Friday, October 12, 2012

DNM adventures in jolly old England

I was invited last spring to teach in Sheffield, and agreed. The organizers on the other side of the Atlantic did a beautiful job of handling all the details. Traveling always stresses me out though, and a day or two prior to leaving home anxiety started to mount - there wasn't much I could do about it but get through it. 

On the weekend I was on and off 6 planes, 6 trains, taught two full days, stayed up for 30 hour stretches twice, mostly long hours of sitting punctuated by short periods of fast walking or taking trains between boarding gates, stressed out. I think I earned my pay. Anxiety and I don't get along very well. I'm sure anxiety and everyone else don't get along well either. In fact some days I'm convinced that most of ordinary daily human culture and ritual, and all of overt culture and ritual, has evolved to prevent it from starting up in the first place. Not that it doesn't anyway.. especially when one's critter brain begins to realize what's going on and starts to squirt out anxiety brain chemistry, when it senses threat, assigns danger salience to the situation. Adrenaline, baby. I have learned adrenaline can be my friend, especially when coupled with caffeine, especially when faced with multiple travel snags at Heathrow airport, or trying to teach live without mumbling incoherently.

I couldn't possibly have been better treated by my hosts, who made sure everything was as good as it ever could get. The hotel was right across the street from the PT practice which had become the workshop venue. Both were huge old Victorian mansions that had been repurposed. (Sheffield was full of these.) The class went fine - there is always the computer/cable/projector hassle at the start, but once we were rolling it went along fine. 

The workshop had attracted people from as far away as Norway, Latvia, and Italy, and nearer to home, Ireland and London. There were people there who had only just graduated, while others had been at it already for decades. Of 18 who attended, only two were women. Teaching massage therapists, the ratio has been more even. There were a couple of massage therapists there -  there was also an osteopath, a shiatsu therapist, even a chiro, childhood friends with the osteopath. On the whole they seemed an intelligent group of individuals. British PT has seen an influx lately of special interest groups determined to install memeplexes of the anti-scientific variety, at least anti-neuroscientific variety, which has most of the British PTs I met quite concerned, and pushing back. 

I didn't have time to go sightseeing, so the only pictures I took were of the class itself, and the inside of my hotel room. Here is a nice one of the whole class, outside in the sun on the lawn, the big banner advertising that it's a PT clinic, hanging down. Looks sort of like a castle, doesn't it? I appear in the second one.

October 7 2012 Sheffield UK

Oct 7 2012 Sheffield UK

If I ever do anything like this again, I'm going to add more days for downtime. It was crazy to go all the way there just to turn around and come straight back. My brain is still jangled, wakes up at 3 AM not able to sleep (like today), then crashes in early afternoon for a couple hours of deep deep sleep. I won't be able to do that today - I have to drive to Moose Jaw, Sask. this morning (two hours away) to participate in a neuropathic pain conference this weekend. My presentation won't be until Saturday, but I'll have to be somewhat sharp for it. It is, after all, an opportunity to have manual therapy of the gentle sort added to the possibilities of treatment for people in chronic pain. The conference is interdisciplinary, and officially provincial; there will be opportunity to network there. I am representing not just manual therapy but also the Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division. So I have to try to stay awake. More adrenaline, please!


Antonello said...

and more caffeine ...

Diane Jacobs said...

Yes! More of that too!