When I launched www.columbiadownsyndromesupport.com a couple of weeks ago, I asked everyone I knew to link to it and visit it. My mother is a state rep, and she has a distribution list of mammoth proportions, so she bcc’d the entire universe. Or at least, the entire 22nd District. J
I received an email from Bill Peterson, who is one of the radio personalities in Moberly at KWIX radio. He invited me to come on “The Doctor’s Office” program on Sept. 2nd.
I have been performing in public for years, but this was a new experience, and I was quite nervous. Christian impressed upon me the importance of having “talking points” and “staying on message.” Even in a friendly interview, as this one was, you can screw up and say stupid things that will come back to haunt you. He knows this because talking to the media is what he does day in and day out.
So, by the time my “media training” was done, I was quaking in my shoes. Once I got going I was confident that I would be fine—after all, I can talk about Down syndrome till I’m blue in the face. But …
Okay, had to take a break there to deal with kid issues. Now that Julianna’s finished eating whatever scraps she could find on the kitchen floor…
The experience of being on the radio was very interesting. Bill gave me a set of ordinary-looking headphones with a mic attached. I couldn’t hear anything going on in the room while they were on my ears. I could, however, hear the radio—mostly through the left, for some reason, which gave the whole experience a surreal, off-balance effect. The mic was so close to my mouth that if I pursed my lips, they touched the foam mic cover. I pulled the phones out from my ears to say, “Bill, is this too close—?” but before I could finish, I heard his voice in the phones say, “Good morning and welcome to ‘The Doctor’s Office’!” Hastily I dropped them back on my ears, but through the whole interview I felt sure that I was going to pop “p”’s and that my every breath would fly out across the airwaves sounding like Darth Vader.
Bill tried hard to get people to call in, but I wasn’t surprised by a small response. DS is kind of a niche interest. We got four calls—the first two wanted “trading post,” which comes on right after “Doctor’s Office.” The third wanted to ask me if I treat my normal child different from my Downs child. Ah, there’s a question for another post entirely. The last one was a quite elderly woman who wanted to share that she had seen on Donahue several years ago that children with DS are very musical, and to encourage me to expose her to as much music as possible. Extensive exposure to music, of course, is inevitable in our house, but it was nice that she took the time to call.
Overall, I felt it went well, and now that I’m initiated, I won’t feel quite so nervous about trying again, perhaps here in Columbia. We picked up one new member to the site, and hopefully people heard the interview and will pass the word to others directly affected.
Today’s DS news is that—gasp—we’re finally going to the audiologist & ENT! That stupid clinic has rearranged our appointments three times since we first called in mid-JUNE (yes, that was three months ago), I was on the verge of going to St. Louis. We asked our neighbor, who has influence in the hospital, to intervene, and he got them to work us in today. The customer service in that audiology clinic is abysmal. If we’d had 1/10 this much trouble at a restaurant, we’d get our meal for free, and probably several meals’ worth of gift cards to boot. But of course, because it’s the medical field, they’ll keep us waiting, reschedule us without regard for the reality of a child who needs a nap, and get paid their full fee for making our lives miserable for three months. It’s enough to make a person jump on the health care reform bandwagon.