It was a lot of information to take in, at least for me, in a short period of time. But it was worth the effort. It is food for thought that will inform how I think about sleep apnea in part, anyway, until the next World Congress in Seoul, South Korea in 2009.
I made a point of introducing myself to the president of the organizing committee and letting him know that we are interested in participating... perhaps bringing together representatives from other sleep apnea patient organizations from that part of the world to talk about working together on issues of common interest.
I got something of a confused looked, but he appreciated receiving my card and said we'll be in touch.
After the meeting was over, Dave Hargett and I had dinner with Colin Sullivan (picture on the left).What a treat! Colin supports the work of patient groups like ours and stated plainly that it is frequently patients that drive advances in the technology. We had a long talk about how the apnea patient is perceived and that there is nothing funny about snoring or manifestations of excessive daytime sleepiness. The incorrect notion that the apnea patient have brought this condition on themselves, perhaps held back beginning to tackle this serious issue sooner.
After dinner, Colin took a few minutes and gave a brief interview (about eight minutes) about what he is working on now.
Conference was a success for me on a number of levels. Professionally, it was an opportunity for me to listen, learn and discuss sleep apnea intensively and to realize I get it... to some larger extent (no, I am not ready for the test). Organizationally, the ASAA was present and visible on the world stage, copies of our newsletter with the profile of Colin was distributed to every attendee. We were mentioned in several talks. Personally, it was success in that I had the opportunity to meet and get to know a truly great human being - someone worthy any and all accolades humanity has to bestow on one of it own: Colin Sullivan.
Next - The first National Patient Sleep Conference - Bloomington, Minnesota