My company’s annual convention, Catalyst, was held in Nashville this past week and I was in attendance to… well, there’s not a lot a graphic designer does at these things, mostly help with running thumb drives loaded with PowerPoint presentations to the laptops in the seminar rooms. Because, dagnabbit, we’re good at it. Usually we have a big recognizable name show up for a keynote. This year Martha Stewart graced us with her presence and she was great. You might be wondering what she has to do with what my company does (help large companies get on e-commerce and track their sales on the platforms they sell on) but her brand is doing well enough selling online that she can participate in those discussions, because if there’s one thing Martha has always been good at, it’s knowing how things operate under the hood. Perhaps too much, after reviewing her rap sheet.
What’s notable about this year’s Catalyst, is that since I opened my big mouth and am now tasked with capturing corporate video more often, we had to locate a freelance graphic designer to take up the slack and process the ponderous mass of on-site graphics and booklets for Catalyst… enter my better half to knock out those graphics in a most satisfactory fashion. Christine had to scramble to get this Death Star image for our President’s keynote presentation, just as one example.
I had been in Nashville on 2 other occasions to review placement of the convention graphics at the venue and had barely enjoyed Broadway, the main street where multiple live bands play in every bar (no cover) because I was basically flying solo in the evenings. You know I’m not the gregarious type who can just stroll into a bar and make friends immediately — actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed anyone else achieve that who was sober enough to walk into a bar by himself — so I just strolled the streets and stayed away from the festivities in the past. Not so on this trip. Having my co-workers there this time for Catalyst opened up Broadway for me. I discovered a relatively new bar that had just opened called Nudie’s Honky Tonk, a bar dedicated to Nudie Cohn. I fell in love with it immediately, it’s my favorite bar in Nashville now.
During our official Catalyst party at the Wildhorse Saloon I developed a bit of hematuria; the next morning it got a bit worse, and after consulting with my oncologist I was told to go to the ER immediately, probably because of my already-low platelet count. So I dropped everything and hoofed it over to the closest hospital, anxious about making my flight home later that evening. I had to submit a urine sample and it looked like a blood sample. Four and a half hours and a CT scan later, the diagnosis was a simple bladder infection, treatable with antibiotics. They gave me the first dose right there with an IV and it cleared things up immediately. Whew. And I made it home with no issues.
The emergency on Wednesday, just as Catalyst was wrapping up, had plenty of my co-workers on alert. They didn’t want to leave me stranded in the event I had to stay overnight, and set up alternative plans in case I had to. I had brought plenty of gear with me to Nashville but all of my baggage was taken care of, as we had to vacate the venue while I was away. The constant requests for updates and support I received was as if my own family was involved – and in a sense it was: if you have the right people working with you, they are a part of your family and they genuinely care for your well-being. It is another blessing of mine to count my co-workers and the execs I report to as part of my support network. And because there is none of the normal employment-related stress that frequently exists with dealing with certain people at work, it increases my daily positive energy every time I go to the office. I doubt a lot of people can say that, and I’m glad I’m one of the lucky ones. But then, I’ve been pretty lucky so far.
Chemo is next week, the 4th infusion out of…. to be determined. I’m thinking of asking my oncologist to hit me with the full dose of that Vectibix, acne and thinning hair be damned. I believe another CT scan will be scheduled soon, so we can judge the progress of this new chemo regimen, stay tuned for that. Until then, spring is almost here — get out and walk if it’s nice out! I’m feeling a load of positive energy and it’s wonderful. Thank you once more for being here, I love you!