It is now Sunday evening and MedX has wrapped up. My mind, body, spirit, and pain is currently trying to figure out this odd combination of confusion, exhaustion, energized, hopeful, inspired, and excitement that I’m currently experiencing. Simply put, these last 4 days don’t seem real. As I sit here writing this post, I’m trying to register that yes, I actually just experienced MedX summer camp and not some medication induced hallucination.
This surreal adventure began with a Thursday evening “meet and greet” dinner for all of us ePatients. It was a chance to finally meet everyone in person. Most of us had already developed a friendship with the help of Social Media so finally able to meet in person was a chance to put a live face with a twitter profile. Also, it gave us a chance to begin our understanding of what exactly MedX means.
Even though this dinner was billed as a relaxed social event, I quickly found my mind pondering a couple of things. First, can a true friendship develop over electronic devices? It seems the usual rules of developing a friendship that we have all learned since that first day of kindergarten no longer apply. E-friends or e-friendships (Trademark Pending) are obviously going to play an important role in participatory medicine but society has no rules or guidelines yet for how to find these new types of friends or develop positive and meaningful e-friendships. More on this in the later.
I also realized that we as epatients have some dynamic stories that need to be shouted from every rooftop, mountain, and microphone that is available. Epatients have taken their medical problems and have used them to rediscover the important things in life that our new fast paced, fast food society has forgot. All of these epatients have earned the right to be angry at life but absolutely no one was. Add to the fact that the dinner was delicious and you could not have scripted a better kick off event for this event I believe.
Before I forget, I need to acknowledge one special person at this time. That person is a epatient board member, superwomen, inspiration, conquer of sever rheum diseases, and most importantly my friend Britt Johnson. Britt and I started our e-friendship on twitter and it has grown from there. We have talked about everything from sports, family, and love to raising the quality of life of our brothers and sisters with arthritis. She is one of those people that has that “it” quality that you know will raise your individual enjoyment of life. Thank you Britt for “following” me back on twitter and thus changing my life for the better. It is because of your friendship that I filled out that application for MedX and you are helping me rediscover my “fighting” spirit that you bring to everything you do.
Despite being billed as an academic conference, a better label is definitely Summer Camp at Club MedX. From the new age music that plays during breaks, to the graphics, tv crews filming, the professional photo studio (makeup was included), and diverse crowd, this was like no other conference that I had ever been too. Every conceivable detail was obviously planned and deliberate in order to add to the experience of MedX. Dr. Chu, the epatient leadership board, the staff, and most importantly the volunteers all deserve a week long vacation on a beach somewhere. There is no doubt that patients came first, they don’t just give lip service to that idea. If you watched the live stream you have some idea of the experience but unless you are there I’m not sure you can fully understand what we are all feeling right so. Right now I’m so glad I get a year to recover and digest these last few days!
This post seems to have relaxed me enough that I think I should say good-bye for now and go to sleep. Believe me when I say that I will be producing a bunch more material regarding this experience. I’ve got some stories from patients that will blow you mind, photos, more stolen knowledge, and a mountain of emotion that I want to share with you. So for the moment please stay tuned…
P.S. Please forgive any grammatical errors and rough writing in this post. I wanted to get my initial thoughts on paper tonight but I’m so torn up right now that my English is barely hanging on. I’m sure you understand!