What a fantastic weekend.
I knew Fitness and healthy living bloggers were cool, but who knew I would meet so many amazing people in just 2 short days!?!
The weather was AMAZING– Baltimore was sunny and in the high 60′s low 70′ the whole weekend. The hotel location was amazing– 5 steps from the harbor and pretty nice, considering I usually go on the cheap for hotel stays.
I know I have said this 100 thousand times already, but Roni and the other volunteers really outdid themselves. They made this conference the best it could be and they deserve all the kudos they get. Plus 100 more.
Even though I was still really stuffed up from my rotten head cold and had a horribly plugged left ear from the flight, I got up at 6am on Saturday to do the 1K walk/run (sponsored by New Balance) with my roommate Mary. There were about 70 runners and walkers– some of them did the 5K, some did the 1K. I walked with Workoutmommy and FatFighterTV. While I am glad I got up and did it, I was really congested and didn’t walk very fast.
Saturday’s breakfast was yummy with Quaker sponsoring the oatmeal– I had oatmeal with dried cranberries and brown sugar, 1/2 a banana and 1/2 a Pom Drink. YUMMO!
The first session started after some brief announcements from Roni and a perusal of the sponsor tables where I was able to pick up a bathroom scale, awesome food scale (I think by Eat Right — They are in a box on the way home from fitbloggin now– I will change this and link to them when I get them) and signed up for a new cool product at the New Balance booth (more on that as soon as I get them!) I can’t wait to try everything I am grateful for receiving and excited to review them here so you can both hear about the product, and in some cases, sign up to win the product!
My first panel of the day was the SEO Myths panel– and I really needed it! Scott Stawarz was a fabulous speaker and gave alot of good tips about what to and NOT to do when optimizing your blog. I think the best piece of advise he gave was:
How to get people to link to your blog:
- Be controversial
- Be first
- Be unique
- Be creative
- Be useful
- Be yourself
It is really hard to remember some of those things when you are just starting to spread the word about your blog. Staying true to YOU is the easiest way to keep readers.
As the session wrapped up, I spotted a tweet from my roomie Mary: Going to the Hospital- Anybody wanna come? That totally freaked me out and I immediately DM’ed (Direct Message her for all those non-tweeters out there) her back to ask her what was wrong and why she was going. Earlier as we were getting ready after the 1K she had mentioned that she was a bit crampy, but she seemed to feel a little better after a bit (and some Motrin, I think).
Well, she got worse. By the time she tweeted that she was in the conference main hall, and I got to her, she was green and not doing very good. I asked Mary if she wanted/needed someone to go with her– and she was OK with me going along. There was no way I was going to let her go to the hospital alone in all that pain. She is a grown-up, of course, but I am a firm believer that people need not only a friendly face but and advocate when they are that sick. Someone who can help make choices when you are too sick to make them yourself.
Anyway, A kind and very cool local blogger, Kate, offered to drive Mary to the ER. She drove to what I thought she was calling “Baby” John Hopkins (remember my ear is still plugged up at this time ;-0) but is was really “BAYVIEW” John Hopkins Hospital. It was farther than the “closest” hospital, but I am so glad she took Mary to a JH affiliate. Seriously, they were awesome. mary was in A TON of pain and was pale and clamy and not able to keep anything down by the time we got to the ER. Gerri, Roni’s mom, is a nurse, and she had guessed Mary might be trying to pass a kidney stone.
For those of you who don’t know, the pain is compared frequently to giving birth to a baby. A BIG one. After about 15 minutes (but seemed like 60 min) of waiting in the general waiting room (which was pretty empty), a nurse came out to get Mary and take he back for the initial assessment. Kate and I stayed in the waiting room with a colorful cast of (what seemed to be regular) characters waiting to be helped. I didn’t want to whip out my DSLR in the waiting room so, sorry, no pictures. While we were waiting, I sent updates on twitter to make sure people knew she was doing OK. I didn’t want to liveblog Mary’s ER visit, so I didn’t, but there were a lot of worried people back at the conference that wanted to know she was doing OK.
At one point, the nurse said we could go back and see Mary in the temporary holding room, and she was not doing so hot. I think everything- the pain, the cost, being sick- caught up to her. She was teary, but was holding it together better than I ever would have. They had just placed the IV and Kate joked that Mary would have an AWESOME blog post from this– and that is when I pulled out the DSLR and took a photo of the IV so Mary could have it for all posterity. She has a post up now with her “side” of the saga, but I didn’t send her my pictures until a few minutes ago.
Since she looked upset (not at me taking a picture- I asked before I did- but just sick and teary) I asked her if she wanted to be alone for a bit. She took me up on my offer to leave the room. I know sometimes when you are sick a hug and company help, and sometimes you just wanna be alone. I really wanted to make sure I was respecting her wishes.
Kate and I hung out in the lobby for about 20-30 min longer gabbing and swapping info before the nurse took us to Mary’s new “room” in the ER. When we got there, she was getting the IV pain meds– Hallelujah! After about 10 minutes I could tell they kicked in. She wasn’t so squirmy and she could sit much easier. The PA called for a ultrasound and a CAT scan. Kate and I stayed for the ultrasound and talked the poor doctor’s ear off about what he was doing and why, It was a great nephrology lesson!
Kate and I had not eaten lunch and my cell died just after Kepa called it from NZ to talk to Mary (her cell had bad reception in the room). Kate also needed to get back and let the gal who rode up with her that she was at the hospital. About 2:10, we drove back to the conference and wolfed down some food and I charged up my cell. I wasn’t feeling the best– my headcold was really bothering me– but we were able to give Roni and the other volunteers that had helped Mary an update on her condition. About an hour later, my cell rang and it was the hospital letting us know that Mary was being discharged, so we drove back and picked her up. She looked about 80 percent better and had a diagnosis of Kidney stones. That’s right — not 1 but 3! One one was being passed, but she might have to worry about the other two in the future.
We arrived back at the conference about 10 minuted before the closing remarks were done. I was bummed I missed most of the sessions, but glad I was able to help a friend in need.
I went to dinner with Yum Yucky, WorkoutMommy, FatFighterTV and (for the life of me I cannot remember her Twitter Name right now). It was a nice mellow fun dinner– just what I needed after a long day. I went back to the room to pack up before dark, and by 9PM was ready to sleep, but was pursuaded by others to come down to the bar to hang out. One thing led to another and I ended up in Fitarella and Fitinmyheart’s room went down to the bar to meet with Mary, JulieJulie, someone who will not be named, and Jeninreallife. I had a blast and seriously– almost peed myself a few times laughing. They are a great bunch of people. I didn’t get back to my room until 12:30.
Sunday was busy running to the pharmacy to get Mary her pills (she was not feeling well again Sunday morning), finding out they wrote out the Rx wrong, and finding someone (Jeninreallife) to drive us back to the hospital to get the new Rx. It was a bit of a hassle to be honest, but it had to be done.
I made back the hotel just in time to make the shuttle to the airport (Thanks for the awesome driving Jen!!!). When I got on, who should be there but Hope (WindyCitySocial) and it turned out we were on the same flight! We gabbed the whole way to the airport, and really had fun talking while waiting for our (Delayed) flight. I am so glad I got to meet her in person and we are planning to meet up sometime next week to compare notes on the conference.
I brought alot of stuff back to giveaway on the blog and I am so exited to share it with you! The box doesn’t arrive from Baltimore until Wednesday, but be on the lookout starting next Monday for the reviews and giveaways to start!
I am already planning and saving for Fitbloggin 11!