Friday, February 9, 2018

Going To LA

I went to Los Angeles to speak at the International Stroke Conference which was hosted by the American Stroke Association.

First things first, I went to the airport here in Orlando to fly west. The flight is five hours long and I thought I'd read a couple of things on my iPad to pass the time.

Not so fast.

I sat next to this very nice character who proceeded to regale me with stories all the way there.

People who fly a lot know this is a good thing. A great conversation makes the flight, well, fly by and before you know it you're there.

That's what happened.

I land, check into the hotel and get this, the front desk was on the 70th floor. I'd never seen that before and since my room was on the 38th floor, down I went. Normally you go up to that level but hey...

I'm boring when working, always have been, and I'm fine with just going over what I'm going to say and watching teevee in my room.

The following morning found me in the gym then perusing the room service menu. There was a hamburger on it for 45 dollars! I laughed out loud and thought two things. Who would buy a burger at that price? And who would sell a burger at that price?

I wanted pancakes and bacon and cookies and ice cream but had salmon and vegetables instead. I've learned it's more important to be healthy.

This speech was also the first time my Maya would see me talk. I was a proud father who wanted to do well for his daughter.

That evening she came into the ballroom, sat in the front row, I hugged and kissed her and off we went.

The audience was full of people who helped stroke survivors. People who were on the forefront of helping to mitigate the damage that a stroke brings and to help find a better way to spot one coming. Also, how best to deal with the aftermath.

They're the ones making the future bright.

In my speech I told them many things including the fact that my neighbor didn't have a stroke, my co-worker didn't have a stroke, my father didn't have a stroke, I did. And I said that when I speak to other survivors I tell them that I may be further down the path but that we're both on the same path. I tell survivors to not give up.

Speaking about stroke is a furrowed brow kind of thing.

Getting the audience to laugh while talking about serious things is what I try to do. As Mary Poppins said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

I had a Power Point and at the end there was a picture of my twins and then Maya. I had her stand up.

The sound of hands clapping.

It was great.

She and I hung out and the next day I went to LAX to fly back east.

I landed.

It was good to be in my house, good to sleep in my own bed.

Good to be home.

And good to be, like Johnny Appleseed, helping to spread the seeds. Different seeds this time.

This time the seeds of Stroke Awareness.

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1 comment:

  1. Wonderful Mark! Did you record the talk? I would love to see/hear it. I'll bet Maya was one proud daughter! Kudos to you. Keep plugging away at it all and spreading awareness.