Friday, October 07, 2022

It's time

I am wistful about my career ending on October 27, but I'm not sorry. It simply must be done on my agency's timeline, not mine, because I have 18 years there. In advertising we don't have a union, and in Illinois, retirement is tantamount to quitting. If I were to simply retire, I would leave 19 weeks of severance on the table. That's more than 4 months pay. I can't afford to walk away from that. The longer I put off collecting Social Security, the more I receive. 

I am not happy at my job. I don't approve of the way our clients are treated. I identify completely with my clients, but I work for agency management. It's the agency who pays me. I understand that with my attitude, and with the departure of my client, it's time to go.


If money were no object, I would have retired back in January, when my boss Aaron left. He was a breath of fresh air. We were aligned in our approach to the job and to our teammates. But upper management and my new boss are completely different. I don't approve of them. Being as judgey as I am is not good -- not for me, not for them, and not for the work. So it's time.

But money is an object. Or, to be more precise, benefits are. I'm in the middle of expensive dental work and I just had a lithotripsy performed (see post below). I will be eligible for Medicare in a matter of weeks (November 1) but I don't want to switch insurance carriers midstream, as they say.

In the 18 years I was here, I've done some work I'm proud of. Even better for me personally, I've fought the good fight. I tried to be the voice of my client in the room. When many others were arguing for bigger, more outrageous, more audacious ideas, I was the one who said, "Wait! This may win us awards, but how does it move the client's business along?" Sometimes smaller, more conservative, tried-and-true was the better, more cost efficient bet. 

In closing, I invoke Joe Maddon. When he and the Cubs parted ways after the 2019 season, after 5 seasons, during which he managed my heroes in Cubbie blue to 4 playoff appearances and one incredibly glorious World Series, Joe said, "There's nothing to bemoan or lament. It's just time. It's been fabulous."


Thursday: Let's talk about the hospital

The good people at Rush say my lithotripsy was a success. I'm not remotely comfortable right now, so you can't prove it by me. Of course, the procedure was just over 24 hours ago and I still have a stent. About half the patients who get one after a urological procedure will have stent pain. I feel all the time like I have to pee, and there's a stinging. It's as though I traded one pain for another, though they assure me this is to be expected. After all, my kidney stone was pulverized and I'm passing bits of it. The stent comes out Sunday morning. I live for Sunday morning.

I wish I had gotten my anesthesiologist's name because I was pretty hard on him. He responded with great sensitivity. You see, he wanted to give me an epidural. If you read this humble blog regularly, you will remember that last month, my favorite-most ball player had an epidural and it went poorly. "Epidural" is the last word I wanted to hear.

"Anthony Rizzo is a strong 32-year old man and it went badly," I said. "I'm a sick 64-year-old woman. Why should I expect a better outcome?"

He walked me through it. I won't repeat his explanation since I might get it wrong -- and really, who needs more medical misinformation out there (remember Trump and hydroxychloroquine?) -- but it satisfied me. Then the anesthesiologist said he could tell I was nervous, but that he went into this specialty help and make me more comfortable. He said he he's met Anthony Rizzo because he volunteers his time at Lurie Children's Hospital, which Rizz supports through his foundation. I asked the anesthesiologist is I'm easier or tougher than the pediatric cancer patients. He smiled and said, "Tougher, because you ask tougher questions."

After the procedure, when I was still mostly out of it -- my eyes weren't even open -- he whispered to me, "Gal? Can you hear me? You may have a headache, but it won't be like Rizzo's." It made me happy that the first name I heard as I regained consciousness was Rizz's.

And the epidural was fine. It took me a while to shake it off, and it was weird to be looking at my feet and unable to move them, but eventually the numbness wore off and I was able to go home.

While I was waiting for discharge, I checked my phone. At 10:45 AM, the head of HR sent me a message, wanting to know why I hadn't accepted her meeting invitation. The head of HR doesn't know me. We could be alone together in the elevator and while she'd say hi, she couldn't tell you my name. There is only one reason why she wanted to meet with me.

I was, effectively, canned while I was in the Recovery Room. I think I have the most advertising-y advertising agency story ever.

My friend John was downstairs outside the hospital lobby Starbucks, waiting for me. We were quite a pair -- he with his cane and me in a wheelchair! He put me in an Uber, and I was happy to go home. Now if only I could lose the stent!