Keith is a 58 year old ostomate from Swansea, South Wales, who was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2008 and had his Ileostomy surgery in May 2012.
Keith is a Respond dispensing service user, a selfie king and fundraiser for multiple charities. His positivity is so contagious we asked if he would take over our blog for a couple of weeks to discuss some important issues and share some tips in the hopes that it helps even just one ostomate. So welcome to “Keith’s Corner”!
His first blog is all about why Keith chose to change from using the chemist to get his stoma supplies, to our award-winning service. Enjoy!
Soon after I became an ostomate in 2012, I remember the stoma nurse saying that my first batch of the products I needed would be sent to the house via a home delivery service, and that I could expect a free hold-all for my new range of necessities, and a free scissors for cutting my bags. These actually proved particularly handy in those days as I was using one-piece bags.
I didn’t know about or understand at that time, the way a delivery service worked; what it was and what it did in reality. Back in 2012, social media was only just taking off and I didn’t have access to various forums and discussion groups that are out there nowadays, so I had no means of seeing what other people did. In my naivety, after that initial delivery, I thought the best way forward was to simply pick up a prescription from my GP and to have the products listed on it dispensed from the pharmacy. One of the main reasons for this was that I was afraid that deliveries would arrive at my home when my wife and myself were at work. More than likely there would be an issue with nobody around to receive the delivery, and the prospect of trying to find the ‘missing’ parcel was not one I looked forward to.
It would be a while before I would come to appreciate what a fantastic service the home delivery is.
For the next few years I found that the pharmacies I used were brilliant to start with; the products I needed were ordered promptly and arrived at the pharmacy on the expected day. However, this was short lived. Gradually I was noticing the order would be incomplete – things were suddenly unavailable or out of stock. This resulted in multiple extra trips to the pharmacy; either me or my wife would go out of our way to call in on the off chance to see whether the missing items had arrived, which was an absolute pain to say the least. I would become more and more anxious, as I have a real worry that I could run out of these important things and then what would I do?
Last year I decided that this was getting ridiculous so I phoned Respond. I already knew the team at Respond and Pelican well through different projects I had been involved with. As it turned out, it was Respond who had delivered my first package back in 2012 and my data was still on the system. After a few minor but important updates later, (like a change of address) my ostomy products are now delivered directly to my door every month.
So what makes this service so good? Well firstly Respond make a point of phoning a few days before my order is due to make sure they deliver exactly what I require. If by some chance I miss the call, they look back at their records and pack what I usually order, so the chances are that nothing is missed out. The expected delivery date is confirmed, and I always receive a text message to let me know when the delivery will be made. The beauty of it is that I am able to ask the driver to leave the package in an agreed safe spot or with a neighbour if I know that nobody will be at home to take it directly. This has made a huge difference; no more extra trips to the pharmacy to collect products that have arrived late, and then listening to various lame excuses why the products weren’t/ aren’t available, and most of all the waste of my precious time. Now everything I need arrives promptly when promised, and I am very happy.
So it may have taken six years to rediscover the benefits of the delivery service, but what a difference it has made. The worry and hassle has gone thanks to the amazing people at Respond. Thank you so much for excellent communication and an excellent service, I would recommend it to anyone.
You can find out more about Keith and follow his journey on his Twitter at @keiththom2014.