Chronic Illness and Conventions, Part Three: Location, Location, Location

Conventions of all genres (fandom-based or otherwise) are usually held in one of two types of locations: hotels or convention centers. Just like with everything, exceptions exist (I have attended cons on college campuses and heard of others being held on state fairgrounds!), but you will generally encounter them in one of those two locales.

As with the content of Parts 1 (here) and 2 (here), the advice in these posts can be applied to any environment where there will be crowds, or when you are on vacation, or simply away from home for the day.

Let’s start with the more common of the pair: hotels. Most large hotel chains will have convention or conference space with a multitude of purposes, with cons only being one of them. This is a great source of income for hotels, since conferences, weddings, et cetera often come with people who will want the convenience of staying on site. This all accounts to something called attrition that can be a regular thorn in the side of someone renting the space…but that is a whole different topic for a whole different type of blog!

I honestly prefer hotel-based conventions, especially if I am staying in the hosting venue. If I have an attack, I can take a break in my room away from the hustle and bustle of the con (in the case of Omni, where I am usually working, I have a few people who can cover me for a short spell in the event that my attack gets so bad I have to lie down). If I am not staying in the venue, I can usually find a relatively calm corner out of the way to recover.

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The Vendors Room at Omni [Fandom] Expo in 2015, taken early in the day on Saturday. Small cons are great if you prefer to avoid large crowds.

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Product Review: FoMI Hot/Cold Gel Therapy Eye Mask

In a recent Amazon order, I acquired a handful of holistic relief methods for migraines. I have already posted the first review from that order (Review for Aculief found here!), and here is the next!

The second item I would like to talk about is FoMI’s Hot/Cold Gel Therapy Eye Mask. This is a mask that is designed to reduce dark circles and puffiness around the eyes, and is a good size to be used for muscle aches around the body (like the shoulder). It is reversible, vinyl on one side and incredibly soft fabric on the other. It can be used at room temperature (where it still feels cool), heated in the microwave (the company recommend taking care with this and not heating it for more than 15 seconds at a time and do not put it on your eyes if it is too hot), or frozen. The gel bead filling remains soft and flexible, even after I left it in the freezer overnight.

It comes in three color options: Blue, Stripes, and Leopard (the last of which uses clay and aromatherapy), and all have coordinating elastic straps with Velcro closures.

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I got mine with stripes.

When I woke up this morning with a headache, I went ahead and put mine on and see what happens. The texture reminds me of the TheraยบPearl products, I put it soft-side to my eyes, fastened the straps, and lied down. At first, I thought that it may be too cold, it was almost uncomfortable. However, any ice pack is like that, so I made like Elsa and let it go.

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After a few minutes, I was notably relaxed, and I dozed off. It is very comfortable, even though the straps took a little finessing to get just right, but that is how things are when they are adjustable.

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When I woke up, my headache was just about gone! What I really like about this is that it blocks all light! It’s like a an instant dark/cold room! It was really great! Even after it was no longer frozen-level cold, it was still relaxing, so I just left it on for a while.

It is currently back in my freezer for my next headache or migraine!

Amazon sells this for $9.99, and like the rest of my relief-box order, qualified for free shipping. Definitely a good deal!


Click the above image to get your own!

I give the FoMI Gel Eye Mask ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ//๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ I really can’t think of anything about it that I don’t like, honestly. I definitely recommend this to anyone who suffers from Chronic Migraine, or any sort of headache condition. It’s a fantastic addition to your recovery regime.

๐Ÿ’–Hearts and Sparkles!๐Ÿ’–
~Bunny~

Chronic Illness and Conventions, Part Two: Have a Plan for the Unexpected

Yay, part two of the Chronic Illness and Conventions series! Remember, this is not only relevant to conventions, and can be applied to any situation when you are not at home and among strangers. Theme parks, concerts, whatever!

Here is the link for part one, in case you missed it.

Part two is all about Planning. Planning for the unexpected, having a plan for anything related to your chronic illness. Here are some examples:

  • A person with diabetes will have insulin/glucose tabs/snacks on hand.
  • Someone with a chronic pain illness (fibromyalgia, lupus…) will have a walker or cane if their pain can reach that point. Maybe they will have pain medications within easy access.
  • Asthmatics keep a rescue inhaler nearby.
  • Someone with extreme allergies will have an epi-pen on them.

Now, I know what you are thinking, Duh, Silly Rabbit! Of course they will have their supplies with them! I know that. The point of this post is not “don’t be irresponsible,” it’s “have a plan.”

