So today I crossed the Severn Bridge and went to my appointment at University Hospital Wales with the Wound Healing Service led by Professor Keith Harding. After 22 months with my unhealed perineal wound where my pouch, rectum and anus were removed, I – and the team supporting the wound – were keen to get the expert opinion of the man who literally writes the books about wound healing.
I arrived in plenty of time – I’d taken the day off work and know that hospital parking can be interesting. The setting is lovely, with a nice open space and some sculptures at the entrance to the children’s hospital.
The concourse at the main entrance is like a small shopping centre with a bank and a post office, as well as coffee, book and sandwich shops. What was nice is that there was a mix of high street names and independent units. I worked out where my clinic was, and then headed for the restaurant which has won awards for it’s healthy eating options – so I had a flat bread, baked crisps and water, and it was really nice!
I also found a portrait of this chap…
So after lunch I went down to the clinic and was first in which is always nice. I saw a lovely nurse called Hannah who started taking a history – which always takes a little while these days, and it was mostly just the wound treatments!
A registrar came through and then they examined the wound, measuring it and noting the dimensions. They then called through the Professor!
Depending upon your point of view, I’ve either been fortunate or unfortunate to have been treated by three professors – Nicholls, Clark and now Harding. There is something very calming about being in the presence of someone who not only knows what they are doing, but also turn teaches others either directly or by writing books and journal articles – the very top of the field.
So he came in, asked a few questions about how I came to be there (and then asked me to share that with some visitors to the clinic too) and examined the wound. He asked a few more questions, in passing mentioned that ileo-anal pouches do ‘often fail’ (I guess he doesn’t see the people whose are fine) and then gave his prognosis:
- An underlying infection. He requested some bloods be taken, and this may show if there is something there. He asked if a biopsy had been taken (it hasn’t) so this might be a future possibility depending on the blood results.
- A ‘dumbbell’ shaped cavity, with the coccyx pushing in and not allowing the upper cavity to drain sufficiently – and MRI scan is being requested back in Bristol so they can compare images. Possible solution – shave off some of the coccyx to allow it to drain…
Obviously it is early days, but he also said something to me before he went off to see another patient:
‘We can’t heal everyone we see – we help about 80% of our patients. I won’t promise to heal you, but I do promise that you won’t be forgotten.’
I go back in 4 weeks, so lets hope I can get the MRI before then!