Another farmer’s market treeOriginally published by DK on December 9, 2018 at 5:09 pm
Yesterday I had my appointment with the neurosurgeons who needed to approve my return to work. Happy to report that I’ve been cleared to return next week. I really didn’t think it would happen that soon, but I’m super excited to be back in time for the final two regular season Vikings home games (and hopefully at least one playoff game before diving into Final Four prep). Big thanks to everyone at work who stepped in to help while I’ve been out – I’m looking forward to getting back out there. And thanks again to everyone who has facilitated and supported my recovery.
SKOL!Originally published by DK on December 5, 2018 at 2:10 pm
Nice job decorating, MKOriginally published by DK on December 5, 2018 at 10:21 am
Still cool (literally and figuratively), but needs more varietyOriginally published by DK on December 2, 2018 at 8:50 pm
A little tardy on the latest update, but all is well. I survived a four hour therapy appointment and apparently did well enough that my speech therapist thinks I don’t need to continue with that track any longer. I had my long-awaited appointment with the ophthalmologist and received a pair of “magic glasses” that have greatly reduced the need for future eye patch use. They have optical film from 3M (see above) that utilizes prism technology to correct my double vision. My left eye is slightly crossed, but this stuff really helps correct that (and it’s so nice to have both eyes open all the time). The extra good news is that there is nothing wrong with either eye – the double vision is caused by the nerves that control the muscles that direct each eye and the doctor is optimistic that this will eventually correct itself. I will also be starting therapy next week to work specifically on eye exercises to help this process along.
In other HCMC appointment news, I met with an awesome neurologist who showed me the “before” and “after” CT scans of my brain from the day of the incident and from when they discharged me from the ICU. It was really cool technology and the way she explained it made it crystal clear how serious the situation was on October 8th (and how much improvement there was after three weeks). Have I mentioned how big a fan I am of the staff at HCMC? I’ll return there again on Friday for another CT scan that will hopefully continue the trend. That will also be Colleen’s last full day with me, as she returns to work on Monday. After that, my next big appointment will be on December 4th, when I meet with the lead neurosurgeon to discuss continued recovery plans and possibly a return to work date.
We saw both Charlie Parr and Hippo Campus at the Palace Theater with no issues from the lights or sound levels (the infamous Palace talkers are another story). On the advice of my friend TG, I picked up a pair of Vibes earplugs, which seemed to work well at the Hippo Campus show (and dampened the discussions of the people sitting near me). Saw one Wild win (Ottawa) and one Wild loss (Arizona) at the X with my uncle, also with no sensory overload issues. Stopped by the stadium for the start of the very loud Packers game, but found it totally manageable. Left that game before halftime to beat the train rush, but had a great time seeing people and delivering thank you cards.
With the Thanksgiving holiday, it was a busy week for seeing family and friends. Had lunch one day with a friend at Dark Horse and went over to the Inver Grove Heights AMC to see Ralph Breaks the Internet (which we both liked). We took my mother-in-law out on Thanksgiving Day for lunch at the original Buca di Beppo in St. Paul, then had a more traditional dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house in the Mac-Groveland area.
This will be my last “weekly update.” Truly thankful for you all – thanks for reading!
So convenient, no?Originally published by DK on November 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm
The third week out of the ICU started with lots of family time and a return to HCMC to meet with a neurosurgeon P.A. to have the sutures removed from the top of my head. Since we were so close, I also stopped in at the office for a short visit. It was so great to see everyone (and get more hugs than I can ever remember). After Colleen’s excellent suggestion, I also took the opportunity to clean out my office refrigerator and empty the trash and recycling cans. During my appointment, I was cleared to attend sporting events and concerts, so I hope to return soon for the basketball classic (as a fan) and get back to the Xcel Center with my uncle to catch a Wild game. My first concert should be a perfect one to ease back into live music – Charlie Parr tomorrow night at the Palace Theater up the street.
