Claire Thompson, freelance PR consultant, January 2012
So, hot on the heels of my year’s first blog, this is 2012 blog two.
In all honesty it should have been written last year, but firstly I needed to think carefully before I wrote it – it’s touched a nerve or two. And secondly, but not unrelated, I took some time off over the Christmas period to be with my family.
You see, towards the end of last year I noticed I was choking more than usual. Things came to a crunch at a client event, a wine tasting in Oxford, when I took a sip of wine and found myself attracting attention for the ensuing choking, only just managing to hold down the delicious tapas I’d just eaten.
I was convinced it wasn’t throat cancer, having seen a close friend go through that illness, and how quickly it takes hold and worsens. Whatever was wrong had been coming on over the course of months, maybe longer. But the doctor took it seriously and booked me for some tests.
It’s funny how, faced with the possibility of something that big you get a degree of clarity about what’s important in your life (and as a friend is going through something major right now, life felt a little gloomy). Funnily enough I had a lot of people I wanted to say sorry to and wanted to go back and explain some things. (I didn’t, but still might!)
But partly because of the spectre of being ill, partly because visiting doctors and hospitals ate into my work time, I had to decide where I wanted to spend time.
So immediately after December’s TVSMC (Thames Valley Social Media Café), I headed off for a barium meal at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
It had been odd looking at the people at TVSMC and thinking “If I was seriously ill and couldn’t come back, what would I miss?” And the answer was clear: wonderful, clever, sharing people who I aspire to be like, and whose greater qualities I hope will rub off, from the uber organised Caalie (who juggles managing two great little startups and four great little (and not so little) offspring, and still manages a social life and sanity) to the uber clever Dan Benton, whose enthusiasm makes the interplay between the physical and virtual worlds fun (from flinging wet sponges at a target – in this case me, for Twestival – when someone tweets to delivering biscuits around the office in a tweeting train), and all the people in between that I’m not going to mention in case I forget someone, from academics to politicians! (Please don’t be cross with me for mentioning/not mentioning you here, guys, if you’re reading this.)