In all the recent kidney konfusion, I nearly forgot to tell you: Today I am an award-winning blogateer.
You are looking at – OK, to be perfectly accurate, you're reading – the recipient of the 2011 Robert Felter Memorial Award from the Renal Network, Inc., given to "honor individual renal patients for their contribution to fellow patients and their families through service, outreach and education." Impressive, no?
I'd never heard of it before either.
Actually, it was the social worker at my DaVita dialysis clinic in Decatur, Ill., Theresa, who knew of the award and encouraged me to fill out a nominating form.
She knew of my other kidney educational endeavors: working as a contributing editor on the "Live Now: Rethink Kidney Disease" website hosted by Baxter, the company that makes my dialysis supplies; public speaking engagements on behalf of Peritoneal Dialysis for the Baxter corporation and in front of the Michigan Legislature; joining Baxter's patient advisory board, speaking to dialysis patients one-on-one at clinics in Michigan and Illinois. But if you ask me, it was far and away this goofy, occasionally informative blog that helped to put my entry over the top.
If you subscribe to JK, read it regularly or have ever read it before, thank you. I appreciate you more than you could ever imagine.
The late and memorialized Robert Lee Felter, who died in 2002, was a kidney patient himself and is described by the Renal Network as "a champion for dialysis and transplant patients, and a guiding force for patient-centered activities." To answer The Wife's (and possibly your) immediate first question, no, there is no monetary award involved. However, as the Felter winner, I do receive an all-expenses-paid trip to an upcoming national convention that focuses on dialysis or renal research.
Ah, there's the rub. After extensive (and I do mean extensive) investigation, the best convention I could find for the remainder of 2011 was "Bridging the Future of Kidney Care," the 38th annual gathering of the American Association of Kidney Patients.
It's taking place Aug. 26-28 at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, Ark.
That's Arkansas. In August.
Second prize: A free weekend in Hell.
But hey, the horse is a gift. Who am I to check its choppers?
I will show up in Little Rock with the enthusiasm of a female intern meeting Bill Clinton, and we'll play it as it lays. So to speak.
And whatever befalls, rest assured I'll tell you all about it.
In this award-winning blog, of course.