Erik MH:

blog entry

Mobile feed­ing, and a car­to­graphy conference

original date2017-10-10 01:56 utc
republished2024-06-06 21:43 utc
topicshealth; tech; conferences; travel; cartography; orig. on PostHope
noteThis post was ori­gin­ally pub­lished at Pos­tHope, where it’s still avail­able, along with sev­er­al pub­lic comments.

So just over two weeks ago I was reminded of a cartography conference that I had wanted to attend. It’s held in a different location each year and, though I’d heard good things about it, I’d never managed to attend before. I’m not a cartographer, of course, but I’d heard it was particularly welcoming to those working in neighboring fields and those who are simply interested in mapmaking. Since I am working on maps, I’d hoped at some point to attend and learn everything I could.

This year was to be a particularly simple year for me to attend, as the conference is right next door (3½ hours away) in Montréal.

But then I got cancer.

And a feeding tube.

Anyway, I was mulling this over at about 4:00 a.m. (I wasn’t sleeping so well that night), and I realized that I could actually do this. By taking a room in the conference hotel, I could prep my feeding bag with a day’s worth of food and just use the elevator to get down to the conference. These being more understanding times, I’d be able to sit on an aisle and have the pump going while attending each session. Not great, but very do-able.

A couple of nights later, it occurred to me that there was a simpler answer: I could rig up the feeding bag and the pump in a backpack of sufficient height (there needs to be a certain elevation between the formula and the pump), and well, Bob’s your uncle! No pole, no aisle seat.... I set to work the next morning trying to rig such a thing up.

A backpack on a kitchen counter, opened to show a clear pouch of liquid food hanging above a battery-operated pump
My tallest back­pack, with food pouch at highest pos­sible height and pump at the low­est, with cloth for catch­ing dribbles

And it worked great. So well, that I began using it at home — which changed everything: I was suddenly almost completely mobile! I was able to start feeding at about 8:00 and finish at about 4:00, and drive myself to radiation therapy mid-day without having to stop! I ran errands, too. And it was so much quieter, that I began using it at night as well — instead of the pole — just so it would be quieter and I could sleep better. Woo-hoo!

I knew Montréal would be fine.

And now I’m here in Montréal, staying at a really nice Airbnb a fifteen-minute walk from the hotel for half the price of a hotel room, typing up this post.

And tomorrow I will go to the conference without my backpack. I’ve been able to put on so much weight over the last couple of weeks that I really don’t need to feed every day now. It’s here with me, because I’ll still feed at night. And I’ll eat real-people food (slowly, in small quantities) during the day, just like real people.

I’m incredibly happy. And grateful.

— Ð