Great to see Mike and CourtneyOriginally published by DK on December 10, 2018 at 10:57 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
The place looked great – nicely doneOriginally published by DK on December 1, 2018 at 1:35 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!
One of my favorite stadium quittersOriginally published by DK on November 22, 2018 at 9:32 am
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.
Lunch with Doug @ Buttered TinOriginally published by DK on November 15, 2018 at 1:49 pm
Stopped in at work after my HCMC appointmentOriginally published by DK on November 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm
So happy to finally meet AJOriginally published by DK on November 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm
Changing my name to match my new glassesOriginally published by DK on November 6, 2018 at 1:40 pm
Took a lot of coordination for delivery, but it’s beautifulOriginally published by DK on November 4, 2018 at 2:05 pm
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
Before I get to the big post, let’s look at the day before. My friend and colleague Katie decided that we would take advantage of not having a football game on marathon Sunday for the first time since the stadium opened by entering the TC 10 Mile lottery. I’ve done this race once before (2003) and knew it was a fairly tough entry to get. Amazingly, we were both selected and placed in corral C. We were thinking about a ten minute mile goal and set about creating a brief training schedule of short runs during the week and a longer run on weekends that we would increase each week.
Since I’m now a terrible training partner, we only managed two long weekend runs: one rainy seven miler around the lakes in Minneapolis and one eight miler along the Mississippi. Combined with some bike cross training, I was OK with this and felt fine with our prep on race morning. The four corral setup was different than 2003 and was really nice – we basically started right in the middle of the Commons before heading towards the river. It was also interesting to see how they used the Vikings Longhouse for VIP runners.
The weather and the race itself were both very nice. We ran a leisurely 10:49 pace, finishing right around the 1:48 mark (Katie results, DK results). The medals this year were very nice and the finish line food was excellent, as usual. We both felt fine after the race and walked back down the hill to our brunch reservations at Parlour St. Paul. Colleen picked us up afterwards and we dropped off Katie at her house. I remember watching the Vikings beat the Eagles and getting up for work the next day, but then I basically don’t remember anything that happened the next three days (more on that coming soon). A few race day pics after the jump.
Number 14 at Sand CreekOriginally published by DK on October 29, 2018 at 11:22 am
SKOL, VIKINGS ?Originally published by DK on October 25, 2018 at 4:26 pm
Curtis is awesome ?Originally published by DK on October 24, 2018 at 5:12 pm
Good luck to Justin and his team at tonight’s Timberwolves home opener against ClevelandOriginally published by DK on October 19, 2018 at 6:47 pm
Parlour St. Paul has super-boozy maltsOriginally published by DK on October 7, 2018 at 12:01 pm
Ready or not, TC10 up nextOriginally published by DK on September 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm
Quick, fun trip to Vermilion to celebrate Mr. Schuster’s 50thOriginally published by DK on September 24, 2018 at 11:44 am
Wide range of weather at The WildernessOriginally published by DK on September 22, 2018 at 1:53 am
Originally published by DK on September 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm
It’s a tough job, but someone had to do itOriginally published by DK on September 19, 2018 at 8:17 pm
The former Hastings CC still in great shape – shot an 88 from the whites at Dakota PinesOriginally published by DK on September 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm
Team building with Leo at Keller – shot an 86 from the bluesOriginally published by DK on September 14, 2018 at 10:59 am
Nicely done, Chef ShaneOriginally published by DK on September 12, 2018 at 10:02 pm
Congrats to Kaitlyn (50 miles) and all the other amazing Superior fall trail racersOriginally published by DK on September 8, 2018 at 11:13 pm
Shot a shaky 87 from the whites at Columbia – too many poor shotsOriginally published by DK on September 8, 2018 at 12:54 pm
First time running the lakes in almost two years – six miles with KatieOriginally published by DK on September 2, 2018 at 2:43 pm
Thank you, Glo-BugOriginally published by DK on August 30, 2018 at 8:56 am
Thanks, ArmonOriginally published by DK on August 25, 2018 at 5:15 pm
Knees still hurt, but the social support is greatOriginally published by DK on August 3, 2018 at 5:05 pm
This brought back all the feelsOriginally published by DK on July 5, 2018 at 9:52 pm