I was hoping the Monday appointment would be more definitive on determining clearance to return to a number of things, but that was not the case. It was great to get the sutures out (which didn’t even register on the pain scale compared to things in the ICU); a return to work estimate will have to wait until next month. We added some new future appointments and had to reschedule a few others, so now I have a pretty full schedule the next few weeks. It looks like spring will be a fine goal for a return to driving (seizure risk) and biking (warmer, head injury risk). My planned 50th birthday ski trip will have to wait a season, but truly just glad to have a 50th birthday. Haven’t talked much yet about a return to running…
My brother flew up from Orlando last weekend and my sister came down from Duluth, so we spent a lot of time together. We had Carbone’s for lunch at my aunt and uncle’s house on Saturday and my brother wanted to take us out to one of his restaurants in St. Louis Park Saturday night (Yard House). He’s now with Darden Concepts as a corporate trainer and really seems to like the company. Colleen, SK and I introduced him to the magic that is Raising Cane’s the day before he flew home. Also on the foodie radar this past week: lunch with another aunt and uncle at Handsome Hog, lunch with my friend and mentor Doug at Buttered Tin and SK’s first solo server shift at Saint Dinette. I’m really spoiled with so many great options within walking distance of our place (and to have so many kind offers to buy us lunch).
It’s been very strange defining my weekdays by Price Is Right in the mornings and Jeopardy in the afternoons, but I have been working on things other than sitting on the couch and watching TV. I designed some new personal business cards and the thank you cards with SK’s custom artwork arrived this week. Finding addresses and hand writing cards takes a long time, but is actually great therapy for me. I also rolled out the artwork on all the social media platforms, as there are so many people to thank (and I don’t have all those mailing addresses). I’m just amazed at all the communities who have supported us throughout this medical emergency:
- U.S. Bank Stadium colleagues
- Allina Health colleagues
- Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority staff
- Minnesota Vikings staff
- National Football League IT staff
- Hennepin Healthcare doctors, nurses, EMT and support staff
- Metro Transit Police
- Minneapolis Police and Fire Departments
- Fortune Bay and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
- High School for Recording Arts
- Northwest Airlines alumni
- St. Paul Central and Ramsey Junior High alumni
- WeRunMpls and the online running community
This whole time period has felt like soccer’s stoppage time – I feel like every day I get beyond Oct. 8, 2018, is a bonus. It seems crazy to me that this could be one month or another 50 years. Appointments next week include the long-awaited ophthalmology session on Friday with Dr. Chang to discuss my daily occupational therapy eye exercises (see above) and options for prism glasses to help resolve the double vision.
Dinner at Yard House in SLPOriginally published by DK on November 10, 2018 at 8:34 pm
The second week out of the ICU was (thankfully) low-key. I had no outpatient appointments at HCMC and my vision is to the point where I have one eye that’s really good at close-up screens and one that can watch TV clearly. I’ve done my occupational therapy eye exercises every day and ordered a cheap pair of standard glasses from Amazon that I’ll bring to my ophthalmologist appointment on Black Friday – they want to customize the plain lenses to help correct my double vision. On Monday, I’ll return to see the neurosurgeon for an incision check (and hopefully the removal of the two sutures on the top of my head).
I should be getting my AARP card in the mail any day now, since I now have not one, but two daily pill boxes full of medications (see above). It’s actually not too bad – four pills in the morning and two at night, but it’s still a big change from the rest of my life (always had a goal of no pills). Only had to take Tylenol one day this week, when I woke up with a fairly intense headache. Last night I decided to elevate my head more with a second pillow and that seemed to help. Today was the first day I felt tired at the end of the day, but I really didn’t do much physical therapy-type activities.
Yesterday and today friends visited me at home, which was really nice. I have a fairly full schedule next week, but please let me know if you’d like to swing by Lowertown (a person can only watch so much Netflix per week). I received two awesome gifts this week: One from HSRA (big thanks to TC, Saintanne and crew) and one from my good friends at MSFA. My custom artwork thank you cards should arrive tomorrow, so that will be another project to start working on while I’m home. My brother flew up from Florida tonight, and I’ll be visiting lots of family this weekend. Nice to see the Wild playing good hockey too…
The key to teen happinessOriginally published by DK on November 9, 2018 at 4:12 pm
According to reports, I wasn’t exactly myself the first few days in the ICU. Thankfully, some of my supposed quotes were written down:
- “I DO NOT need to be a part of their system.”
