Before the last date for response Owen sent a letter to the conference committee that he would be glad to a member of the panel. It will be an honor to be part of the distinguished panel, he wrote.
The conference was almost six months away but Owen became more conscious of the data he might need for his discussion. At every opportunity he kept copious notes of his interaction with patients who showed internet knowledge and demonstrated so in their interaction with Owen.
Before he knew it, it was April 2009. Owen left for Montego Bay accompanied by Agnes. Their daughter Sally was married and was living in Melbourne. They said they would call her and let her know how Owen’s appearance in the panel was received by the audience.
Owen was busy with the conference proceedings. Every day there was a new keynote speaker. Each one was a famous doctor from US as well as places as far away as Tokyo, Japan. They regaled the audience with a bit of humor about patient behavior and how they dealt with difficult situations. The exhibition hall was full of representatives from pharmaceutical companies demonstrating new equipment.
“I’m glad I am at this conference”, Owen said to Agnes over dinner the second day. “I hope I wouldn’t make a fool of myself tomorrow.”
“Relax. You’ll do all right.” Agnes said. “Have another glass of wine and take a good night’s sleep.”
His panel discussion was next day at 1.30 pm. In the morning, Owen sauntered over to the hall where it was going to be. He wanted to get an idea of the surroundings, the stage where he would be sitting and the size of the room. He peeked into the hall. A session was in progress. The session coordinator was sitting on the dais and the speakers were standing at the level of the audience. They probably liked being close to the audience. Some of them would walk forward to answer a question as if they wanted to meet the person. Owen imagined himself on the dais and felt comfortable. He preferred to keep a distance from the audience.