An honorarium is traditionally a small gift given to show appreciation. I had spent most of last Friday in my hotel room, trying to recover from my fall at Bush International Airport. I had slept all day (or rather tried to sleep; I had too many bumps and bruises to really get comfortable) and gotten up in the late afternoon. I wanted to try to go to the Group Dinner sponsored by Hypoplastic Right Hearts and meet some of the other members.
I almost changed my mind – the best that I could do with one hand was a pair of shorts and a T-shirt – but I decided to go anyway. People would understand, I thought, and I needed to move around. Yep, it hurt; but if I didn’t get moving and working everything out it would hurt that much worse later.
So I got my act together and went – and had a great time. Yes, we talked hearts, but only a little. Most of the talk was about life – average, mundane things. Having a defective heart can occasionally be The Elephant in the Room, a real conversation stopper. But when everyone brings their own elephant, no one else notices.
I was very surprised when I was called to the front of the room and presented with… a pair of dog tags! I had coined the phrase Heart Warrior not long after Adventures of a Funky Heart! began, and apparently the phrase has struck a chord with Heart Parents. And knowing that no warrior enters the fray without his dog tags, the members of Hypoplastic Right Hearts awarded me a set engraved with my name and the phrase A Heart Warrior saving the world for CHD Families.
That was really a boost, since at the moment I was feeling more than a little down. Hey, all I had managed to accomplish so far was to trip over a laptop bag and win a free trip to a local ER. Not an outstanding start at all. But my dog tags coupled with the kindness and understanding of nearly everyone I met got me back in the right frame of mind.
So thank you all, and a very special Thank You to Bob and Jim from Hypoplastic Right Hearts, Sheila at the Guest Services desk, and Mr. Cecil Adams, Night Manager of the Hyatt Regency Houston.