- “This is some kind of mad scientist experiment!”
- “Who do you trust? Your dad or *these* people.”
- “Happy dancing widow, happy dancing widow…“
There was also a reported exchange with Colleen about my favorite Prince song (“You *might* be right.”).
Sigh.Originally published by DK on November 2, 2018 at 8:17 pm
And in the fancy new HCMC building on 8th tooOriginally published by DK on November 1, 2018 at 11:40 am
The day after the TC 10 was definitely not my typical Monday. I didn’t have any meetings scheduled, so I slept in a little later than usual, then walked over to the train station. I texted Armon that my neck was super sore when I woke up, but that I was headed in. I was told later I brought a bag of groceries for my office, along with my badge and headphones. When I got to the stadium train stop, I exited the train, walked towards Chicago and Fourth, crossed the train tracks, then suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, followed by a seizure and stroke (and the groceries went flying everywhere).
I haven’t seen the video footage or read the police report yet, but I reportedly fell and hit my head on the train tracks and was unresponsive. A good Samaritan bystander administered CPR and a Metro Transit police officer contacted HCMC for transport the three blocks to their Level I Trauma Center. As my sister said, it was almost like my mom and my grandfather were watching out for me, deciding it was too early for me to join their party. The doctors later told me the overall odds of surviving a brain aneurysm are under 40% and that if the other pieces hadn’t fallen into place, there was a zero percent chance of me making it.
To be honest, I don’t really remember much about the first few days in the ICU. Colleen says I was a gremlin, trying to bust out of the unit and needing to be restrained. The first procedure completed was the placement of two stents in my left vertebral artery to treat the aneurysm. Dr. Tummala and his team of amazing vascular neurosurgeons were the first in a long line of HCMC care providers who literally saved my life. I can’t say thank you enough to this amazing group of professionals (including Dr. Clay Garthe, neurosurgeon, pictured above).
After the stents were placed, a drain was placed in the top of my head that regulated pressure and fluids in my brain. This was connected to a bag that filled with what we affectionately called “brain juice.” Normally, these fluids are processed back into your head, but after the trauma, the team wanted direct control over this. The drain became the first milestone in my recovery – I couldn’t leave the ICU until the drain was removed. We thought this would happen around the two week mark, but thanks to some unexpected vasospasms, we had to wait until day 21 to remove the drain. This extra week also included multiple trips to the CT scanners and two angioplasty procedures. I only remember the second one, which included the surgeons playing Tequila Sunrise by the Eagles, which of course made me think of The Big Lebowski.
I had a number of different therapists work with me while I was in the ICU, including a speech pathologist (Kim), physical therapist (Kari) and occupational therapist (Bri). Don’t remember much about the speech tests, but the other two were fascinating. Bri had a lot of interesting iPad apps and encouraged me to continue with Two Dots and Words with Friends on my phone. She also had a number of written tests that I got better at as time went on. Kari accompanied me on my many walking laps around the ICU, which included exercises that reminded me of the Ministry of Silly Walks. I also seriously wanted to learn this choreography, but that will have to wait for another time (and maybe a future Halloween costume?).
Three of my early issues were taste, hearing and vision. Hospital food doesn’t have a great reputation, but really nothing tasted right to me the first week. Big thanks to everyone who smuggled in outside food (which also tasted funny for a long time). They were threatening a feeding tube down my nose if I didn’t increase my caloric intake, so I quickly became a fan of hospital scrambled eggs, milk shakes, Boost, 1% milk and juices pretty quick. Only threw up once (drank a milk shake too fast after taking meds) and had a constant fight with sodium (of all things), and ended up on salt pills with lots of Gatorade and no water. Bonus: down 23 pounds!
