Monday, February 16, 2015

SLIG 2015 - Part II

Almost three weeks ago my post SLIG 2015 - Part I was posted and since then there have been 132 views as listed on the website. Others may access the post in other venues. Now for Part II, and understanding people. Over the past nineteen months my time has been consumed by the complicated probate estate of my mother who passed away in June 2013. This time period has been emotionally draining and physically exhausting. A major factor in my endurance was the attendance at SLIG 2014 and SLIG 2015. Salt Lake City feels like a second home to me and the Family History Library is one of my favorite places to research. While my plans did not really involve research there, somehow one becomes propelled into a sense of discovery and being lead to serendipity moments in the materials available.

In preparing to fly to Salt Lake City, factors have to be considered due to my ongoing health issues. In 2009 after being diagnosed with CSF Otorrhea or Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid through my ears, the neuro surgeon informed me that this would require two brain surgeries. The operations involved cutting behind both ears and reconstructing part of the ears and cleaning up the areas involved. Like with many surgeries there are no guarantees and there was always the possibility of difficulties following the surgeries. In between the surgeries it was also necessary to have surgery on a facial skin cancer, which delayed the time in between. The first surgery went relatively well, but after the second one there were complications. For some time there was a loss of ability to communicate and processing information. Five years later it is with gratitude that my life is fairly normal, but there are some things that require adjustment to accommodate some changes.

One significant change is my balance and after two falls my need for caution is acute. Following the surgeries in which they used compression boots on my legs my feet became very swollen. There were some burning red areas on my lower legs which still continue as the result of some activities and some foods. Since returning this seems to have lessened. Ever since the surgeries type 2 diabetes and neuropothy in my feet and hands has gotten progressively worse. Hence, there is a need to protect my feet, especially when traveling. The wheel chair service provided by the airlines is critical to ease the pain in my feet. Those providing the service are so gracious and attentive to the needs of the people using the service, they are outstanding. Allowing for pre-boarding helps relieve the stress of being a little slower to move about.

Once in Salt Lake City the use of shuttles, taxis and gracious friends for transportation are wonderful. While at SLIG 2014 someone directed me to the use of UTE taxis and their service is excellent. While some hotels do provide shuttle service, the taxis are quick and reasonably priced. Being able to stay in the SLIG hotel is also a blessing as there is no need for concern about having to leave during inclement weather. The amount of walking is limited and the ability to return to our room for any emergency or rest needed is great. The use of the SLIG shuttle was another bonus this year, but it might have been challenging for some. For me the cost savings was helpful and the schedule was very accommodating.

This year at SLIG there seemed to be more people using canes and some use of scooters. For me my cane is only needed when walking on uneven surfaces, mostly outdoors. In 2014 my cane saved me from falling face first in the light rail car. Afterwards it did make a funny noise until returning home and my husband adjusted it. The use of the cane is at times needed when my hip and feet are bothering me. Sometimes it seems uncomfortable to see others looking at you like you are odd and using devices may feel embarrassing. Eventually the need for safety and health outweigh these feelings. After experiencing the inability to communicate following surgery there was a sense of understanding for others who have mental handicaps. The way brains process information can be challenging. Being able to sit in classes with similar people every day was certainly helpful.

My utmost gratitude goes to the staff that coordinates the SLIG program and various tracks. They are kind and generous in trying to accommodate the needs of those attending. My room partner of the past two years was very supportive and patient, especially when there was a need to slow down. To fellow track participants there is appreciation for the ways you reach out to all participants. At the banquet the last night we observed a group reach out to someone who was standing alone and including that person in their group. We all need to be conscious of those who may be reserved and hesitant to become part of a group. Inviting others to sit with your group is a very gracious way to extend the hospitality of the situation. SLIG is great in and of itself, but it can be even more so when we get to know new people and include those outside of our circles.

These comments pertain to any type of genealogy event, conference, institute, etc. My first national conference in 2005 was FGS in Salt Lake City. It was crazy, hectic and a wonderful experience. For me an institute works better to allow me to participate. Rootstech 2015 was enjoyed from home, as it would have been too much for me this year. We all must make decisions in what we are capable of doing and as we age these capabilities will surely change. With all of the great opportunities for genealogists to grow, develop and learn hopefully there is something that will fit what you need.

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