https://www.sportsvideo.org/2018/06/20/minnesota-vikings-unveil-spectacular-media-facilities-at-tco-performance-center/Originally published by DK on June 21, 2018 at 11:24 am
Best accountant everOriginally published by DK on June 5, 2018 at 10:47 am
They aren’t going to let Toyya and I play there any moreOriginally published by DK on June 5, 2018 at 10:46 am
Congrats to the Klas and Cody families on a great Tapemark runOriginally published by DK on June 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm
Herm and AF @ T-Mobile ArenaOriginally published by DK on May 28, 2018 at 8:29 pm
Number four @ Keller with Ed and LeoOriginally published by DK on May 25, 2018 at 12:29 pm
…but great to visit with JLOriginally published by DK on May 16, 2018 at 12:21 am
A little hard to ride after half a Carbone’s largeOriginally published by DK on May 11, 2018 at 3:14 pm
Should be drop-dead tired, but I’m notOriginally published by DK on April 21, 2018 at 8:48 pm
Nice to be back againOriginally published by DK on March 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm
Celebrating with Johnny Cash’s bar in NEOriginally published by DK on February 16, 2018 at 10:57 pm
He’s the secret weaponOriginally published by DK on February 6, 2018 at 10:53 pm
The Lowertown Speakeasy was a hitOriginally published by DK on January 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm
The perfect touchOriginally published by DK on January 14, 2018 at 12:08 am
Thanks for visiting Lowertown Jen & ToyyaOriginally published by DK on December 11, 2017 at 7:22 pm
It’s a Schuster sighting in Medtronic ClubOriginally published by DK on November 19, 2017 at 1:16 pm
MK and EW @ Macklemore, PalaceOriginally published by DK on November 2, 2017 at 7:10 pm
So great catching up with Yuki @ Saint DinetteOriginally published by DK on November 1, 2017 at 10:31 pm
Talk to him, Super BowlOriginally published by DK on October 27, 2017 at 4:37 pm
RIP Tiera ❤️Originally published by DK on October 15, 2017 at 7:20 pm
Great to see this guy sub in at the last minuteOriginally published by DK on October 15, 2017 at 5:16 pm
Sitting on the Klas bench at the State Fair Rummage eventOriginally published by DK on September 30, 2017 at 8:06 pm
http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/7934338/jerry-lewis-cause-of-death-revealed?utm_source=twitterOriginally published by DK on August 22, 2017 at 9:14 am
Signs, signs, everywhere signs…Originally published by DK on August 13, 2017 at 6:56 pm
So cool – artwork @ CHS FieldOriginally published by DK on August 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm
Golf with ops @ Highland NationalOriginally published by DK on August 4, 2017 at 8:36 pm
Not what I expected, but still cool stuffOriginally published by DK on July 29, 2017 at 7:51 pm
Nine holes @ Inver Wood before we were pulled off by ThorOriginally published by DK on July 25, 2017 at 8:40 pm
It seems like forever ago already, but one of the highlights of our Vegas trip last month was a private concert by Bruno Mars at the new T-Mobile Arena that the Golden Knights will call home. The Cisco Live! conference had around 28,000 attendees and most of them tried to squeeze into the arena for the roughly 80 minute set (with no opener and no encore).
We had passes to get in early and were herded to the upper level concourse for free food and drinks. Before the full doors opened, we worked our way down to the arena floor and I got a spot on the end of the front barrier. Bruno and his crew spent more time in the middle of the stage, but it was still a great spot to watch them up close. Conference organizers handed out free hats with flashing lights, so the place was really more electric than it would normally be with a bunch of nerds.
Kid two was more than a little salty that 1) I got to see him first and 2) that I was that close (when Bruno came to my side of the stage, he was literally about four feet away). Ended up taking way more video than usual, just so she could experience it too. No merch for sale and I didn’t get a set list, but it was pretty much what you’d expect. My favorites were the big hits: That’s What I Like, 24K Magic, Just the Way You Are and (of course) Uptown Funk.
Amazing performer, great show (more pics after the jump).
Thanks for lunch, MarkOriginally published by DK on July 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Nice to finally play againOriginally published by DK on July 19, 2017 at 9:13 pm
X Games year one is in the books – learned so muchOriginally published by DK on July 16, 2017 at 6:31 pm
https://www.gofundme.com/rt7b2h-jasons-recovery-fundOriginally published by DK on July 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm
Thanks JV for reminding me about Annie’sOriginally published by DK on July 7, 2017 at 10:09 pm
36 holes @ The Wilderness is too much for my tired handsOriginally published by DK on July 4, 2017 at 7:54 pm
The Wilderness is still the greatestOriginally published by DK on July 4, 2017 at 12:21 pm
Back on Birch PointOriginally published by DK on July 2, 2017 at 7:11 pm