I had the privilege and honour to represent my amazing Pulmonary Hypertension charity, the PHA UK at a COPD conference in Rome!
Our flight was with Ryanair, and for the first time I chose the special assistance service when we booked our flights. I was extremely grateful for this service and it made our flying experience much better and less stressful. I was in a wheelchair as soon as I got to the airport to onto the plane and also the same in Italy too. Both flights there and back were excellent and it is definitely a service well worth using. We would highly recommend it. Thank you Ryanair!
I had to speak in front of many doctors and researchers from around the world and it was great fun.. once the nerves settled! I spoke about living with Pulmonary Hypertension and giving the doctors a patient's prospective of what it is like to live with a condition like PH. The reason I gave this speech was because, as much as we, the patients, love hearing about the medical advances etc that are happening and "out there" for us, I felt it was important for the doctors to hear how we felt about it all and get them to understand how we feel.
My talk went down very well, ending with a rapturous applause and great feedback, so I was extremely happy. Terry and I wore our matching PHA UK tops, and I also mentioned the PHA UK and the amazing work that they do for us here in the UK.
I also want to say a huge thank you to those who sent me good luck wishes and for all of their support for my talk! I received so much, and for that I was very grateful, and help it me for when I was giving my talk. I was doing it for you guys, you PH'ers!!
The conference was a 2-day event, but Terry and I decided to stay on for the week and sight-see Rome, as we were there. We had a wonderful time looking at the main attractions, such as The Coliseum, Trevi Fountain and Vatican City.
ADVICE - TAKE YOUR BLUE BADGE!!!
We were very lucky seeing the main attractions, because I took my Blue Badge with me. This proved I had a disability, which meant we skipped the 1-2 hour queues for each attraction and also got free entry as well. Fortunately, as the UK are still part of the EU, it was accepted, but once we leave the EU, I fear it won't be accepted, as they were only allowing free entry to those with Blue Badges from EU countries. I really hope this isn't the case, as this would be such a burden for those with disabilities and we won't be able to see the places we also deserve to see, despite our disabilities.
We did a sight-seeing tour on Segways, which was extremely fun and we also took a day trip to Pompeii. It was such a wonderful sight and so interesting, full of history. Unfortunately it's not very accessible-friendly, which meant I had to walk around the park, but Terry piggy-backed me round some of it when I got tired, especially the hilly parts, but it is definitely worth the trip!
We had a super time in Rome and we loved it all! I can't thank the PHA UK enough for this amazing opportunity and for all those who followed my trip on my social media and sent me good luck wishes for my talk.
Unfortunately I am REALLY paying for the good time I had and at home feeling very sorry for myself. I'm resting in bed every day and having O2 when needed. Sadly, it is something that always happens - we always pay for having a good time - which sucks! However with lots of bed rest this week, I am sure that I'll be back up and running next week, as I have important events, such as playing at my friend's Wedding and of course reaching another milestone... my birthday!
Thank you for reading!