The NRAS Blog

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Having a dizzy blond moment or three …..

Last week I went to British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology where I was due to speak on the Friday. I took Nicky Kennedy with me who is a retired Rheumatology Nurse Specialist (my Nurse Specialist actually!), from one of the Berkshire hospitals who is volunteering for us one day a week. Nicky has a lot of experience working with children and young people with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and she is helping me and my colleagues with the preliminary work we are doing in this field, preparatory to seeking funding to start the process of setting up a JIA service in the UK.

It was a lovely sunny, crisp morning as we set off up the M40 towards Nottingham. Well, the first thing to happen to burst our happy anticipation of an interesting and interactive 2 days was my very irate husband on the mobile accusing me of having taken his house and office keys with me and demanding that I return them immediately as he had an important teleconference that he was now going to be struggling to make. We were nearly at Junction 6 and our brains went into over-drive. How to deal with the situation without having to go back which would mean we would miss some of the morning sessions at the conference? God must have been smiling on me, because Nicky happens to live near Junction 6 and her husband was at home. He gallantly leapt into his car and met us lurking about in the sunshine on a corner of the road near J.6 and very kindly agreed to drive back to Maidenhead and return the keys to my husband. What a star! We were on our way again within 45 minutes. Whoops no. 1.

Nicky is an excellent navigator (not something I can say about all the NRAS staff!!), and we managed to find the right campus building at Nottingham University, found a disabled parking bay very near the building we wanted and got in just in time to hear the opening presentation. Hurrah. The problems of the missing keys rapidly faded.

After an interesting morning, we were walking to lunch and on passing my car discovered that I had stickers all over it and had received a Campus Police fine! In getting out of the car and sorting out bags, briefcases, deliberating which building it was we needed earlier that morning, I had completely forgotten to display my blue badge! Whoops, no. 2. Fortunately we managed to find one of the very accommodating organizers of the event who, having explained my mistake, managed to get my parking ticket rescinded.  Nicky was beginning to look at me the way in which you might regard a troublesome child.

The rest of the day went smoothly until I got to my room and discovered that I had forgotten to pack my hairbrush. Now this might not seem very important, but to one who washes and blow dries her hair every day and bearing in mind I was presenting the next day, this was very cross-making! There was nothing for it, I would have to present with unwashed hair :(.

That evening there was a dinner for all the delegates and speakers and Nicky very much enjoyed seeing some old faces from her early days in JIA when she was one of only two specialist nurses involved in Paediatric Rheumatology care in the UK, and I also had the opportunity to catch up with some of the health professionals I hadn’t seen for while and learn more about the challenges of delivering the standards of care outlined in the new ARMA/BSPAR Standards of Care document published last year.

When Nicky and I returned to the student block that night after the dinner we both got out of the lift, said ‘goodnight’ and went off to our rooms. I couldn’t seem to get the key into lock and after a few moments of fiddling about trying to get into the room, had to get my glasses out to see why the key wouldn’t go into the lock properly. I was just thinking that I would have to go and find someone to help me when Nicky came along the corridor laughing as she had just had the same problem and had realized that we were on the wrong floor! We were both trying to break into other people’s rooms!! Fortunately neither of the occupants of the rooms were there! Well, we then had a fit of the silly giggles and were still laughing about it the next morning. Whoops no. 3.

The following morning the keynote presentation was fascinating and delivered by Dr. Danya Glaser, Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from Great Ormond Street, on the subject of ‘Anxiety –related, misconstrued, exaggerated, fabricated or induced illness? Or Medically unexplained symptoms,Or Perplexing Paediatric Presentations? There are many issues in JIA which are different to the adult RA world and we have a lot to learn.

I presented later in the afternoon on ‘Input into Commissioning in RA – Lessons for JIA?’ which seemed to go well. I don’t think this quite made up for all the mishaps however, as Nicky said that she’d think twice about coming away to a conference with me again!

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