Got into Pittsburgh late last night. Slept like a log at a hotel near the airport. Miraculously, next morning, at a shop adjoining a gas station, I was able to order a fresh fruit smoothie. My first non-junk food in 24 hours. Maybe it was the placebo effect, but suddenly I'm not feeling like someone who has been subjected to hours of torture by the airlines.
Today I'm in a hotel adjoining the convention center where tomorrow the Eighth International Conference on Bipolar Disorder, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and the Western Psychiatric Institute, takes place. The room is a far cry from my Priceline specials (you know the type - where the air conditioning and plumbing are loud but unoperational, the guests in the next room and foot traffic outside are even louder, the view is into a parking lot or brick wall, towels the size of face cloths, and the wireless plays dead). I received an award at the previous conference two years ago and the organizers still remember - hence the luxurious (by my standards) hotel room.
(Towels! Big fluffy towels!)
Familiar names at the conference include Kay Jamison (part of a panel on suicide and note she just another expert here rather than a celebrity keynoter), Thomas Insel, head of the NIMH, and David Miklowitz, author of "The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide." Plus a whole bunch of people who have contributed to my understanding of bipolar over the years, including Nassir Ghaemi, Husseini Manji, Ellen Frank, Michael Thase, and many many more.
Plus I look forward to catching up with numerous people I've met at past conferences.
Today I'm chilling. Had a long nap, got my didgeridoo with me (my lightweight "travel didge," not my new one I've been blogging about), and am about to take a walk. Dinner tonight with a friend of a friend. Tomorrow up early for a 7:45 AM start.
This is John McManamy, tooting from Pittsburgh. More in future blog posts ...