Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Convention Souvenier

This was posted on Facebook. Thought I'd share it with you. 

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My Salt Lake City souvenir: 

Rather than address all the separate texts and PMs I thought I'd share my story once. This is not normally what I would share on FB preferring to share the fun stuff. It is just easier to address all.  Ignore at your leisure LOL.

On Day 2 of my Convention experience Deb and I were heading over to the Salt Palace (Convention Center) to pick up our Tshirts and I had a swap (of course!). Leaving the hotel (Marriott right across from Salt Palace) as I stepped down I could feel my knee at that moment buckle and twist to and fro. As that happened my ankle twisted to offset this action and I ended up landing on my left knee (which the arthritis is only slight better on it). I was like a very large tree falling down first. Someone said it was the slowest and most graceful fall they have seen.  My face got acquainted with the pavement of Salty. I beg to differ on the graceful part.

I took my time getting up, trying to collect my thoughts and will the pain to subside. The hotel bellhop brought me a wheelchair over to push up off of to finally stand. I have to tell ya, 25 stampers stopped by to help, very sweet group stampers are, and probably envisioning ways to craft a tool to help me. Thats what we do, create and envision.

I spent the afternoon at my scheduled activities. It was my busiest day of the whole event. The knee hurt but I got to where I needed to be, slowly and surely. Thursday night was opening general session and then a giant party/expo. 5800 women trying to see everything. Kind of a crazy event. I was barely walking by then. Summoning the will I walked across the entire center to the only seats at the event at the back of the "food court" area that had been set up. I sat down at an open table, preferring to be at a table alone to collect my thoughts and figure out my next step. I knew I needed to be seen and tonight. I began crying. I couldn't even walk to the bathroom and knew I was in trouble. I was stranded. I called my sweetheart and he started looking into insurance and hospitals. In the meantime I got a sanitation person to get security to help me get out of there and back to the hotel. 

Celeste from Security brought me in a wheelchair out to the sidewalk and her supervisor joined us. I would have to cross myself. Liability and they could not take me across. They did anyway. I would have done what I needed to get across and back to my room to sort this all out. Chris the bellhop got me the rest of the way to my room. My divas got me ice and set up. I began with the phone calls. LDS hospital was the closest and actually "in network" for us. So Denise Quale Wilson went with me to hospital. 

Different hospital system handles things differently than back home. Got xrays and no results. Got some meds to try and calm down the now jumpy nerves and swelling. Never got xrays looked at. Just determined nothing probably broken. ER are good for ruling out the scary and patch and fix. That is what they did.  That would have to do until I get home. Rory, the gallant offered to drive or fly down to get me home early. I was not sure what I wanted to do. Hour by hour I would figure this out. I have to give a shout out to Denise right now for spending a long, sleepy evening in the ER. Love ya, couldn't have done it without you!  Plus who else would want to try and find a pharmacy at 3 a.m. and drive through food from a cab in Salty? Adventures!

Friday found me locked into the hotel. I could use the hotel wheelchair while at the hotel but what to do outside the hotel. The Salt Palace had no other scooters to use and no wheelchairs. I called their back up company who is only open Monday through Thursday. I could fly home early, but for what and that left me flying alone with zero help. I was lonely and vulnerable. It would have been easy to curl up in the hotel room into the fetal position and spend the next four days watching TV. Or I could go be with people, in the hotel lobby and not sequester myself. I chose the healthier option.  I made it in my groovy ride to the Starbucks in the hotel lobby and got my first food of the day (and ended up to be only) and coffee, an important item! I moved to a couch to get comfortable, figuring there would be people to talk to. Tracy from Minnesota and I talked for quite a bit. We connected. She was just one misstep behind me with her own knees. My empathy goes out to her. Then Ms Bonnie Thurber found me. Bless Bonnie who is genuine, genuinely funny, and very sweet. She was in a scooter (a very fast one I might add) scooting around the event due to her recent addition in her life, Clyde, her new knee.  Bonnie and Clyde are getting along just fine.  She was so concerned because I was essentially trapped at the hotel. She promised me a Paper Pumpkin kit, which is sweet of her.  Magical Bonnie took my info and came back not much later with a kit, not only for me, but for Tracy. What a doll! I am still not sure how Bonnie's magical powers work and she was able to get over to the Salt Palace so fast, get through 5800 + staff and back over so soon. She was very encouraging on getting a knee replacement after this injury gets fixed. Had some good tips and is just a great gal.  Anyway I had some much needed fun that afternoon and decided I would do my best to make the most of Convention. I had looked forward to this for a year, what else is a gal to do? 

