The upcoming weekend will be a busy one, with our ABA Branch Conference. This annual event usually involves me loading up the car and travelling to the country or somewhere on the other side of the City, but not this time! I still get to load up the car but then I travel a few hundred metres from my home and park it! Yes, my home town is host this year and the venue is the Uni in my neighbourhood. I could even walk there if so inclined (but I am not!).
So, no weekend away and I get to sleep in my own bed :) No down time for art though and the conference is sandwiched between my usual Friday and Monday self-care activities. Friday's includes an MRI to see how my MS is going on the inside. Luckily, I don't find the MRI experience anything more than loud and uncomfortable (45 minutes or so lying immovable on my back on a hard surface not good!). I gathered all my previous scans together the other day to retrieve the most recent to take along for comparision and they are a history in their own right - when I first began having symptoms in 1995, MRIs were a very expensive, hard to access diagnostic tool. My first cost me $500 out of pocket for - sob - an inconclusive result! They used to involve trekking to a central hospital but now the machines are in local facilities. And bulk-billed by medicare :)
I have had a nostalgic week. Part of my office work has been organising our Years of Service presentations at the conference. The earliest qualified volunteer in attendance qualified as a Breastfeeding Counsellor back in 1977, when I was in Year 8! While that makes me feel young, my co-worker wasn't born until 1979, so that makes me feel old! It is lovely to catch up with old memories as groups of names celebrating 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years chronicle my experiences over most of that time ... and my name is on the list too! It is hard to believe five years has past since I created my 15 years certificate for presentation and here I am, creating my 20 year one! Twenty years feels like a very long time and it is! So many changes over two decades since I became a breastfeeding counsellor yet so many aspects of the role are unchanged. And so very many friendships that continue to this day. I can't wait to catch up with many of them over the weekend.
Volunteers are unpaid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.