Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I have spent the past few days in Orlando, at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association. The research I do at work is directed toward finding better treatments for this disease, and the first thing I was asked to do when I started my new job two weeks ago was to book myself a ticket.

It is an amazing scene, fourteen thousand scientists, nurses, doctors, educators and pharma reps all gathered in the miles of air conditioned, swirly carpeted corridors of an enormous convention center. This would be a bad weekend to have a diabetes related health problem, mind you since your Doctor is probably here! I have an affection for the meeting, since many years ago it afforded me my first trip to the US, to present a paper on my graduate research. after presenting the paper I slipped, almost fell of the state and shouted an obscenity into the microphone, but fortunately my career continued, untarnished by this quite amusing baptism into conference speaking!

I'm not so wide eyed these days, but I still find the meeting inspiring. It is the American Diabetes Association by name, but the whole of the international diabetes community attends, the diversity is amazing, they have a big map of the world with pins to stick in representing your home, and it is dotted all over. This year they had a world cup viewing room, so I watched the I'll fated match with a bunch of German and English attendees! It is an opportunity to reconnect with friends and research collaborators from the past, to make new connections and most importantly to learn new things.

I always come away amazed by the efforts of this community, progress feels slow sometimes, but there are so many improvements in treatment over the past fifteen years. As part of the diabetes research community I have watched them hatch from a brilliant idea, then with the might of government and Pharma funding become a fully fledged treatment advertised on the sides of buses.
I dream of the day my own contributions are part of such a breakthrough.

It has been tough on Geekydaddy, this is my second conference trip of the year, and this one was over the weekend. The kids are nonchalant now. "will you make our sticker chart for the days you are gone?" geekygirl asked. She also gave me some gift guidlines. I'm hoping the buzz lightyear shirts and the 'colour yourself' stuffed aligators meet muster! As I left on Thursday I hit a kiss and a "see you on Tuesday" from geekygirl and a "buh bye mummy" from geekyboy. Geekydaddy is holding up but a whole weekend wrangling two kids alone is tough. I can't wait to see their little faces again, and give him a break.

Childless for these past few days, I find myself smiling at strangers kids and striking up conversations with their parents. I did at least get to visit some old friends who live in the Orlando area, and was honored with cuddles from their 11 month old baby and the opportunity to read a bedtime story to their five year old daughter.

So though I have enjoyed my adult time I
ready to get back. I am in fact eating smoked salmon and sipping Chardonnay right now while waiting for my plane, rather than riding up and down the escalators and moving walkways to amuse the kids. My phone is in my own hands rather than being squabbled over by two kids triying to watch 'Diego saves baby river dolphin". It's important to appreciate these moments!

But I'm ready to go back to being "mummy" again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone in the fancy wine bar at the Philadelphia airport