I'm a little overwhelmed today. Yesterday Liz, Sophie (our superb stage manager) and I took the show to a Stoma Care Patient's Meeting in Oldham. It was terrifying.
There were over 75 attendees, some nurses and medical students, but mostly patients and their carers. Liz's journey in the show features her living with a stoma (a bit of gut protruding out of the belly) and an ileostomy bag over it. Everyone there knew this way of life.
I'm overwhelmed because of the amazing response in the post-show discussion, and because I've just read the feedback forms we collected afterwards. I'm not normally a very gushy person (ask Liz), but these were what I just read on the forms:
"I hadn't realised how many of the scenarios were common, and not specific to me"
"Life is a challenge these days & people find, I think, stomas are the end, but they need this production, it will ease the anxiety. The show covered the show spectrum from patient, relatives & health professionals. All the feelings. The portrayal is spot on."
Liz with Len, an ex RAF who'd forgotten his glasses so gave Liz a hug instead. He gave her his number too...
"I'm not a patient, I'm the mother of one, but it certainly increased my knowledge & understanding of how the illness affects them. I feel very moved and I think you should show it to all the families & friends of patients to better equip them to support."
"As a nurse I found this really enlightening, though-provoking & fabulous to watch"
"Realising that there are people with much worse to cope with than me but also reiterating feelings and those of others close to you"
"Such great characterisations and interesting use of props / visuals, and a challenging narrative structure! Having been on a similar journey as an ileostomy patient it touched a lot of nerve ends."
"I've had an ileostomy for 46 years, and it was so realistic and honest. It brings a subject some people find uncomfortable into the open, affirms ones own experiences (you're not alone!) and inspires and encourages."
"It helped me realised the problems covered were OK to share with others. I found it very moving"
"What an amazing production, the young lady was wonderful, thank you so much"
"It really challenged my attitudes as a nurse"
"We've all been there - it's so true to life"
"This really should be documented for media release - it would be beneficial all round"
"I found it stimulating - gave me a lot to think about going forward in my training (better patient perspective)"
"As a partner it helped me understand sometimes how he feels"
"I couldn't find anything I didn't like"
"It made me (the patient) feel I am not alone, or the only one"
"It was brilliantly portrayed!! Very emotive"
[A selection of nurses and patients (and Liz, looking very chuffed indeed]