I went to Blissdom.
I was with Jackie (my helper) and Julia (my friend with the best curly hair) and my new wheelchair Bertha.
My regular wheelchair is a manual chair.
It was my first conference with Bertha. No idea, but the stirrings of the independence she gives me.
We hit Nashville.
A UTI hit Jackie.
Julia had plans that I WOULDN’T encroach on. Like dinner. And sessions. And passing kidney stones on the last night.
FYI, when the stroke victim in the wheelchair is the healthiest person in the room, you got issues.
I decided to do this conference on my own.
I could do this.
I DID do this.
It was the first time I confidently maneuvered the labyrinth that is the Gaylord Opryland by myself.
It was the first time since my strokes I arrived at at party when *I* wanted and left when *I* wanted.
It was the first time since my strokes I had a conversation in the hallway just because the person found ME interesting.
It was the first time since my strokes I truly went out on my own.
Yes, I got lost. But just once.
I was willing to ask for help when I needed it. I wasn’t embarrassed.
It was four years since I was attending Blissdom as a newbie.
But I definitely experienced a lot of things as a special brand of newbie.