Thinking Spatially for SXSW

We’re leaving in a few days, and I must say I’m very excited.  But also there’s a bit of trepidation lingering around.  Although I scored two great hotels in the downtown area, the festival is pretty far-flung, so I’m overwhelmed about how to approach my first trip to Austin, let alone my first trip to SXSW.  Thanks to my transverse myelitis, I can’t walk really long distances without severe neurological discomfort.  So couple that with lots of standing and warm weather, and I’ll be out of energy in no time.  I’m too proud for a handicapped sign, but sometimes I know it would make things easier.

First I tried to tackle planning for the festival by using the favorites feature on the SXSW Go app to keep track of the bands I want to see.  It’s pretty crazy how much programming is out there, and how difficult it is to figure out where some of these far-flung bars are located.  I know I’ll love the vibe of the city and the music spilling out of doorways, but I’m worried I’m setting myself up for disappointment when I run out of energy on Day Two.  I’ve read a baker’s dozen SXSW virgin to do and tip lists, and it’s making it all more confusing.  But I have a plan.

I know I have difficulty walking long ways, and I’m assuming taxis will be impossible to hail.  So I’m going to take a neighborhood approach to the festival, by learning about the different venues on a spatial basis. I’m a city planner, so what can I say.  My hotel for the first half of the week is the Austin-Town Lake Holiday Inn, which is convenient to the river pathway system and also the Rainey Street neighborhood.  Being on the far southeast corner of Downtown, it also seems like a good way to visit the East-side neighborhoods.  I’m hoping a good way to get between neighborhoods will be Uber (who is running a deal through RSVPster for a free first ride).  So I’ll try Uber at least once (since it’s free), and hopefully that will be better than hailing a taxi. 

Now that I’ve figured out how to look at schedules by location, I’ll be able to group them spatially and try to wander around one neighborhood at a time.  Of course, if some crazy gig is announced at the last-minute that will all be out the window.  But here goes the theory.  I’ll do a few neighborhood spotlights in the next few days as I pull my own research together.

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What prick to pick?

Oh you wish it was something tawdry and lascivious.  But unfortunately the pricks I’m talking about are needles. This afternoon I got a good introduction to the various ‘disease modifying drugs’ to deal with my newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis.  I feel a little like I’m in a daze right now, in some surreal alternate reality. 

I was testing different self-injecting needles today with my assigned RN.  (She’s actually pretty awesome.)  I learned how to position the needles, how to mix various injection serums, how to load the injectors and remove used needles.  Whoa, that’s a lot of negative experience.  I knew it was going to be a hard appointment, but I just generally never sat down and thought, “wow, I’m going to be self-injecting for the rest of my foreseeable future.”  I hate needles. Now that I’m thinking about the injections, I’m feeling a little ill (and strangely hungry; oh wait, that’s because of the three other prescriptions that make me perma-hungry.)

So what prick should I pick?  There’s the longer (1.25 inches) needle that is injected only once a week, but it’s into the muscle.  Once a week is good.  And you have flu-like symptoms for a day or two after each injection for a period of around six months. 

The other option is a small subcutaneous needle.  Smaller is good.  Injecting just under the skin is good.  And what, you say there are no flu-like symptoms?  Well sign me up.  Oh wait, how often do you have to inject? EVERY DAY? Whoa. And you have a good chance of having rashes or itching because of the injections?  Well, maybe I take that back. 

Luckily, I have awesome insurance that will cover the cost of the drugs, so either one (at about $20,000 a year) are within my means.  So now I just have to decide whether to have the flu off and on for the next six months and get a big needle injection into my thigh muscle each week, or whether I should go for daily injections of a little needle with no flu, but with possible injection site issues. 

What a depressing conundrum. Ummmmm… well, ahem.  I don’t know the answer.  Since this isn’t something I need to decide right away, I’m going to mull it all over a bit.  So maybe I’ll just think of something more uplifting.  Like caramel filled drumstick cones.  Or jedi kittens.