A brief summary of the 2010 GUCH Conference
At the weekend, 125 adults and teenagers gathered in Manchester for the Grown Up Congenital Heart [GUCH - many of us are not keen on the name!] Patients’ Association National Conference. I’d never been to Manchester before, and I think I took too many photographs of buildings, but never mind. This year was the first time that the Brighthearts group for young(er) adults with CHDs and it was great to see so many young people there to give a new dynamic to the weekend. I’m afraid that my most abiding memories of the weekend are about food – what a surprise! It was quite ironic that we had talks about being healthy and exercising, followed by a rather unhealthy, but very tasty, lunch!
As well as finding out about eating healthily and the benefits of exercise we also learned about percutaneous valve replacement (replacing a valve via a catheter in an artery instead of having to go through the chest). This procedure has been carried out successfully for a number of years and is a lot less stressful for the patient and involves a much shorter hospital stay than a ‘normal’ valve replacement. Good news for people (like me) who are going to need a replacement valve in the future.
After the aforementioned rather unhealthy but tasty lunch, Beth Greenaway talked about how people with congenital heart defects can exercise safely. I must admit that I’m rather lazy. I do go through stages of doing things like trying to take the stairs instead of the lift at work, but then it all feels like too much…well, hard work, so I go back to being lazy again. What was good about Beth’s talk was that she told us ways in which we can incorporate exercise into our daily lives and also that the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week, doesn’t have to be 30 minutes continous exercise, which makes it seem much more achievable.
Some people went to the session about scar camoflage later in the afternoon, but Mr C and I went for a walk to see the Central Library in Manchester. It’s round! Unfortunately, it’s closed for rennovation at the moment, but it is an impressive building, even just from the outside.
In the evening we ate the GUCH Annual Dinner , which was very nice, and talked…some people more than others. I’m afraid I was quite sleepy so I went to bed and left Mr C to talk to people. Apparently I missed some rather rude conversation, so perhaps it’s just as well!
It was good to see old (in the nicest possible way!) faces and meet some new people. Looking forward to next year’s conference already.