After a slow day, our hero gets into a fast day to compensate. Briefly being the locus of attention he ends up in an unexpected part of American society.

The next morning it turned out that a good night of sleep didn't really fix all problems. On the one hand I did feel a bit better, but on the other hand I still had some stomach ache. But no time for that, because I had my free tutorial. "Contextual Design". The topic looked pretty interesting, and I was curious to see what the tutorial would be about. This curiousness didn't really manifest itself in the time I got up, which was a bit late. I really had to hurry to the conference center, and got there just in time. There were only a few seats left up front.

The tutorial started of a bit disorganized, in a sense that there were more people than the organizers had anticipated. They seemed to work around the problems quite well, though. After things got somewhat organized we got on our way. The tutorial was pretty interactive. The instructors would explain some of the material, after which we would practice it immediately in groups of two people. At the first break I felt a bit better, and even chatted with some people.

Then, sometime during the next part of the tutorial, I made a bit an attraction of myself by fainting. I felt it coming, of course. If you have ever fainted yourself you'll know what I mean. The hairs at your neck raise up, much like a cat in defense. Cold sweat. You start to feel heavy in your head, like a hypnotist wants you to feel when he swings the pendulum. You know what will happen, but there just isn't much you can do about it. Focus!


"Ok, he is coming around now". "Are you feeling OK?". I felt fine, actually. It must have been less than a minute before I came by again. Two fire marshals who happened to be around were hunched over me, checked the most vital signs of life. After that, some of the conference organizers showed up, taking care of things, and suggestion an early lunch to the people in the tutorial. After that the 911 ambulance paramedics showed up, and they were quite quick with their diagnosis: dehydration. Before I even got on a stretcher I already got an IV with a liter of fluid in it in my arm.

So, just like during my skiing trip in France I got to sample the local ambulance and hospital service. In the ambulance I felt much better already, and even chatted a bit with the paramedic. With an apologetic tone in his voice he told me that he was bringing me to a General Hospital, but "this one is actually good". Oh, and in case you are thinking about taking such a ride yourself: it will set you back $383.50.

The conference people took care to send a Student Volunteer along with the ambulance, to see how things would turn out, and to keep me company. By coincidence it was somebody I even knew already, Dan. The same Dan with whom I went searching for the copy shop just two days earlier.

Denver General Hospital turned out to be fine. I was put in a small room with a view on the emergency area, so at least I had some distraction. Mostly we had to wait for the IV bag to drain, and when that happened they just attached a second. The hospital people also did some examinations, but I won't get into the details of those. :-)

I got dismissed from the hospital later that afternoon, and I felt fine when I got out. I did have a craving for water all the time, though. Dan and I took a cab back to the conference center. At the conference center I had many people to talk to, to thank for their help, and to reassure that I really was OK again. All the while drinking water, of course. That night Steven, the SV Chair, also mentioned this to the other SV's, who started to drink a lot of water also.

At the end of the day I went back to the hospital with Rob to pick up some medication. When we got back to the conference center we ran into some other Student Volunteers, and we decided to go out and eat. I had missed my lunch, so I was pretty hungry as well, and I went along. This time we went to the Wynkoop. This is Denver's oldest Brew Pub. It's located in a renovated 1880 warehouse, which gives makes this an interesting place to stay at. Obviously the Wynkoop has some good beers, but I was a smart guy for a change, and I passed on them. (I did taste them, though. Good!) We wanted to play some pool before eating, but unfortunately all tables were occupied, so we settled for dinner only, which was good as well.

Part Six