This is always a consideration when I do day-long events. I've even had to pass up speaking opportunities because the travel or program schedule won't allow for my rest. (If I'm going to give a speech about successfully managing life with lupus, I can't very well toss my own health aside to do it, now, can I?!??)
In the past, I've rented airbeds, slept in locker rooms, and rejiggered travel plans to get an extra night at a hotel, all in an effort to fit in my nap while traveling. When desperate, I've even stolen away to the parking garage to grab a few winks in my car...but that's never ideal, and usually my last resort.
But when I was asked to do this D.C. event, I agreed, knowing that since it was close enough, I'd be able to figure out something. But how should I go about it? Should my husband come in town to relieve me? Would I go all the way home, sleep, and come back? How long would we need a babysitter to watch the kids while we were both busy? Would I even have time to fit it all in? And would I be stressed managing the logistics of it all?
As the complications mounted, I decided to get bold. I asked my LFA contact if she would ask the GW's event coordinator if there might be a quiet spot on site where I could rest prior to my panel discussion. I had two things working in my favor: 1) the event was at a university, which caters to young college kids who don't get enough sleep at night and need places to lounge or crash during the day, and 2) the event was a lupus event put on by the LFA - a group dedicated to understanding and supporting patients of the disease. They had to be willing to at least ask the question!
And ask, they did! My contact responded with a lengthy email, detailing several options that she and the GW coordinator had come up with for my nap. I couldn't believe it - not only did I have a spot in which to sleep, I had options!
Once I arrived the morning of the event - I scoped out the rooms/areas they'd suggested, and decided on the room below. It was an actual room, with a light, and a door, and, drumroll, please...a reclining chair and ottoman! Was this room made for a lupus patient's mid day nap, or what? (It's actually designed for nursing mothers, but I called it home for a couple of hours.)
I took pictures because I couldn't believe how perfect it was.
I will never, and I mean never, hesitate to ask for a napping accommodation again. I don't expect to hit the jackpot like this every time, but at least I can try. A big thanks to Amy at the LFA DMV for being so accommodating, and for not shying away from the inquiry. Maybe the GW coordinator learned a thing or two about lupus in the process!
(FYI - I did have to vacate my room after about an hour and 20 min because a nursing mother knocked on the door...but it was still fabulous. In fact, it gave me another 30+ min to check out one of the OTHER options that had been suggested. Quite the thorough day of napping...)