Hearing and vision issues have been odd. Colleen initially sounded like Snow White, then like an Imperial Probe droid from Empire Strikes Back. Sasha sounded like Rosie from The Jetsons. Thankfully, that only lasted a few days. Vision has been a problem that I still suffer from today. Double vision lead to an eye patch that I was suppose to swap back and forth, but I was definitely favoring the right eye (which was the only one I could use to read close-up screens). I can now use the left to watch TV clearly, but this is an area that will likely need more therapy. It’s really the primary source of remaining head pain (which I can use limited Tylenol to treat).
Colleen has been a saint though this entire episode. She met with HR reps at both her work and mine to take care of paperwork and start working with my insurance company (we are both on Federal Medical Leave for the short-term). She started a great CaringBridge site to keep everyone informed of my status that as of today has received 8,806 visits. I didn’t have a login while I was in the hospital, but thank you to everyone who commented or posted on that site – your support was heart-warming (and a bit overwhelming).
She also started a GoFundMe site that has been well supported. We are 75% of the way to her initial goal, which will definitely help as the bills pile up and our income slows down. The rack rate on my hospital stay may approach a half million dollars, so I truly appreciate all of you who have already contributed and humbly ask for help to get to our goal. So far the summaries from the insurance company have looked promising, but I know they are many, many more that we haven’t received yet and I’m sure there will be multiple payment plans to be negotiated.
Big thanks to everyone who visited me in the ICU, called, sent cards and commented online – watch your mailboxes for something special in the next few weeks. Also want to send a special thank you to the Vikings, who brought me a custom Kingsbury #1 jersey and a signed Stefon Diggs photo of the Minneapolis Miracle. How cool is that?
Being home versus being in the ICU is a 1000% improvement. My arms and fingers are starting to not look like pincushions, I don’t have a million wires running everywhere and I don’t have someone waking me up every two hours to give me more salt tablets and horse pills (now it’s just five normal pills when I wake up and two when I go to bed). I also get to take showers whenever I want, brush my teeth every morning, sleep in a soft bed with flannel sheets and watch TV with a screen big enough to read the letters and numbers during sporting events.
I was sad that I missed senior night for Marisa’s swim team, the Avett Brothers concert at Mystic Lake (where I had third row center tickets), Timberwolves opening night in a suite and the Wild vs. Kings game with my uncle. But my new philosophy when I get sad or start to complain is that I can let that control my life or I can just be happy to be alive.
When viewed through that lens, the answer is easy…Originally published by DK on October 31, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Pizza night in the neighborhoodOriginally published by DK on October 30, 2018 at 5:11 pm
Last year at SESOriginally published by DK on October 4, 2018 at 11:38 pm
Finally found the “then” picOriginally published by DK on September 28, 2018 at 10:45 pm
MK in lane five @ Falcon RidgeOriginally published by DK on September 27, 2018 at 7:54 pm
Palace GA is the worstOriginally published by DK on September 20, 2018 at 9:47 pm
Last weekend we did a very quick jaunt up to Grand Marais to shoot senior pictures for kid two. Sites included Jay Cooke State Park, Grand Portage National Monument, Naniboujou Lodge, Croftville Road, Grand Marais lighthouse and Gooseberry State Park. Not the greatest weather (and light), but we ended up with a bunch of good ones (full gallery after the jump).
Side note: a photographer friend of ours recommended West Photo in Minneapolis for gear rental. I priced out renting a Nikon D750 with a nice portrait lens for the weekend and found the $150 fee to be reasonable, but then they asked for a “first-time renter” deposit of $4200. Ah, nope.
So we ended up with my trusty old (like really old – 2004?) Nikon D70 and my iPhone X with portrait mode. Surprisingly, I was happiest with the majority of the iPhone shots and only a handful of the Nikon shots. Anxious to get my new silver iPhone Xs later this week, since Gruber wrote a ton about the upgraded camera features on that model. Still not taking the D850 off my wish list, but it’s surprising how the world of photography is changing.
