Georgia on My Mind
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Nov 01, 2010
A year ago at this time, I was using a nebulizer to battle the mother of all bronchitis attacks. The coughing and fever — not to mention that I also infected my physician and shut down his practice for a week — made me a virtual shut-in for months and prevented me from going to Medtrade for the first time since Mobility Management launched.
In 2008, the last time I was in Atlanta, I tried out Bruno’s accessible vehicle seat. I can’t wait to see what’s new!
In the past, my Medtrade preparation seemed to focus on getting our Medtrade issue (the one you’re holding now) to press, and contemplating which shoes might be friendliest to my feet. While being home-bound during last year’s big dance actually gave me some time to feel nostalgic for the Georgia World Congress Center, I also realized that many complex rehab exhibitors, suppliers and clinicians wouldn’t be there, either.
Undeniably, Medtrade and the complex rehab industry have been at a crossroads the last few years. A number of complex rehab technology exhibitors did what was unimaginable in MM’s early years: They pulled out of the show. As a result, the number of complex rehab educational sessions dwindled, and the once overwhelming exhibit hall shrank noticeably. As recently as 2008 — the last time I attended Medtrade — I clearly recall my feet nearly not hurting at show’s end.
Since then, the Medtrade folks have some made changes. And while perhaps they and complex rehab exhibitors are still at a crossroads of sorts, I have to admit: I am excited about going back to Medtrade. Here’s why:
- Rehab is back. Not yet at the same rate as before, and perhaps in more conservatively sized booths. But significant numbers are back in the exhibit hall and once again presenting classes. There’s no better remedy for sore feet than sitting in a terrific clinical or funding session. The NRRTS Rehab Pavilion, with its improved location right at the front of the hall, is of course on my must-see list.
- The NextGen home sounds cool. The participants are excited, and accessibility exhibitors deserve this kind of high-profile showcase, built right in the exhibit hall.
- Consumers are coming. The effort to draw consumers to the exhibit hall on the final day of the show was in its infancy last year. This year, the Medtrade folks have had a lot more time to spread the word. So much of this industry’s advocacy depends on convincing consumers and caregivers that we should all be on the same side. I can’t wait to see who comes to visit this time around.
- New technology for a new year. For reasons I’ve never fully understood, spring is complex rehab’s biggest season. So many shows — from the International Seating Symposium to the national provider meetings to RESNA and even to ancillary events, such as NMEDA’s — happen in the first half of the year (and many in the first three to four months of the year). That means a long, long time between get-togethers, and a long, long time between product demonstrations. The editor part of me needs more frequent face-to-face time with the new technology. The rest of me craves more face-to-face time with the people behind the technology, too. Medtrade’s fall timing seems the perfect answer.
- The Georgia World Congress Center’s chocolate bread pudding. You know, since I’m being honest here.
Anyway, I hope to see you there; I won’t even care much if my feet hurt this time. And if Georgia is on your mind as it is on mine, get into the Medtrade mood by using our pre-event story on page 16. Safe travels!
This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.