Zoooooooom there goes another week!
This is the last blog on Texas apart from a little more in depth stuff about the conference itself in the next one.
We were treated to an afternoon at Sea World in San Antonio by the sponsors of the conference. My absolute favourite part was seeing Shamu and the other orcas. I’ve always wanted to see a killer whale, and finally I have. They are beautiful! They are large, but very agile. I know some people don’t particularly like to see these animals kept in captivity, and I’m probably more along those lines too, but, hypocritically, I have to say I totally enjoyed the show and the opportunity to see such beautiful animals. If you’re sitting down the front (which I wasn’t) to watch the show, be prepared to get totally soaked because that is what is known as the “splash zone”. The whales come along with their tales slapping the water to get you wet on purpose. It’s hilariously funny and extremely well executed! My favourite part of the show was at the end when Shamu came out of the water and did a summersault. Amazing!
Russ the bear is in the photo above, can you see him?
Here’s something I didn’t know; Shamu was the fourth killer whale (orca) ever captured (the second female) and was the third orca ever displayed in a public exhibit. She was the first orca to survive more than 13 months in captivity and was the star of a very popular killer whale show at SeaWorld San Diego in the mid - late 1960s. After her death in 1971, the name Shamu continued to be used in SeaWorld "Shamu" orca shows for different killer whales in different SeaWorld parks.
I thought there was just one Shamu!
On Friday evening, after looking around Sea World, we all attended the welcome dinner there for the conference attendees. It was a great opportunity to meet the rest of the people in a fun environment. The dinner was lovely. On the way in we were given a raffle ticket each. During the night I won a lovely glass ornament with a jellyfish (fake one) inside it which glows in the dark. It’s pretty cool.
Since we had been at Sea World all afternoon we didn’t have the opportunity to smarten ourselves up and a lot of people were arriving that were looking pretty swish! So I bought a flamingo headpiece to wear to the dinner as you do. There were many comments, all complimentary (I think). I think they may have been a little envious! You decide!
I’d also like to include a mention of how accessible different places are for those of us on a mobility scooter or in a wheelchair. There is no way I could have walked and seen everything at Sea World if I was not on Road Runner. We packed in a few miles! When you go on the rides you get to go through side gates and get in ahead of the crowd, you don’t have to line up, and if you cannot take your scooter or chair on the rides they do all they can to help you on board to specially accessible seats.
I also found the same of the airlines. You can take your wheels right up to the airplane door, then someone will stow them for you and meet you at the airplane door when you land if you wish. There will also be someone who will show you the way to your next gate and help you with your bags. I was lucky to have Brad to help me a lot too. It would be a little more intimidating going alone, but you really just need to tell them at the gate what your needs are and they go out of their way to help you. I was very very impressed! Particularly with Air New Zealand and Delta!
Last week I started using walking poles for exercise, to increase my core strength and improve my balance. I’ve been working with some physiotherapists who are doing therapy not only for Pompe but for other types of disorders which do similar things to your body. The comment was made today that my walking is improving and my posture is much better. It's hard work though I can tell you! Having to actually think about how you walk rather than it just coming naturally to you like "normal" people, is very hard. But hopefully sooner rather than later it will start to become second nature again. I'm also doing strength training for my breathing with a special little device I have to breathe in and out of. PLUS pilates exercises!
The physiotherapists, Jenna, Laura and Barb, are also the ones instrumental in getting the exercise video organised for handing out to Pompe patients. There has been a meeting already with the videographer and things are moving along nicely on that project. Stay tuned! Olivia Newton John will have nothing on us! Can you still get leg warmers? I used to have some pink ones, but I think I left them somewhere back in the 1980s.
Halloween has been and gone, and now all of the Christmas stuff is flooding into the stores. There's only 5 and a half weeks of school term left, then Christmas and then I get to see my little boys! Can't wait! The countdown is on :)
The Gators won today!