You might have seen me tweet these last weekend:
Regretting having to miss the Insider Dev Tour due to emergency health issues. Adding insult to injury, I'm literally just 10 minutes away from the venue.
— Daniel Tan (@NOVALISTIC) June 23, 2018
(I'm not actually injured. Some other affliction.)
— Daniel Tan (@NOVALISTIC) June 23, 2018
After Georgie assured me that people in the tech scene have been more open about health over the past couple of years and that it was normal to tweet this sort of stuff even in a professional capacity, I decided I’d go ahead and blog about this. So, as a word of caution, this is primarily a health-related entry, the first of its kind (at least since I first announced Emergency Chat for Windows), and I suspect it won’t be the last.
When Microsoft announced the Insider Dev Tour (seemingly the new name for the Microsoft Build Tour) last month, and Singapore was listed as one of the locations, I was stoked. Some of the topics covered during the talks included modernizing classic desktop apps for Windows 10, UWP development, PWAs, machine learning and mixed reality; the first three of these were of particular interest to me, and so I really wanted to go. Plus, Kenneth Ham, my college senior and now fellow Microsoft MVP, was speaking!
However, it was an all-day event that began at 9 am and ended at 5 pm, and Microsoft Singapore is a little over an hour away from home, which meant I had to be out of the house by 7:30. These are typical hours for most full-time working adults, but I have a number of health issues that make getting a nine-to-five basically not an option for me. In fact, I had given January’s Microsoft Tech Summit a miss for the exact same reason.
One of these health issues actually began manifesting relatively recently — early last year. Long story short, no matter how well I eat and sleep the night before, if I leave or even just have an intention of leaving the house before 11 am and too soon after waking up, I run a very high risk of experiencing (stress-induced) stomach cramps, nausea, and generalized weakness. These have usually ended in me abandoning my journey or, if I was already where I was supposed to be, being rushed home by a friend or family member.
Things had been improving recently, though, so I figured I’d give the Insider Dev Tour a shot, and pulled the trigger and registered for the event on the 1st of this month.
One of the things I had done differently was waking up at least an hour and a half before stepping out. So, on the day of the event, I woke up at 6 am and headed out at 7:30, which was fine and dandy. But the moment I got off the train at 8:15, I was suddenly overcome with generalized weakness, I collapsed onto the floor unable to stand or walk, and as the station was very empty it took like 5 minutes of me writhing on the floor before a passer-by got a station employee to help.
I spent about an hour under the care of the station personnel. During this time, I had made several attempts to contact Microsoft Singapore to inform someone about my situation, to no avail.1 Unfortunately, I was still weak all over after an hour and as much as I wanted to I simply wasn’t going to make the 10-minute walk to Microsoft, despite having been early for the thing (can anyone identify with how maddening this is?!). I relented and finally allowed the employees to call an ambulance and, for the first time, I was taken to hospital for these symptoms. So close, yet so far.
Don’t worry, I was only in the A&E for a little over 2 hours before feeling well enough to stand and walk again, and I was discharged. That said, a follow-up appointment has been scheduled to get some more tests done, so I’ll be looking forward to that.
But I am really bummed that I didn’t get to go to the Insider Dev Tour, listen to Windows development and PWA talks, and catch up with my senior Kenneth. And, just to give you an idea of how accountable I felt for not at least reaching the venue, on my way home from the hospital I was seriously tempted to get off the train again when it stopped at the same station just to sprint there (not literally) and see if I could get myself checked in. For the sake of my health, though, I let it go.
If anyone involved with organizing the Insider Dev Tour in Singapore is reading this, I apologize for not having been able to notify you about my no-show on Saturday, and I deeply regret taking up a seat that could very well have been given to someone else. But I hope you’ll understand from reading this that I did not squat the seat, I did make every effort to attempt to notify someone when I realized I would be going to the hospital and not Microsoft after all, and I’m tremendously grateful to have had the opportunity to attend such an exciting conference in the first place and hope to make it the next time around.
The good news is that Microsoft has now set up hands-on labs for the content that was presented. So all is not lost! I also finally got an email notification this morning noting my absence from the event, so I was more than happy to finally fulfill my sense of responsibility by responding to a survey.
- In retrospect, I wonder if I should have tried emailing the address listed in the messages I’d received leading up to the event. Emails aren’t known for their real-time communication capabilities though. ↩