Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Long day and bad food.

I got up at 3:30 this morning.  And I wasn't happy about it.  But it was necessary to catch a 7:20 am flight to DC.  I was so tired on the way to the airport that I had to roll all the windows down to stay awake--Flagyl has that effect on me, and I'm on it for over another week.

I made it there and met Esther, a fellow PhD student.  Our dean, Dean Broome, choose us to attend an NINR council meeting at the NIH today.  That's. A. Big. Deal.  Students don't usually get to go....like NOBODY gets to go except for council members.  But she invited us and we couldn't refuse, even if it meant getting up at 3:30 and getting home at 2:00. 

I took my Dramamine and got on the plane.  I remember hearing the pilot say we were slightly delayed.  The next thing I knew, we were landing.  I fell asleep that fast and stayed asleep that long. 

We really didn't know what we were supposed to do when we arrived in DC.  Both Esther and I sent an email yesterday asking where we should go and how we should get there.  We took a cab (as they told us to do) to the NIH--$57!!  To top it off, the driver was creepy.

When we got the the NIH entrance, we had to get out of the car (as did the driver) and be patted down.  They searched all our bags.  They searched the car.  There were sniffing dogs.  Wow.  We finally got in, and then we couldn't find the building we were supposed to go to.  He drove around and around and the bill just kept going up and up.  We kept saying we needed the National Institute of Nursing Research--both Esther and I just assumed it had its own building.

Wrong.  It has a few rooms in a hallway.  I have to admit, both Esther and I were underwhelmed by the NIH campus.  NIH funding is such a big deal to us, and it's beaten into our heads so much as the holy grail, that we expected it to be some very modern-looking, extraordinary campus.

Now, it is big.  There are lots of buildings.  But they all look like county health departments or old high schools.  We were all dressed up, and everyone around us had on very casual clothes.  We were starving, and so we went to the cafeteria.  When I say cafeteria--that's what I mean.  Like a school cafeteria.  I got some much-needed coffee and we both got some cereal.  Esther asked the cashier if there was a Starbucks in the building, and the lady looked at her like she had three eyes.  Nothing as modern as a Starbucks was in this building.  We had been anticipating some good food...but we didn't get any.  It was not even fair.  It was bad.

We sat and talked about how in shock we were.  The NIH is where million and billion dollar decisions are made.  Where huge medical and other discoveries are made.  And there wasn't even WiFi.  We expected a whole building dedicated to nursing research and that we would be surrounded by nurse researchers or at least relics of them.  Nope, just NINR staff.  Which makes sense...since NIH-funded researchers are generally faculty at universities.  Still, it just wasn't what we pictured.

However, things turned around when we attended the actual NINR meeting.  We did not sit at the main table, but in the perimeter of the room.  The table was surrounded by the Who's Who of nursing researchers:  deans, senior researchers, military members, etc.  We got to meet Patricia Grady.  I know that most of you won't know who that is, but she is IT in nursing research....she is the director of the NINR.  And she is very sweet and unimposing.

The last hour of the meeting was the best.  There was a panel discussion about how NINR grants are funded (this is very good information for me and Esther).  It got a little, well....heated.  And that was fun to watch.

After the meeting, Dean Broome showed us the Metro (which we wished we had known about much earlier in the day) and we headed to the Smithsonian.  We were STARVING....and the first couple of places we went to eat were closed.  We ended up at the Museum of Natural history at the Fossil Cafe.  Yes, another cafeteria.  More bad (and way overpriced) food.

We are now at the airport waiting to head home.  We are both exhausted.  Esther lives in Indy, so she will be home when we land.  I won't get home until around 2:00.  But it is worth it for this opportunity.  However, I must say I'm not a fan of flying somewhere and then home again in the same day--it's a little too much.

My hip flexor felt basically painless when I woke up this morning....however, as I've been walking around I still feel it, definitely going up stairs.  Run with the Foxes is definitely out.  I'd probably be fine, but there is no sense in risking that--none at all.  I'm going to see Dr. W in the morning--I think it would clear up on its own, but I don't want to mess around with it.  And I really want to talk to him about my surgery, etc.  I'm going to ask him if I can run slowly on it.  If not, I'll cross train.  I have accepted that recovery is the most important thing for me right now before Chicago training starts in June.

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