Thanks, Sven and OleOriginally published by DK on September 15, 2018 at 6:23 pm
Everyone in my family wants a new phone. With the upcoming Apple event next week, I need to come up with a plan that doesn’t involve taking out a mortgage. I really preferred the days when your phone was subsidized by your plan, even if you were still paying hundreds of dollars overall. Now I have an expensive service plan *and* an expensive monthly payment for my iPhone.
As I’ve expressed before, I’m not a fan of my latest phone, the X. Everyone else seems to love theirs, so maybe I just have a lemon. About the only thing I really like is the camera, which, while still not a replacement for a real camera, is often “good enough.” After a huge increase lately in junk calls, I could do without the phone part, to be honest. If they released a modern iPod touch with a reasonable data-only plan, I could probably get away with that.
Haven’t switched carriers in a while either – no real complaints with AT&T (or T-mobile when I had that), but maybe it’s time to shop around. Also curious to see what happens with the Apple Watch, iPad, Air and Mac mini (if anything). It’s seems about time for Apple to release some lust-worthy stuff again – it’s been a while, no?Originally published by DK on September 5, 2018 at 5:58 pm
https://www.mnstatefair.org/about-the-fair/attendance/Originally published by DK on September 4, 2018 at 2:01 pm
Kid two, first day of senior year ❤️Originally published by DK on September 4, 2018 at 10:30 am
Miss you too, Grandpa SmithOriginally published by DK on September 1, 2018 at 4:21 pm
Missing my mom on what would’ve been her 74th birthday today ?❤️Originally published by DK on September 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm
Thank you, Glo-BugOriginally published by DK on August 30, 2018 at 8:56 am
It will say “Kingsbury”Originally published by DK on August 29, 2018 at 10:39 am
Yay! Missed Little Chef a tonOriginally published by DK on August 27, 2018 at 6:17 am
So proud of kid oneOriginally published by DK on August 26, 2018 at 12:25 pm
Warm and crowded @ Cloud GateOriginally published by DK on August 19, 2018 at 4:49 pm
I love this picture so much ❤️Originally published by DK on August 11, 2018 at 8:56 pm
Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formationOriginally published by DK on August 9, 2018 at 12:52 am
Right, Risiroo?Originally published by DK on August 3, 2018 at 7:44 pm
Hope they play better than last nightOriginally published by DK on July 29, 2018 at 5:01 pm
She’s making my dinnerOriginally published by DK on July 13, 2018 at 7:56 pm
Nice to see Lynn at the candy storeOriginally published by DK on July 8, 2018 at 7:56 pm
(Not the Musical)Originally published by DK on July 7, 2018 at 2:47 pm
Lookin’ goodOriginally published by DK on July 1, 2018 at 12:50 pm
One more until the big one…Originally published by DK on June 23, 2018 at 3:36 pm
Such a creative artist ??Originally published by DK on June 21, 2018 at 6:58 pm
Last week I attended my second Cisco Live! conference in Orlando (last year was my first in Vegas; next year will be San Diego). It blows my mind how much it must cost to host 25,000 people in a facility like the Orange County Convention Center – setup, food twice a day, video production for keynotes and sessions, utilities, staffing, etc. And then there was the customer appreciation event Wednesday night at Universal Studios, which not only included exclusive access to the original park for four hours, but also had free food and drinks everywhere and big name concerts from Leon Bridges, Cake and Sam Hunt. No wonder my annual maintenance bill never goes down…
Speaking of bills, I needed to do this trip on the cheap, so I stayed with my brother and his wife and leaned on them for ground transportation (along with some 25% off Lyft rides). He took me to Animal Kingdom on Sunday night after I arrived so I could check out the new(ish) Avatar stuff. Na’vi River Journey has the cool Audio-Animatronics Shaman of Songs, while Flight of Passage lived up to the nearly two hour wait. We had dinner at the excellent Satu’li Canteen, which really elevates the whole theme park food quality experience, in my opinion.
