A post because of Crohn’s, not about it.
Whatever else you can say about Crohn’s Disease it certainly does give you the chance of new experiences, mostly unpleasant, to be honest. I won’t list the nasty ones here as they are covered in the video at the end of this post. I thought I’d record how I dealt with this opportunity in case others get a similar chance to raise awareness of IBD.
It’s something I’d wanted to do for a while. I suppose it stems from a reawakening of the “performing” instinct that first showed itself when I was in a band. That was around the time I was diagnosed with Crohn’s.
In this instance I really wasn’t sure what to expect. A fellow patient at St. Thomas’ Hospital was due to talk to some undergraduate nurses, about “Living with IBD”, but then found that they were double booked that day. Would I step in and do it instead? Of course I would, after all how difficult would it be to talk to a few nurses? The date was set for 5 weeks time.
I wouldn’t need any preparation. I’d lived with IBD long enough to write a book. I would just turn up and talk, or so I thought. The last thing I wanted was to read from a script but, after some more thinking, decided the least I should list out all the topics that needed discussing.
Years ago I dismissed mind maps as more “management clap trap” and then actually drew one and have been sold on them ever since. It would help clarify my thinking. Here’s what I came up with :
At this point I found out that there would be around 200 nurses, in a proper lecture theatre and I would be talking at the end of the afternoon. It dawned on me that to do the subject justice, and not short change the nurses, I would at least need some notes and something to keep everyone awake. I tried doing a run through, just using notes, and it was terrible – stilted, hesitant, repetitive….. I would have to write the talk out word-for-word, the very thing I didn’t want to do.
I find that simply reading through what I have written doesn’t pick up over used words or even ones that are missing. Much better to hear it being read. I found that the software I use has the facility to convert the text to speech and save it as an audio file in iTunes. I can then listen to it on my iPod.
After several iterations, including two read throughs to my wife, I was finally happy with the contents. Maybe if I then listened to it endlessly it would become engrained in my memory and I would not need notes.
After half-a-dozen listenings it hadn’t worked. I would have to work from a script after all…..
When I got to the theatre, with a real live audience, it suddenly became a lot easier. I did use the notes but just to make sure I didn’t forget anything (which I still did). I had taken a small camera with me but unfortunately didn’t get there in time to set it up properly so the sound wasn’t brilliant.
The resulting video was rather long, all in one go, so I’ve split it into three parts. Of the three I think that the second one covering surgery and stomas is the most representative. I’ll let you judge the result.
Kings College Hospital, Lecture Theatre