223. Healthy at ALA Annual Conference

Maybe this should be a small thing, but I felt great at ALA Annual Conference this year! No headaches, no neckaches. I was even able to get up early! (The joke was on me – I didn’t realize until my plane landed on the way home that there had been a one-hour time change in my favor.)

The fact is, I’d noticed a lot of underlying irrational fear about the conference. This was for two reasons.

The big reason was that traveling to ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in 2011 was where I got the neck injury – a vertebral artery dissection – that caused my stroke. The stroke didn’t happen until 4 weeks later, but I had a bad headache, centered in my neck, for all of those four weeks. I am absolutely sure that carrying heavy bags of books did not help. So my associations of New Orleans had been strongly flavored with pain and fear. (So glad to have new associations!)

The second reason was that at ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver just four months ago in February, I had started thinking maybe I didn’t really need to be careful about carrying heavy things – I hadn’t had neck pain or headaches in months. And then the first day of the conference, I overdid it lifting my carry-on into the overhead bin and lifting my heavy rolling bag up the shuttle bus steps. And the first night, I laid awake in my hotel room for hours with my neck hurting badly. Not as badly as when the stroke happened. But badly enough to keep me from sleeping and make me wonder if I should go to the ER. But I wasn’t going to do that in a strange city, and I had a Newbery meeting to go to….

(It did feel better after I got up the next day. But my neck continued hurting off and on for the next month. Then I aggravated it again and it hurt for about another month. So I’m very glad I didn’t aggravate it.)

I suppose there’s a third reason – and that’s that for most of my life, traveling – and strongly disrupting my routine – tends to give me migraines. This time I didn’t get any migraines at all, including when I had a glass of wine. (It made me tipsy instantly – I can’t hold wine at all – but did not give me a migraine.)

So I am very grateful to be feeling great the day after ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans!

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