Sunday, August 3, 2014

IDAA - Palm Dessert - August 2014

IDAA stands for International Doctors in Alcoholics Anonymous.  The group is dedicated to recovery and spirituality.  The CME is addiction medicine.
Since Ray encouraged me to go to my first IDAA in Toronto circa 1998 I’ve kept coming back. I met Hank Olivier there and he recommended I sign up for the next year’s conference saying, “you can always cancel.”  So I’m signed up now for next year’s IDAA conference in Norfolk Virginia.
The pompous and silly bean counters think doctors learn in classrooms but I ‘ve learned more psychiatry and addiction medicine  in hallways and the coffee rooms here than I ever have learned in the more rigid squeaky settings. Even today I learned over breakfast the new prevention for shingles recommended for people over 50. Sitting at dinner with a dermatologist I discussed the treatment of the skin trauma caused by picking by crystal meth and crack addicts.  I’m carrying home Fernandez and Libby’s textbook, “heroin : it’s history, pharmacology and treatment.
But most importantly I’ve sat and talked with docs I communicate throughout the year with by email, sharing our questions, concerns, trials and tribulations.  What was funny is an email buddy turned out to be young and black who I’d thought was old and white. I’d thought a woman a man.  This internet medical community goes beyond race, age and gender. We’re simply mutually supportive.  Each year I attach faces and names and stories.
As psychiatrists we gather to discuss the counter transference issues at the core of therapy.  I’d been promised this in residency and known it some those first years but all too soon everyone wore masks till today it’s only here that really transference and counter transference are the main subject of discussion.  Hearing Nathan talk of primary process was music to my ears.  It was enlightening to hear Catherine share about the British problems of resource allocation so similar to ours.  Discussing pay scales with American doctors there wasn’t much difference at the gross level but the incomes were different by tax and overhead.  All the young doctors carried debts.
There’s a science fiction book in which the overpopulation of the world is resolved by everyone going into cryo sleep except for one day of the week. I think the book was called Tuesday World.  Each year I return to IDAA I feel like I’m waking up in my August world.  Whatever dreams or nightmares I’ve had throughout the year, IDAA is a place of awakening and renewal.
I’ve learned of a new resource, “Likemindeddoctors”.   I plan to follow up on it. Steven from Australia wasn’t there but his Australian compatriot was equally funny and entertaining. I so wish to go to the Australian Doctors meeting in March.  Everyone sang it’s praises the beach and the hotel, the tour of Sidney, the wildlife. This year the British Doctors are meeting in Edinburgh Oct. I’ve a moose draw so unless I shoot a moose before then I can’t go. But how much I’d love to get together with the British doctors who come each year to IDAA.  Jerry Moes program for kids and teens certainly frees the parents life.  All ages come.  The younger doctors are so much more competitive in the yearly runs and golf tournaments.  I loved that an older woman took a golfing trophy this year.  What would a doctors meeting be without golf.
The banquets are the thing.  Doctors clean up nicely as do their wives and all the single women who were especially eye catching. The gay men and women were perhaps better dressed. Personally I wore a school tie with a Harley Davidson shirt and Tiffany travel jacket.  The talks of Dr. Vaillant, Dr. Burns and Dr. O’Connor were all enthralling but the Al Anon luncheon was really the most inspirational.  The stories of family, softly told with such insight depth and love.
Art and Tom and Carole and Bobby, Dick, Cheryl, Hank, Beth, Gordi, Dick, Marvin,  Graham and Linda, David,  Nathan, Julie, so manny manny more, made my meeting so so very special.  I loved that red dots like Adam were no longer red dots but talking of their blossoming careers, the achievements and challenges.  IDAA is a centre of hope and promise for so many. A place of miracles.  For me a place of love and friendship.  Our executive is stepping down and I don’t know how their shoes can be filled but they took over years back from another couple of giants and some how this glorious organization carried on.  It’s amazing what institutions can do in the hands of caring humans.
The highest density of long term recovery, evidence based and growing.  Amazing.   The best evidence based CME.  The best dressed banquet attending men and women. The craziest kids and really smart teens.  The Marriott Palm Dessert was again a perfect site.  I loved when last the IDAA was here.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that hotel is my favourite
someone said they changed it

isn't amazing how good people make thing happen