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Navigating November with Hannah Barham-Brown

2nd December, 2019

It’s been a relatively quiet month for Merida and I – by my standards, anyway! Thanks to the combined joys of trying to buy a house (yay!), and doing my six monthly clinical appraisal (boo!), it has been mainly comprised of hours on the laptop, stressed out phone calls and forming furniture wishlists (why yes, I do need multiple armchairs in different colours).

I’ve still managed to squeeze a fair bit of travel in though, and Merida has been particularly useful for shopping trips – with me on my WHILL and my mum in her manual chair, we’ve been forming wheely conga lines around various stores; when we can’t see each other over displays, it can be very easy to get lost! I’ve spoken at three conferences in three different cities, about gender bias in medicine in London, being a disabled doctor in Preston, and ‘reasonable adjustments’ (that dreaded phrase!) in Newcastle – I’m nothing if not versatile!

Most excitingly of all though, I was able to attend my parents’ joint graduation ceremony; yes, my wonderful, mad parents graduated from their MA in Public History at the University of Derby, which they have completed together. My brother and I burst with pride to see Mum roll across the stage, followed by Dad, in their gowns and mortar boards. Because it’s so rare to have a husband and wife graduate together, particularly in their 50s, I had the bizarre experience of watching them become veritable celebrities for the week; they appeared live on BBC Radio Derby twice, and in the Derby Telegraph. I tried to give them tips, but unsurprisingly, they weren’t having any of it! There are few feelings as bizarre as sitting in one’s office, with my colleagues, listening to my dad bemoan the fact that my mum hadn’t let him attend the Fresher’s Week Foam Party. Quite what the teetotal Vicar would have done at said party doesn’t bear thinking about!

One exciting announcement before I roll into a busy December: I’ve just been announced as one of the speakers at Naidex 2020, thanks to the wonderful folk at TGA Mobility, who were kind enough to put me forward. I’ll be talking about how disabled people can develop skills in self-advocacy, in education, employment and healthcare. Naidex is a fantastic event that I always discover so many exciting new products at, and a key date in the disability diary, so come and join me, and book your free ticket today here.