I was at the Agile 2012 conference last week. I was only 8 weeks post-op from my knee replacement and my knee was great. Unfortunately, I had sprained my ankle (same leg) the previous week. So I was not 100%.
The hotel was one of the sprawling megaplexes, the Gaylord Texas. The hotel rooms are all centered around a huge atrium, and the conference rooms are down one wing off to one side. I had a room that was the furthest from that wing. I had plenty of walking exercise, which is great for my knee. Not so great for my ankle and my vertigo.
I realized by the second day of the conference that I could walk to the conference and walk around to the sessions and walk back to my room. But all the walking aggravated my ankle and triggered my vertigo, which made me cranky. And I forgot things, like meetings with people because I was exhausted. And my vertigo acted up at random times during the day. I’d stand up and the walls would move up and down. All the walking was taking all of my emotional and physical energy. I had sessions to deliver the next two days of the conference. Did I want to be exhausted or fresh?
I decided to rent a scooter.
Every time I make a concession to my vertigo and give up some mobility, I cry. Every single time. Admitting that I am not the same person I was even after three years is so hard.
But I had reached my physical limits on day two of this conference, and I had yet to co-lead my experiential session or give my talk. I was in pain from my ankle, and my vision was bouncing. My vertigo was overpowering my meds just from walking. I was being stubborn for no good reason.
I gave myself a good talking-to. I told myself I had a handicapped placard at home. Yeah, right. I told myself I didn’t walk this much before the knee surgery and I replied that it wasn’t the knee that was a problem. (It wasn’t!) I finally explained that your ankle hasn’t un-swollen since you got here and you know that isn’t any good. You are being stubborn for no good reason. If you don’t want to give your vertigo a break, just give your ankle a break.
This is one of those problems that can be fixed with a small application of money. I was resisting because of what the scooter represents.
To me, old and infirm people use scooters. They also use canes, but somehow, I don’t think about that! There is something about not using my legs that scares me. It’s as if there is the possibility that if sit down I won’t get up. I haven’t figured it out yet. I need to, because this concern is impeding my ability to make good decisions.
I used that scooter for two days, and I smiled the entire time. I was not cranky. My ankle didn’t hurt. My vertigo was calm. My knee was stiff because I sat too much. That was the only problem.
This picture was taken (thank you, Michael Tardiff) at the end of the first day that I had the scooter. It was about 7:30 pm. I was still smiling, because even though I’d been up since 5am, and had led an experiential session and had gone to some of the party and had talked and talked and talked (my pleasure!) my vertigo was calm.
The second day, I gave a talk in the morning. Because I had used the scooter, I was able to do something I had not done in the past three years. I walked around and met people before my talk. Since the onset of my vertigo, I’ve been sitting down and resting so I can stand for the duration of my talk.
Then, I was able to stand for the entire hour. I did sit after the formal talk was over and people came up with their specific questions.
One of the Twitter comments mentioned that he hadn’t seen me speak for 10 years and I still had the same energy. Wow, made me feel great. Of course, it costs me more now to maintain that energy. But, that’s okay.
I was happy with the scooter. I was cranky without the scooter. Seems like an easy decision, doesn’t it?
None of our adaptations is an easy decision. This one wasn’t for me. The next three Agile conferences are at Gaylords. I am pretty sure they have similar layouts. With any luck, I won’t have a sprained ankle. But, I will still have vertigo. If I go to the conferences, I will have a decision to make: rent a scooter and be happy if my room is far away from the conference, or not rent a scooter and be cranky. And, live with these uncomfortable feelings I need to name, so I can resolve.
Difficult choices. Life is not for wusses.