For those who don’t know, my day job is a Senior Research Engineer at a company that makes orthopaedic implants (i.e. hip and knee replacements, etc.). Most of what I do is material science, with a heavy focus on plastics (the part that replaces the cartilage in joint replacements). In the past couple of years, I’ve started doing more and more sales support. This means that I have the opportunity to talk to surgeons about our latest technologies and explain the science behind it, which is pretty fun!
Each year, there is a large convention called the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS, for short). This year, the meeting was held in New Orleans. My company, like many others has a booth at AAOS to showcase our latest products. For the past three years, I’ve worked in the booth, talking to sales folks and surgeons alike. The booth itself is rather impressive – this year it was over 23,000 square feet. And, no, I didn’t add an extra zero there – it truly was that big. Pictures don’t do it justice, but this will give you a sense of it:
Looking from one corner of the booth. You can only see about 1/4 – 1/3 of the whole thing in this image. And, yes, those tables really did light up blue from underneath (they looked a bit Star Trek to me, but they were quite sleek and cool). The blue screen behind the “Trauma” sign was a floor-to-“ceiling” screen, where we had key surgeons give presentations for audiences seated right there.
Looking from the other corner of the booth. Behind that big “Persona” sign was a special section of the booth where I spent most of my time. That’s where we were highlighting our new Persona knee system with a museum/Disney-like experience. it was very cool.
And looking from upstairs…yes, there was an upstairs part of the booth as well. It had smaller meeting rooms away from the hustle and bustle of the main booth. The round table in the center was the Information Booth within the booth.
One of the things we were featuring was a new surgical helmet. This is something that surgeons wear under what basically looks like a big space suit. Orthopaedic surgery is rather brutal, so these suits are nice to keep all the “gunk” off of the surgeon while he/she works. The helmet has a built-in light and a fan to keep the surgeon cool while he/she works. I watched a bunch of people try these things on throughout the meeting, so I couldn’t help but try it on myself at the end of the last day 🙂
Of course, because we were in New Orleans, there was a ton of amazing food (I’m actually not-so-sad to be back home and eating healthy again). This included a minor cheat to my gluten/corn/dairy free diet because we couldn’t pass up Cafe Du Monde for beignets (I did have a friend help me, so I didn’t eat three by myself 🙂 ). And, yes, the cheat was worth it!
And, one evening, we took a Haunted History Tour through the French Quarter. It was a lot of fun, and we got to see many of the haunted buildings and hear ghost stories.
The Provincial Hotel – one of New Orleans’ most haunted places to stay. This used to be a hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers, and supposedly, the doctors and some of the soldiers still haunt this place. I don’t think I’ll be staying there anytime soon!
We heard quite a disturbing story about this place (the LaLaurie mansion), which included a little girl jumping from the top story floor and supposedly, that’s why the window is bricked over. As it turns out, the story was just a myth, and the window is bricked over because there’s a bathroom and shower there. Also, of note, Nicolas Cage used to live here 🙂
This is obviously in front of a church, with a garden in front that had a fairly sordid history. It was neat how they had the lights shining just right on the statue in the courtyard to create this shadow. We affectionately called the shadow “Touchdown Jesus” a la Notre Dame 🙂
It was a very busy trip, but it was a good one. I was still so happy to get home and see my two guys 🙂