RID 2011, or Of Lifts, Binoculars, and Smashed Toenails

Yeah, that picture was taken on the way down to RID on Monday. I was happy then and had loads of energy…and great hair. Isn’t that great hair?

This past week I attended the RID conference in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time I drove down to a MARTA station and rode the train down to the hotel rather than flying to the conference. The hotel was fabulous, the company was outstanding, and I got loads of CEUs toward my current CMP cycle (which ends in December, YIKES).

The fabulousness of the hotel was only mitigated slightly by the system of elevators there. Gorgeous though they were, they were glass and went very fast and I was staying on the 27th floor out of 47. Whoosh!

At one point, Lynne (Prevail, Goddess!) and I went all the way up to the top to check out the view. It was particularly woozy for me, and I had the oddest urge to drop my Blackberry over the edge. I didn’t, though, and we called the elevator to head back down. Stepped inside, Lynne positioned herself on the floor to look out, and I hit the button for the lobby. I had heard that if you hold down the close door button, the elevator wouldn’t stop at every floor but would go straight to the one you’d selected. Doors shut and I held down the close door button.

The elevator went about a foot downward and STOPPED. Yep, you read that right, it lurched to a stop. Between the 47th and 46th floors. I think I might have had a minor panic attack. Meanwhile, Lynne, who never backs down from a challenge, was sitting on the floor cross-legged giggling like a demented hippie as I stared at the buttons, willing the elevator to start moving…but not to plummet to the bottom, mind you.

We ended up on the lobby floor in a few minutes when it started up again. I still don’t think my heart rate has gone back to normal.

That afternoon, during one of the workshops, Lynne and I were seated near the back and were having a hard time reading the Power Point on the screen at the front of the room. I turned to Lynne to sign “Can you see that?” and found that she’d pulled some binoculars out of her bag and was reading the screen! I have a lot of fabulous friends, something I found out in spades this week.

The ride home was NOT so pleasant. It took two days, for one thing, because I stopped over at my sister’s in Atlanta for the night. That wasn’t the bad part though. Today, on my way back to collect my car, my fabulous week fell apart in a splash of pain and hot weather and colour.

Susan and I headed out to go to the MARTA station and I was dragging my FAR TOO HEAVY suitcase out to her car. I somehow dragged it over my left foot, starting at the big toe and working backward. There was no swearing, but I did hop around and let out a Holy Heavenly Hannah! just before my toe started bleeding. We went back in and washed it off, then a neosporin and a plaster later and I was headed north…well, actually I was headed west toward Five Points station to change trains to go north.

Problem was, the northbound train I needed didn’t stop at Five Points but rather stopped at Lindbergh, a few stops on up the north line. I should have gotten the train that was on the platform when I got there, but I didn’t know that. So a quarter of an hour later I got on a train north, then got off at Lindbergh and hobbled across the platform and back, then caught the right train north to where my car was waiting.

Easy sailing, right? No. Tried to leave the deck, and it said my ticket was invalid. WHAT? Back up to the cashier, paid the fee and got a new ticket that let me out of the deck and got me on my way up here to Mom and Dad’s where I’m staying till Simon gets here.

In a way, I can’t believe that RID has come and gone already. At the same time, though, especially when you factor in the issues I had getting home today, it seemed like I was gone for a long, long, time.

Onward and upward now…only about two and a half weeks until I fly to the UK and see Simon for two weeks. Might actually rearrange my suitcase before then. For now, though, I’m going to rest up and hopefully catch up on my NaNoWriMo…

As the Psych Unit Turns…and Churns…and Hummmmmms

(Preface: I have tinnitus in both ears and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in my left ear. )

Today the hospital admins decided to test the emergency power system and the generator by turning off the power for not more than two hours, switching to emergency power/turning on the generator, and walking throughout the building noting where lights/electrical appliances were not working. Sounds easy, right?

The deaf staff probably thought the hearing staff were psychotic! The generator is right outside our wing of the hospital, and I could feel the sound in my eardrums. I had to move about in the hall until I found a spot where the generator’s hum-on-CRACK didn’t bother me as much. Even one of the deaf patients asked me what that noise was!

It sounded like sitting over the engine on a puddle jumper. Not really loud, just…there. Don’t know how to explain it. I did get a little of my own back though, when our psychologist who is deaf sat down at the nurse’s station desk and put her elbows on the desk, then jumped back because the rumbling vibration therein startled her.

The noise somehow set off my vertigo. I don’t know how exactly, or if it is a true physical reaction or a psychological one. The last time I had an episode was on the channel ferry to and from France back in August (and for a few days afterward!), and the generator sounded like the engine in the boat…hence psychological, something like state dependent memory. (ex: Last time I heard that same sound I was dizzy.) Or it might have been a true physical reaction because the generator is so close to our end of the building I could feel the sound waves. I could also feel pressure changes in my ears, and that can cause an episode as well.

Either way, it was miserable and followed by a test of the fire alarms in the building. Although it seems that someone thought they should crank up the volume on the alarm for the deaf unit…I was told it was actually that loud throughout the building. We don’t have the PA system so that we can hear it on the deaf unit (I know, seems common sense but there are some of us down there that can hear) so while most of us thought it was probably a test, we rounded up patients to head outside to be safe…only to meet one of our nurses at the door who let us know she’d heard the overhead announcement that it was a test of the system and not a drill.

Ugh…this morning I’m only having residual vertigo symptoms, but I haven’t gotten in the shower yet. If I tilt my head back to wash my hair and suddenly step on the tilt a whirl, I’m calling in sick.