SSF National Patient Conference (Denver... Friday afternoon... 1/3)
I flew in to Denver last night from Seattle. Flight arrived just before 11, and my eyes were shot. The only thing worse than flying with my sclerals IN, is flying with my sclerals OUT, so I opted for in... but it was bad. Then it got worse. Arrived 11pm, walked what felt like miles in the airport, squinting, froze to death outside in the thunder, sleet and snow trying to connect with my Uber driver who could not for the life of him figure out which level he was on and would drive away as soon as I got in an elevator up or down, and walked into a hotel room that had air (none too warm) blowing like crazy. So glad to pry those lenses off my eyes and drop into bed about 1am.
This is actually my first time attending the Sjogrens Syndrome Foundation's national patient conference. What an event!
There are more than 450 people attending (mostly patients), and based on the show of hands during one of the introductory presentations, the vast majority have traveled in from out of state! I've spoken with several people already who have traveled to two or more of these meetings.
There's a nice exhibit hall, but some conspicuously absent companies! Oasis, where are you? Allergan, Alcon? Geez. The only ones here doling out eyedrop samples - a must at any major event for people with dry eye, after all - are Theratears, whose ads, incidentally, seem to be everywhere of late.. But Eye Eco are here, and 7Eye/Ziena. And they are both mobbed nonstop. In fact, I came planning on borrowing a corner - a small corner - of 7Eye's table, to be able to chat with people, but when I saw the deluge, I just blended in and chatted to everyone about dry eye glasses until I managed to make a break and get out of the way....
It was really great to reconnect with the Sjogrens Syndrome Foundation staff after many years! It's just amazing to me how they've grown. When I first got to know them, they were a fraction of their current size. The types of research and advocacy work they are doing these days, among other things, are just amazing.