The reason that I am having a full post in this series about having a plan and dealing with the unexpected is because it is seriously important. Now, in my experience with working with conventions in both hotels and convention center venues, there will always be resources available. Security teams from the event and the venue, as well as local police, and medical personnel is required by many (not all) venues during large events (like the popular dances at conventions). They are there to help you if you see something (like possible shoplifting or harassment), need something (like you locked your keys in your car or lost something), or in case of an emergency. These resources vary by event and by venue, so if you have any concerns, feel free to email the event staff in advance, and they can tell you which will be at their event.

Now, I cannot stress enough that while they are there to help you and keep everyone at the event safe, they have to keep everyone at the event safe. This could be thousands of people. They are not there to focus on any one individual. That could prove unsafe for the other patrons present. Now, don’t get me wrong, if there is an emergency, that emergent case is paramount and will be the main focus. However, if I have a migraine, I don’t expect them to bend over backwards and allow me to camp out wherever I please until I recover.

That is my responsibility.

This, of course, does not apply to anything that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you have any concerns about service animals, wheelchair accessible areas, etc, feel free to contact the event staff! They will be more than happy to comply! With this in mind, if you have some sort of necessary accommodations that fall under ADA guidelines, contact the event staff and ask about such specific accommodations in detail. The people who run conventions and other such events are not psychic and cannot predict every individual need for every possible disability that may or may not be present at their event. For example, if you suffer from Epilepsy or seizure disorders, you may want to ask about what lighting is used in the dances, and if they have a policy about strobes. As someone with Chronic Migraine, I struggle with strobe lights, but when I am managing the Main Events room at Omni, part of the schedule includes a rave-style dance. Typically, strobes are a staple. Since this is usually the last event of the night, I can get away with slipping away not long after it starts (a perk of having one of the co-owners of Omni be the DJ and Tech Chief!). I don’t expect him to not use strobes in my presence, or to make the music softer while I am there. I make myself scarce and go to bed.

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Friends dance together during a rave at Omni [Fandom] Expo in 2015. I have seen several occurrences over the years of friends looking out for each other over the course of a con weekend.


โ„๏ธNote: Omni is a unique event. DJ Shadowfax hosts a signature event called The Blackout Rave where strobes are a common accent. Since he has many friends who have seizure disorders and since I have Chronic Migraine and photophobia, he starts the event with a “strobe-free” period. This is a special case, and should not be expected at every event! This is his choice!

Just remember that it is your responsibility to know what is in store at an event!

Now, back to the planning! You should be prepared in case of practically any circumstance.

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Chronic Illness and Conventions, Part One: Understanding Your Illness

In my “About Me” post, I briefly mention that I am a cosplayer. I also work at one of my local conventions, Omni Fandom Expo, as their Main Events (or Ballroom) Manager. Basically, I have the job of making sure that anything that happens in Main Events happens when it is supposed to happen as smoothly as possible. I have to think on my feet, and make sure that if it looks like something is going to run late, how can I stop it from starting a chain reaction and delaying the rest of the convention.

It’s a ruddy pain in the fluffy bunny tail, but I love it.

One of the associates at Omni told me that I should write a series of posts directed to people who go to conventions, or want to go to conventions, who struggle with a chronic illness. (โ„๏ธSide note: If you are not a convention fan, but you frequent places like Theme Parks, you can definitely apply these posts to that!โ„๏ธ) So, here is part one!

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Building a Migraine Kit

I’ve seen many Pinterestย pins about building a travel migraine kit. (See examples here and here) These are really great examples, and I wanted to share my version that I recently put together, since I am expecting an Amazon order to arrive at some point tomorrow with more gadgets and gizmos to add to it! I have no intention of keeping one in my car, since I live in Florida and the interior temperatures can quickly exceed max temperatures for most medications and such. However, my box is small (about 12x8x2″ or so), so it will travel well!

Here is what I’ve got so far:

I didn’t include a bottled water because the box is too small and I always have a thermos of water at hand. I carry simpler pain medications in my ever-present purse, as well as my sunglasses and migraine glasses, so I have no need to keep them in this kit (Update: I purchased a small pill box and keep ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin in my kit, now. My Psi Bands, Aculief, and MigraineX earplugs are in there, too. I also had to get a larger bin as a result, but it is still short and easy to store.). Eventually, I will restock my supply of Be Koool patches, and they will live here, too.

Do any of you have a migraine tool kit? What do you like to keep in it?

๐Ÿ’–Hearts and Sparkles!๐Ÿ’–
~Bunny~