I was almost miserable at BlogHer this past weekend, and unfortunately, it wasn’t something I kept a secret. I couldn’t (though trust me, I tried). It wasn’t that I didn’t like the venue or the speakers or the hotel or the brands there. Instead, I woke up Friday morning with a migraine, and my functioning was down to about five percent. It was enough to get me dressed and standing but not much more.
Of course, had I been thinking when I woke up at 2am with a headache coming on, I would have taken my Imitrex and been in a much better place. Instead, I tried to push through the middle of the night hoping it was just a lack of sleep from getting up for a 5am Chicago flight and dehydration. After all, I only get nine Imitrex a month, and I was already down to 5 with almost three weeks remaining before I could refill my prescription (thank you insurance company).
Nope, it was a full on migraine, but I had promised to attend a breakfast at 7:30, so I went. I was grateful that they weren’t serving hot food, as my nausea probably wouldn’t have tolerated it. Apparently my face was not its usual cheerful and sunny self, and the lovely women at my table noticed and asked if I was ok (thank you, Kate, Jennifer, and April, among others). I wasn’t, but I didn’t want to break my commitment, figuring I could sit quietly and listen, trying to sip on some chamomile tea.
I had to excuse myself partway through the breakfast, as my stomach just wasn’t up to it. I found the nearest restroom, though I thankfully didn’t need it at the time. Instead, I sat down near a pillar outside the restroom with my head down and my hair covering my hands, just closing my eyes and trying to find my happy place.
I wasn’t there for more than two minutes before I felt the gentle touch of a hand and heard someone asking if I was ok.
In so many places, when you see someone sitting off to the side, you simply look the other way and walk on by. You figure there’s a reason they’re sitting there or that someone else will take care of it or that it just isn’t your business. Part of what makes BlogHer the amazing community it is revolves around the fact that there is a community and people do care.
Momo, who is a friend of mine though I’m 99% certain she had no idea I was the one hiding beneath my hands that morning, stopped to ensure I was ok. I shook my head and she inquired further. As soon as she realized that I’d already taken an Imitrex that wasn’t helping and that I was really not feeling well, she hied off for a solution because she had an effective anti-nausea medication with her that she wanted to share with me.
When she came back with the medicine for me, Melisa also joined her to check on me. Because that’s the kind of people they both are. As soon as Momo started explaining how to take the medicine, I put up a finger and beelined for the restroom (and I’ll spare you the remainder of the details there – this is bad enough as it is). When I emerged, Momo was on her way in to check on me, and Melisa was waiting to see if there was anything she could do to assist, as well. Both of them were swamped busy from sunup to sundown and beyond with work for the conference, but they took the time to ensure I was ok.
Even after I assured Momo that I was fine and didn’t need her medication anymore, she insisted that I keep it “just in case” I needed it later. She also mentioned that another colleague had a different medication that was safe to take with Imitrex if my own medication didn’t do the trick. It was someone who didn’t know me but yet immediately insisted on offering a solution simply because she could.
Fortunately, I was able to return to the remainder of the breakfast, and everyone at the table heaved a sigh of relief that I looked and felt at least a bit better. I had to skip the opening keynote to head to my room to take a nap, as I was thoroughly wiped out by that point, but I awoke just over an hour later feeling once again human, and I was able to continue my day and enjoy it.
My amazement didn’t stop with the attention and aid I received from Momo, Melisa, Kate, Jennifer, and April. Throughout the day and even that night at the VOTY reception and suite parties, I was stopped by people I didn’t realize I’d seen that morning, including many who I didn’t know. Every one of them asked me if I was feeling better and commented that I looked so much healthier than I had earlier in the day. All expressed concern with my appearance that morning and were genuine in their concern.
All day. All night.
As I sat in my hotel room that night once the parties were over and my makeup was off, I thought about it. So many people noticed that I was off – and I was at least trying not to make an issue of it, though apparently I didn’t succeed as well as I’d hoped – even though I didn’t want to make it everyone else’s problem. People noticed, and they cared. And they made a point to follow up later when they saw me. It demonstrates a true community in my eyes, a caring and genuine fellowship that is so often lacking in this day and age.
I debated whether to attend BlogHer this year, in part because I feel like I’ve been blogging for awhile now and many of the sessions are aimed at newer bloggers. It’s still fun, but I debated whether fun was enough for me. It wasn’t just fun this year. BlogHer was empowering and renewed my faith in the blogging community.
To all those who said hello to me throughout the weekend and made me feel welcome. To the new friends I made who I cherish. To the amazing bloggers who stopped me to ask if I needed anything when I was sick and followed up when I was well. Thank you. Thank you for all that you did and do because I needed that reminder that there are some pretty amazing people out there in this world. And a lot of them were at BlogHer last weekend.