a party in Popworld! Safe to say I still can’t have Redbull!
The next morning left me very fragile shall I say and part of me is glad because it meant I was quite reserved, I can get quite loud and excitable so it meant I was able to take in things and listen more! A taxi arrived to pick us up and take us to the Pelican Healthcare HQ, on arrival a very cheery Nicola S and Nathan greeted us and showed us to their little meeting room which was ours for the day. We had introductions and a much needed coffee before being shown to the factory downstairs. You honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell that there was a factory downstairs because it was so quiet!
We were shown how each stage of how each of the bags were made on site. I honestly found this so intriguing, currently only the urostomy bags are made by “hand” which will be automated in the very near future. I am not going to lie that definitely worked in my favour as we all got the opportunity to make a urostomy bag! It was very fiddly and I was in awe of how quick the staff were able to assemble them. Even though the colostomy and ileostomy bags are automated they haven’t had to make people redundant which is such a good thing as many people worry when machines are brought in to make jobs more efficient that they will lose their jobs. So well done Pelican for keeping people employed can I get a round of applause!
We were royally spoilt throughout the day and it was truly appreciated. We went out for lunch with Nicola S, Nathan and the adorable Meg. After lunch we went back to Pelican HQ and participated as a focus group with Owen their market researcher. Which hopefully was useful; seeing as we had a double bagger, a man with an ileostomy, someone with multiple surgeries and skin issues and me who still has a flabby mum tum and high output! We all have different needs and preferences which must always be informative if nothing else. I obviously can’t divulge the details of our discussion but I can tell you it is exciting! We also got lovely gift bags of products.
When we were in Rachel’s words all stoma’d out we heading back to the air BnB to rest which of course didn’t happen as we were all trying to make ourselves beautiful, Steve clearly took the longest ha ha! I was gutted my zip broke on my dress and Rachel being the amazing friend she is gave me her dress to wear which was the kindest thing she could have done as she knew how much I had been looking forward to dressing up. We were wined and dined by the team which was pretty nice to get to know them all outside of the stoma world!
We were even really lucky to be able to meet Rachel’s mum Jill on the Thursday morning for brunch before we headed off and as Steve had already left for London as he is busy busy busy being amazing, it was ladies that brunch! I was excited to meet Jill as she reminds me of my mam and it was comforting. We had a nice chat about everything and in true daughter style Rachel slunk back! But it was such a nice experience to end such a fantastic trip away!
I would like to thank all of the Pelican staff the three Nic’s, Nathan, Meg and Owen for making us feel so welcome and picking my brain or what’s left of it with having baby brain and being hungover!! It really was a pleasure and an amazing experience, 00Steve was shocked I waited till I got home to talk ten to the dozen about it all!