I just returned from a great conference called the Essentials of Emergency Medicine. I had not been to a meeting of my peers for some time. The reasons for this have to do with acquiring hermit-like tendencies as I have gotten older. I also have a young family that I don’t like to stray too far from. So, going to the conference was a change of pace for me. I will admit, the 7:30am start time was a bit rough. Even the marching bands did not take the weight off of my upper eye-lids. And, yes, there were marching bands at the conference.
The lectures were brief, a nice length for a room full of people with ADHD. Emergency physicians often have this disorder, or as I prefer to refer to it, a gift. The only problem I found was taking in 6 hours of condensed material was a lot like having 6 shots of double espresso. By the end of the day I was in pre-brain arrest – the mental equivalent of the state one is in just before going into cardiac arrest. Between lectures there were interludes of jazz and other musical acts in segments called “The effects of music in lowering blood pressure.” However, when I sit in a chair for too long and listen to a voice droning on and on, no matter how long or how dynamic, my blood pressure tanks and I start to look over the agenda in hopes of finding a talk that I can skip to go have a nap in my hotel room.
The biggest surprise in the conference was the sheer amount of people in attendance. There must have been over a thousand people there. I kept thinking about how lucky the Marriott in down town San Francisco was to have so many emergency medical personnel on hand. I mean, if there was ever an ideal time to drop from a heart attack, November 6th to the 10th would have been it. I was especially impressed by the quality of speakers. I would love to aspire to join this group of elite educators. I actually love giving presentations or performing comedy routines on stage. What can I say, I like the microphone. I wish I could be one of the speakers.
Being at the conference was truly a thrill. I left feeling inspired. I was in an exceptional mood already as I had recently found out that my PET scan was negative and that I no longer have cancer. That is an unbeatable high right there. Now if only my hair would grow back to the way it was before chemotherapy. Regardless, it was nice to be back, sitting shoulder to shoulder with like-minded others.
Emergency physicians are a unique bunch. We work hard but we live harder. We appreciate how precious life is and how it can change in an instant. We grasp how important it is to seize the day because no day should be wasted. Sitting in the large conference room, listening to the rock stars in my profession, was a privilege. Now I am charged up and ready to start my shift tomorrow morning with a new bag of tricks. I would recommend this conference to anyone who is passionate about emergency medicine. You won’t be disappointed!