My conference pass this time was a new intermediate “Imagine” badge, so I didn’t get access to all of the sessions (or a T-shirt or backpack). It did get me into all of the keynotes and Innovation Showcase presentations, though, along with the “World of Solutions” trade show, the party at Universal and free food for breakfast and lunch each day. I found most of the sessions to be useful and not just a week-long sales pitch to buy new stuff (like you get at some conferences). I learned about a lot of new technology trends, including improved security techniques, software-defined networking and container-based development, along with the evolution of the Cisco platforms and products we’ve deployed at the stadium (which thankfully I don’t need to replace right away).
After the conference wrapped up, I had a little extra time to kill before flying home (I wish the standby rules for Delta were more customer friendly). I spent some more time checking out all the changes at Disney Springs, where I had had dinner earlier in the week with my brother at Art Smith’s wonderful Homecomin’ restaurant. World of Disney was half-closed for remodeling, but I still managed to find some things for people. It was interesting to see retail additions like UNIQLO and the dining scene continues to impress with the likes of Morimoto Asia, Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar and The Boathouse (in addition to all of the old favorites). Also caught Deadpool 2 at the AMC and made a quick trip to Tampa to check out the very impressive Seminole Hard Rock Tampa complex.
See you in San Diego?Originally published by DK on June 20, 2018 at 3:08 pm
Wish I could be in Grand Marais with you todayOriginally published by DK on June 17, 2018 at 10:47 am
Iron Chef, no more! Hitting up Art Smith’s Homecomin’Originally published by DK on June 12, 2018 at 6:25 pm
Mr. Safari from day oneOriginally published by DK on June 10, 2018 at 6:33 pm
Mom, dad and both grandparents on the marryin’ dayOriginally published by DK on June 3, 2018 at 9:49 am
Kinda like finding a “Bort”Originally published by DK on May 28, 2018 at 8:35 pm
Slug bug blueOriginally published by DK on May 22, 2018 at 11:13 pm
So nice to have SK back in LowertownOriginally published by DK on May 20, 2018 at 11:10 pm
SK has returned from OhioOriginally published by DK on May 20, 2018 at 4:51 pm
MK schooling me @ Big River PizzaOriginally published by DK on May 19, 2018 at 1:24 pm
Hope Santa made it to the U on timeOriginally published by DK on May 13, 2018 at 9:24 pm
Took long enough this yearOriginally published by DK on May 7, 2018 at 8:08 pm
Last Friday was MK’s first School of Environmental Studies prom, which was held in the Wabasha Street Caves. We took a few pictures of the fancy couple at the top of Ramsey Hill before a pit stop at Big River Pizza and their dinner at Louis (pics after the jump).
Only one year left. ?
So much work left to doOriginally published by DK on April 29, 2018 at 11:54 pm
I spy someone’s reflectionOriginally published by DK on April 29, 2018 at 11:53 pm
Finally got Grumps down to see MKOriginally published by DK on April 22, 2018 at 10:08 pm
Still my favorite in South BayOriginally published by DK on April 3, 2018 at 6:34 pm
SK ❤️ seashellsOriginally published by DK on April 3, 2018 at 6:31 pm
La La Land Day, part IIOriginally published by DK on April 3, 2018 at 6:30 pm
This place has changed a lotOriginally published by DK on April 2, 2018 at 5:53 pm
At least I beat her on one of themOriginally published by DK on April 2, 2018 at 11:39 am
Such an original “simple” rideOriginally published by DK on April 2, 2018 at 11:29 am
Coco foreverOriginally published by DK on April 1, 2018 at 3:40 pm
They better leave the Tower alone in FloridaOriginally published by DK on April 1, 2018 at 12:34 pm
Just warmer (and with pigeons)Originally published by DK on April 1, 2018 at 12:13 am
At least in NevadaOriginally published by DK on March 29, 2018 at 3:34 am
MK @ the Secret GardenOriginally published by DK on March 28, 2018 at 8:19 pm
Seriously, he’s everywhere nowOriginally published by DK on March 28, 2018 at 12:07 pm
SK @ Gordo’s VegasOriginally published by DK on March 27, 2018 at 3:22 pm
Had to stop – it was on the wayOriginally published by DK on March 27, 2018 at 1:55 pm