Advocates for Arthritis

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Sunday morning, after the Lady Gaga concert, I woke up and immediately thought OH CRAP,  I HAVE TO BE AT THE AIRPORT IN 3 HOURS AND EVERYTHING I NEED TO TAKE IS DIRTY.

Normally, I go up to DC to play with college friends, trips where it doesn’t matter if I’m a little wrinkled.  But I was attending the American College of Rheumatology’s Advocates for Arthritis.  I would be spending two days with other patients and rheumatologists and we would be visiting our fearless leaders to talk about legislative issues that affect rheumatology.  Translation: wrinkles are not an option.

Plan B was hastily initiated and I made it to DC with clean clothing right on schedule. One of the reasons I was so excited about this event, besides the fact that I think the issues are so important, was that I was going to finally get to meet a couple of my IAAM buddies in person: Tiffany, Tami, and Robin.

I met Tiffany at the airport on Sunday.  We had a great dinner, some drinks, and then a serious conversation about the merits and implications of walking down the street to befriend the fire station.

Next time, Hot Firemen of DC. I promise.

On Monday morning, we got in the wrong elevator and decided it was just easier to ride it up and then back down rather than getting out and starting over. After all, we were both playing on our phones at the moment. The next floor up, the doors open and a lady got on and started smiling at me.  I was confused, thinking I had met her at the previous fly-in, until she said “Are you Amanda?  I’m Tami.”  I started laughing and pointed and said “well, that’s Tiffany!”  Apparently, the ‘wrong’ elevator was actually the ‘right’ elevator.  Robin was able to sneak in to join us Monday night at dinner.

Robin, me, Tiffany, and Tami

Most of Monday was spent in meetings.  We heard from a representative from the White House about healthcare reform.  We heard from a Senator on how to conduct ourselves in our meetings.  We heard from various representatives of the ACR to learn more about the legislation that was to be our focus this trip.  In all honesty, my favorite part of Monday was just the chance to sit around and chat with other patients during the patient reception.  I LOVE hearing and learning more about some of the paths other patients have taken- treatment paths, career paths etc.  It goes  to show that you really can live with this disease and do whatever suits your fancy (to a certain point).

After our dinner, another patient came over to the four of us and asked “do you want to go to a bar?”  We all started laughing.  Do we have that look?  Apparently so! So a group of us closed out the night with drinks on a rooftop bar overlooking the White House.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

Goodnight DC!

Tuesday was spent in meetings with the elected officials from our respective areas.  It struck me while we were there- when I was there in March, it was the same week that healthcare reform was being voted on.  This time, it was the week that the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act was up for markup in Committee before going to be voted upon in the House.  What fortuitous timing!

All in all, a GREAT trip.  Long days, lots of walking, and pretty tired on the way home.  But again, I think these issues are SO important. The following week, September 30th to be exact, I was so stinking proud when the Arthritis Act was passed through the House.

Maybe they will invite us back before it goes to the Senate….

 

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