I had originally planned on getting my DC trip blog out in March- I had worked on the blog a little bit once or twice a week and then, here I am and it’s April 27th, with no completion of it. It’s still cold outside; we had freezing rain earlier in the week, and it’s “the middle of spring.”
So, the second day of my trip in DC, started off somewhat pleasant, I had slept in, but didn’t want to miss breakfast, so I set an alarm. My most favorite foods are breakfast foods and I was really looking forward to a delicious meal from the hotel. I found the food area and tried not to pile everything on my plate as there were so many appealing choices to select from! I had to choose fresh smoked salmon- I don’t get that in the mid-west. I put it with cream cheese and a croissant, making it a little loch’s like sandwich. Mmmm, mmm, delicious! I had some fruit, a piece of bacon and a slice of french toast. Then, towards the end of the meal, the hostess slips a black notebook on the table and in it was the bill for breakfast. I opened it and it showed $44 and some change. Holy ***! I asked Tom to wait and the table while I go speak with someone. I then went downstairs to find a DPC staff to ask them how I should handle my bill. I explained to them that I had previously worked for a hotel company and breakfast is included for overnight hotel guests. Now, it’s been a handful of years since I have worked in the hotel industry, and due to this horrible economy, I wouldn’t be surprised that breakfast is no longer complimentary for hotel guests. The DPC staff member told me to go ahead and charge it to my room and we’ll figure it out later. I did offer to pay half of breakfast, again, they told me not to worry about it.
Having a full stomach, I then, went back to my room and took a nap. I awoke just in time to do another dialysis treatment and then, it was time for lunch. Back downstairs to the meeting room area… We were having a boxed lunch. I thought they were all the same, so I grabbed one. It looked like some flax seed type flat bread and had chicken, lettuce, tomatoes. It was edible. There was a bag of white cheddar popcorn, a pasta salad, and some apples. I sat at the first table that I saw with an open seat. I didn’t realize the name of the state it had displayed in the middle. I met a couple more new patients and a couple DaVita staff. After lunch, the workshop began and we had to sit according to the state we’re from. I found my Kansas table, which was right up front.
The workshop consisted of a guest speaker from CMS, a briefing about the issues we were going to talk about on Capital Hill, and a presentation on how to talk with Congressional office legislative staff- how to act, what to say, and what not to say. There was so much to learn and so many great questions asked of the patients! I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation on how to talk with the Congressional staff! The speaker was funny and told jokes; he kept our attention with keeping us involved,by having us role play a couple times, and he was a very charismatic speaker! I complimented him and asked him afterwards if he had gone through Dale Carnegie Training- to my surprise, he had not.
I looked at my watch, and it read 5:15 pm. I had to run upstairs, change my clothes for dinner, do another treatment and be back downstairs in the lobby for dinner by 5:45. I can do it! And I did. We walked to dinner as it was only a couple of blocks. I was really, really looking forward to dinner. We were being treated to the Oceanic Seafood Room. We had a private room and about 60 of us were crammed in it. We were given a limited menu with about 5 different entrees to pick from and each table had a mountain of fresh crab, lobster, and shrimp for an appetizer. I tried both crab and lobster for the first time and did not care for it at all. Plus, it’s too much work to do to get to the little bit of meat that’s inside. Tom, apparently, was a pro at eating crab and lobster and was teaching everyone at the table how to crack the legs. He pretty much consumed about 70% of the appetizer himself,we all found it quite entertaining!
The wait staff were incredible at serving us all and keeping our beverages refreshed! After a very delicious dinner and being full, we retrieved back to our rooms to pack as we had to check out of our rooms by 7:30 A.M. the next day. I am so not a morning person and I was dreading getting up so early. I was reading through my packet that was given to each of us according to what state we represented. In it were bios of each of our Congressional state representatives, basic facts about kidney disease and treatment options, a background of DPC, and then a couple pieces on the immunosuppressive Drug Coverage Bill, protecting dialysis patient care, the Kidney Caucus, and a map of Capital Hill. I wanted to be thoroughly prepared for tomorrow. So, after reading through it all, I then, put in my ear plugs, put on my eye mask, and tried my best to get some sleep, knowing that in just a few hours, I would have to awake.
To be continued in another blog….