What’s Lobby Day like?

I keep telling you that I want you to come to Lobby Day 2009. I hope that some of you have decided to join us as we work for a National Registry of Heart Defects. (You can sign up by clicking HERE) I’m hopeful that some of you have decided that you are coming, but I’m sure that a few of you are still wondering what a Lobby Day is like. For you, I’m reprinting an old e-mail. Obviously, I can’t predict or control the weather, and don’t let it stop you. You’ve fought a heart defect, are you going to let a little snow keep you from coming? I can promise you, you’ll learn something, you’ll have fun, and you’ll be doing good!

I was teamed with a Cardiologist (my Cardiologist – the doc I see every four months!) during Lobby Day 2007, and as we the day went on, he kept an eye on the weather. It was snowing at breakfast, and it had been snowing through most of the day. Just before our last planned visit, he asked if I thought I could handle it by myself. His office is in Atlanta, he had patients to see in the morning, and he was worried about being snowed in. I told him no problem, get going, he had people counting on him. I sent him the following e-mail after I returned home. (I’ve added a few things to make it more understandable to you, those additions are in bold print.)

*********

After we split up, I headed back to the Russell Senate Office Building to meet with Senator Lindsey Graham.(R-SC) Every time I saw a security guard or someone behind an information desk, I’d stop and ask directions to make sure I was still on the right path.

One of the Information Desk workers told me to take the elevator down a level and get on the subway. I asked her if she were sure, we had seen a subway earlier but it was for members and staff only. She assured me this was a different subway and could be used by the general public.

When the subway stopped and I got off, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) was waiting to get on! Not more than thirty feet later, a silver haired man passed me. It took me a moment to realize that guy was Senator John McCain! (R-AZ) (How much of a coincidence is that, to see two of the last four nominees for President?)

After several more twists and turns, info desk inquiries, elevators and escalators I made it to Graham’s office. Did not get to meet Senator Graham but met Colin Allen, one of his assistants.

Like everyone else we had met, he was young, but was interested. He asked a lot of questions, including one that neither one of us had heard before: Does the ACHA support limits on Medicare part D? I had to tell him that I didn’t know. (I don’t even think the word “Medicare” appeared on any of those sheets they gave us during the training breakfast.)

After our meeting finished, there was no way in the world I could find my way back to the corner they told us to go to be picked up,  so I asked Mr. Allen where the nearest outside door was. It was only about 50 feet away! So I went on to the street and hailed a taxi. I got one pretty quickly, thankfully, because by then it was sleeting pretty hard.

I got back to the Capitol Hill Club and was shaking the water off when Amy Verstappen asked if I minded going back – somehow an appointment had been missed. I asked who we had missed, and she said Representative John Spratt (D-SC). I told her you and I had taken care of that: Even though we had forgotten to take the appointment card with us (Which is why they thought he had been missed) you had written his name and appointment time down; and I had wanted to go by his office anyway because he represents my district. I spent about 20 minutes filling out forms about each visit. Simple stuff: What office did we go to, who did we meet, did we meet with the elected official, who was the spokesman for the ACHA group, etc.

We got back to the hotel and a few of us discussed going out to get something to eat together. I was intending to go until “something to eat” morphed into a shopping trip in Georgetown, and that didn’t appeal to me – my feet were too tired! So I begged off, got a meal in the hotel, and headed up to the room. I spent most of the evening watching the local news and the Weather Channel. About 8:30 PM, the airport closed because of the weather. Looks like you had the right idea!

I talked it over with the hotel desk clerk the next morning; there had only been about an inch of snow and she said that the airport would probably have delays but they should be open. When I got there at 11 AM, the runways were still closed. The planes started flying again about 12:30, and my flight was delayed – everyone’s flight was delayed – but I made it back to Charlotte about 10:00 PM that night.

*****

Obviously, I can’t predict or control the weather, and don’t let it stop you. You’ve fought a heart defect, are you going to let a little snow keep you from coming? I can promise you, you’ll learn something, you’ll have fun, and you’ll be doing good!

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