Friday I was also supposed to be a Make & Take helper. I was so looking forward to being able to do this. Cute projects. Fun crew. What an experience that would be. I contacted the head staff right away Friday, but of course she was unavailable. 

Friday night one of the front desk staff at the Marriott said go, please, get out and enjoy your time here. Just don't go off-roading in the wheelchair. Like I could anyway...I felt blessed. Mama Shawn Perez saw to it that I got to awards night and some company. I had never been to awards night before. I am so glad I went and got to see Terri Gaines make Founders Circle! W00t Terri, our own Rock Star!!! 

Things settled into a routine the rest of Convention. I was confined to the hotel or the Salt Palace for food, but that is OK by me. Food is food and I didn't come to Convention to eat, I came to experience and learn. The confinement was due to logistics of maneuvering a wheelchair around uneven sidewalks and large crowds, since my leg stuck straight out in front of me. Getting it bumped was not fun.  Even having had a daughter in a wheelchair a few times I have such a newfound respect for people permanently there. All you see are purses and butts and people are not always so good about getting out of your way. Keep in mind the leg sticking out. And not being able to see ahead. Guess being 5'8" I am used to being able to see over the crowd a bit. It is what it is, and I made the most of the situation. It felt good to get some of the Convention experience. And from what I heard I did not miss much Friday afternoon at the expo. Long, long lines, crowds, and more lines. Nah. I was better off where I was at the time.

Saturday night I went to the hotel restaurant, which has great food BTW, Elevations for a table for one. I had not eaten protein in two days and with being on pain relievers I really needed substantial food, not just oatmeal. The table next to me another demonstrator was alone. I opened conversation with her and invited her to join me, since I was fairly immobile. Karen and I talked like we were long lost friends. Side bar: she was only a demo for three months and was here alone. She had quite a life story. And was a genuine sweet spirit. Somehow that sneaker paid for my meal without me knowing and dashed out of the restaurant before I started throwing money at her. The waitress was in on it the whole time. What a nice evening! I invited her to join our annual end of Convention Pizza Party with Inking of You. Maybe next year Karen.

Sunday I had lots of help getting around the airport. with the new style of wheelchairs there I can't even wheel myself around. I am too independent to ask for help and like being independent. That was a low point for me. Trapped in a wheelchair and cannot even get to the bathroom myself. Vulnerable. Isolated. Unclassy.

MSP airport was a lot less cooperative for those needing assistance than I thought they would be. I got a wheelchair ride to a certain point, keep in mind I was not in a self rolling wheelchair, and had to wait for a sky cab (golf cart). Several came by, loaded up and said baggage was just around the corner. While that was true, It was a 100 foot walk up an incline from where I was to an elevator then zero assistance is set up to be provided once you are down in baggage. Yes, you read that right. Zero. Shaky, my leg, and I were on our own. Either that or I could just sit in the chair for hours and hours. My prince Rory could not rescue his princess from this situation. I was on my own. 

I made it to one of the end carousels from the elevator. My prince found me. I cried from relief. What a ridiculous set up at MSP.  They sent me a survey. Yes, they will hear my report. 

The prince and I decided that I needed to be seen today, by one of our local clinic systems. Decisions about our huge family vacation coming up soon need to be made and we need to truly know what is going on with my knee.  We went to Tria, one of the best orthopedic places in the country. They used to be the best but the nurse said as we checked in that they were recently bested. Just a funny fun fact for ya all.  In other words I knew I was getting great care. Salt Lake did what they could given the circumstances and I am truly grateful for their care, its just not home. Twin Cities and Mayo, some of the best care anywhere. And I needed answers, fast.

So after this long saga you got to read through, here it is: I tore my MCL medial collateral ligament in my right knee most likely because as I stepped down, at that moment my quad muscle got tangled up in the giant bone spur behind my knee cap and caused my knee to sway to and fro. The doc did say that if I had to tear a ligament that was the one of choice (his words not mine) because that is the easiest to heal and causes the least permanent injury. Should heal on its own and not need surgery. Seeing those knee xrays remind me of how delicate my knees are right now. So a lemons and lemonade situation. 

Still not answered what happens to the family vacation and what happens to me knee replacement I need to schedule for fall.  I need an OK next week for travel.  Day by day. Now that I am home with my (literal) creature (cats) comfort I am feeling better. Happy to be here. Happy to have gone to Convention in spite of the unfortunate accident, which sounds like it could have happened at any time. Happy to have the friends I did see me through this. Happy to have this ridiculous experience to write about (one for the record books). Happy to be surrounded by all the loot. Happy for the day I can play with my new fun stuff. Just ... happy. 

Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep being creative, Sandy

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