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Adventures in Sleep

Health Fairs: A Love-Hate Relationship

Published April 6, 2011 9:16 AM by Penny Mehaffey

Ah, the paradox of health fairs.

I love them because of all the interaction that goes on. It's an opportunity to see my colleagues and what their companies are offering, as well as a great way for me to objectively size up my competition and to grade myself. 

There is a seemingly endless stream of people stopping by to talk about their own experiences with sleep problems and CPAP. Everyone has a story and is genuinely interested in what I have to offer. It really makes me feel like what I do matters and does make a difference. Then there is the all the free testing that goes on. I had a total lipid panel drawn ($300) and am waiting for my results. Talk about value!  And let's not forget all the other freebies, coffee mugs, pens, bags, clips, stress busters, etc.  What's not to love?

I hate them because, OMG, they are soooo much work.  It takes me a full day to prepare for a health fair. I have to tailor my information to the targeted audience so that I have the appropriate info but don't end up carrying the whole sleep center with me. (Trust me, I always feel like I carried the whole sleep center.) 

And there is the standard stuff that goes every time, such as my big display boards and posters -- you know, the attention getters. You don't realize how time-consuming the preparation is until you've done it once or twice. I thought I would save myself some time and effort by leaving my boxes always packed but that has not really worked out as I'd hoped. The supply is depleted pretty well with each event so inventory and restocking are required each time. Plus, have you ever tried to haul around all those perpetually stocked boxes?  Unless you've got Mr. Universe to help, I don't advise it. 

Ok, so once packed I still have to get it all to the event location. Trust me when I say  I have to get it to the location. While some organizations have teams of movers equipped with vans and dollies to do the work, that's mot so with my show. I am a one-man band as far as the moving and shaking goes. Everything that travels with me fills up the entire back of my SUV and sometimes spills over to the backseat ... all dragged from the building to my car and loaded by -- you guessed it -- me. 

Am I whining yet?  Is it loud enough? I do have to give a shout out to my friends and volunteers, Beverly and Keneshia.  They have been kind enough to come keep me company and split the longer days with me.  Thanks girls! It wouldn't be the same without you.

So love 'em, hate 'em? Yep, but that's how it is. At the end of the day I am always happy to have participated and have usually benefitted personally someway. I highly recommend it.

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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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