Wow! It’s hard to believe that the last time I posted was August 11. Normally, I’d feel a bit guilty about abandoning RheumaBlog for so long, but this time, I have a good excuse.
I’ve been swamped. Totally, completely, overwhelmingly. And, to be honest, it felt pretty good to be so busy, at least most of the time. I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to have my days so filled up with activity.
So, what have I been up to?
Well, I did go to Philadelphia for Healthline, as I talked about in my last, longago post. And, as I expected, I really enjoyed my three days away from home in completely new, fascinating, unfamiliar surroundings. The flight there on the
first day was good: my only white-knuckled moments were during the several take-off’s and landings, which is normal for me, craven chicken that I am. And the great city of Philadelphia—at least, the part I was able to see—was beautiful. My room at the Raddison Blu Warwick Hotel near historic Rittenhouse Square was fabulous—and one of the city’s oldest hotels. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much
time for sightseeing on the second day, but I did get to spend some time strolling around the square in the bright, moist-warm sunshine. I treated myself to a delectable lunch at a restaurant called Rouge and later on, joined my fellow patient-panelists and the Healthline staffers for a meet-up dinner that evening. I tried the Philadelphia cheesesteak. Because, well, Philadephia.
Healthline’s Thought Leadership ePatient event on the third and last day went
really well. I thought I’d be nervous, speaking to a large group of total strangers, but I wasn’t. The audience, about 40 young advertising experts, was casual, interested, and friendly. I talked about how I’d discovered I had rheumatoid arthritis, how I’ve treated it over the years and how I’ve lived with it, and then, spoke about the subject more important to them: what I think of the current advertising for the biologic DMARDs that treat RA (which is what they create). Using the comments several of you sent to me, I told them that
future ads should be more realistic in terms of how well these drugs actually work, etc. Afterward, we broke up into small groups to answer disease-specific questions. The whole event was fascinating—and fun. And it was great to have the opportunity to meet—in person!—several of the Healthline.com editors and other staffers I’ve worked with or met via email.
Then it was time to go back to the airport and fly home. Healthline had arranged for a local car service to pick me up, then return me to the airport. The driver of my Lincoln Town Car was appalled that I hadn’t been able to do any sightseeing, so he took me on a quick ride around town on the way, pointing out the more famous sights. He took particular delight in showing me the famous “Rocky” steps that were featured in the movie, and the statue of Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, his muscle-y arms raised in exhausted triumph over his head.
We arrived at the airport—and that’s when it all went downhill. I wanted to give my driver a good tip for being so nice, so I dug into my carry-bag for my wallet. It was gone.
We did a frantic search through the Town Car’s trunk—where I’d put the carry-on and my suitcase—and then the back seat. And it wasn’t there. I apologized to the driver—he was very upset that I’d lost my wallet and was quite understanding—but he had to leave, as another customer was waiting. Trying to stay calm, I went inside and called the hotel.
Just before leaving, I’d purchased a cup of coffee in the ground-floor café, then
made a quick stop in the ladies. I asked the hotel to please look around for my wallet, which I thought must have somehow dropped out of my bag. No one had come close enough to me as I waited for my car to steal it from me. (Note: I am aware of how easily—and sneakily—thieves steal wallets. I was pick-pocketed once in Cologne, Germany many years ago…)
Hotel security couldn’t find my wallet. My flight was due to leave in 90 minutes. I needed to get my ticket (which, thank the gods, I’d arranged via computer the night before; I just needed to check my suitcase and get the paper ticket). The trouble was I had no identification. Without it, I couldn’t do either. Visions of being stuck at the Philadelphia airport without any ID, money, debit card or credit cards started running through my mind. How in the world was I going to get home if I missed my flight?
Stay calm, I told myself. Just. Stay. Calm. After talking to a couple of different airline clerks, who had no good suggestions and were clearly too busy to care, I
went to the TSA officer at security and threw myself at her mercy. I explained what had happened. My flight was already purchased and confirmed, I said, but now I had no ID and couldn’t get a boarding pass. Please, I said. I can’t miss this flight.
Thanks to the fact that I’d put my checkbook (for some reason… I have no idea why I did that) and a bottle of prescription pills with my name on it in my suitcase, I was allowed to board my flight. Of course, I had to go through the whole security thing: the whole body x-ray, then the whole body pat-down, and then having my suitcase, carry-on, and laptop case searched for explosives and potential weapons. And then, with my RA flaring in my hands, feet, and hips, I ran through that airport carrying and dragging all three.
Once on the plane, I had no way to buy snacks or a meal. And once back in Sacramento, I was only able to get my car out of long-term parking by writing the city a check. I drove the hour and 10 minutes home, totally exhausted and aching. And the next day, started the long process of replacing everything I’d lost. Except the cash, of course. Sigh.
Next up: Moving Mum