'Health is the great leveller' - Part 2

Posted by Sam Crow, May 5 2020

After his Spina Bifida worsened and he suffered a collapse at work, Andy decided it was time to reach out for support. Now he’s grateful for the cross-team support provided by his local healthcare professionals and the Navina Care Team. 

Andy Spina Bifida Navina Care Support

This is part 2 of Andy's story, if you've missed it you can read part 1 here.

After his collapse Andy was referred to Southmead Hospital for treatment of his pain and his continence issues. He speaks highly of the bladder and bowel specialists who have supported him in getting control of his bladder and bowel management:

“I’ve got an amazing team in my corner now. I get a huge amount of support from the team at Southmead and I’d especially like to give a shout out to Rachel my Specialist Urological Nurse and to both Rachel and Laura my Specialist Bowel Nurses. Not to forget my new GP Dr Baines.



“It was the team in Southmead who first got me to try Transanal Irrigation (TAI). I started off with another system but the lack of sensation in my hands made it difficult to control. That’s when the team had the idea to try me out with Navina Smart and the touch controls made the whole process a lot easier for me.”

Despite this Andy still found the concept of performing TAI very daunting. Without overcoming this emotional barrier, he would have struggled to stuck with Transanal Irrigation.

“Thankfully the team in Southmead arranged for one of Wellspect’s nursing team to come and visit me in my home to help to talk me through everything again.”

Shortly after starting on Navina Andy received a call from the Karen, in the Navina Care team to help Andy get set up and to see if he had any further questions about the device or the therapy. Now the Navina Care team are a regular part of Andy’s support network and he and Karen are in regular communication.

“Karen and the Navina team have been incredible. I receive a call every couple of weeks to make sure that I have all the supplies I need and to check how I’m getting on with TAI. They are always willing to lend a friendly ear and I know that I can call them at any point if I have any problems.”

Despite the symptoms of his spina bifida worsening (and a recent diagnosis of both Autonomic Neuropathy and Fibromyalgia), knowing that he has the ongoing support of the team in Southmead, the Navina Care Team and access to Wellspect’s nursing Team has made a real difference for Andy. Now he’s regularly performing TAI and has recognised that it’s improved not only his bowel management but his bladder management as well.

“You soon realise how connected the two are, when you do something to treat your bowel it has an effect on your bladder and vis versa.”

Asked what advice he would offer to someone else who is finding the process of starting TAI daunting, Andy offers the following:

“I’ve realised that health is the great leveller, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. Once you are ill, especially if it’s long-term illness, you realise that you need that support from others. Your treatment might still seem scary at times but at the end of the day, it’s better than the alternative. I really didn’t think I’d overcome that initial emotional wall but with the support of everyone in my corner I did it.



“Remember that can also talk to family and friends if you need support. My mum, my younger brother and his whole family, my aunt, uncle, cousins and my circle of close friends have all showed me such amazing support. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve a lot of what I have in the last few years. So, don’t feel ashamed to talk to the people closest to you.



“At the end of the day we’re all different and the amount of time and support you need to get going will vary – the important thing is that you get there in the end.”

The Navina Care Team, who support Andy with TAI, are a unique team operated by Select Home Delivery Service. To find out more about Select click the button below:

About Select Home Delivery Service

Topics: TAI