The Dark Side of Tradeshows

by George Petersen
in Editor's Note
George Petersen, Editor of FOH Magazine
George Petersen, Editor of FOH Magazine

...Or, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation"

Don’t get me wrong. Nobody is more addicted to tradeshows than I. After all, what is not to love about being surrounded by racks and stacks of the latest audio technology?

‡‡         The Dark Side

There is one drawback, however. I have long maintained that a certain negative aspect of the entire process involves a phrase I refer to as “shake the hands of 10,000 infected people.” A lotta handshaking equates to a whole lotta germs going round.

And even if it wasn’t for the show itself, there are always opportunities for counting up all your infection opportunities from modern air travel itself. And these are numerous, ranging from the foul-smelling guy with an unending cough crammed next to you in the back of coach seating, behind the peek-a-boo kid who looks over the seat every 10 minutes, just in time to deliver a sneeze.

We all make jokes about contracting “NAMM-thrax” or some such equivalent of post-show sniffles, but I recently had one such experience that took the entire concept way over the top.

A couple of weeks after returning from InfoComm, I went through a bout of fever and shaking chills, followed by another about a week later. I saw my doctor, who asked for a battery of tests, and then two nights later, I felt light-headed and passed out while walking in the house. Mashing my right knee in the process, I had one of those “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” moments as the wife called 911.

The next day, we went to the local ER for a chest x-ray (it had been ordered by my regular MD), yet the reception was less than routine. I was slammed on a gurney and given some kind of IV “cocktail” on the way to a long list of tests (electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, MRI, spinal tap, CAT-scan, x-rays and blood draws of every type).

This was followed by a long list of questions (some very odd), mostly centered around whether I had recently traveled or been out of the country. All seemed routine until I mentioned “Orlando,” and the staff were greatly calmed that most of our time was spent inside an expo hall. Some eight hours of tests later, I was issued a set of bedpans and a room for the night.

‡‡         My Summer “Vacation”

Eventually, the answer came forth. I had sepsis. Although the name itself sounds like something off an antacid bottle, sepsis is a potentially fatal condition (30 percent to as high as 80 percent if untreated). Essentially, sepsis manifests itself as an infection that targets certain organs — typically the heart and pulmonary systems — a couple of bodily gear items everybody needs. This is definitely serious, but it can be treated, and my med team unveiled the prognosis, which included some 24 days of intravenous antibiotics, which meant spending that time 24/7 in a medical facility.

After being admitted into the hospital, the first person I heard from was FRONT of HOUSE publisher Terry Lowe, who assured me not to worry about anything and he was 100 percent behind me on this. Next kicked in the rest of the entire Timeless Communications team, where managing editor Frank Hammel, senior writer Kevin M. Mitchell and our regular contributors all stepped up their efforts to make sure this issue of FOH would ship on time.

As for me, I hopefully should be back in the saddle this week, maybe a little slow at first, so don’t everyone call me the first day. In the meantime, we’ve got a great issue for you this month, and we are proud to present it to you.

Stay healthy!

The publisher and staff of FRONT of HOUSE magazine would like to express our gratitude to the first-responders, doctors, nurses, other care givers and, above all, George’s wife, Merida, for helping George back on the road to health after this serious medical episode. We also wish George a complete and speedy recovery.