Aging sucksOriginally published by DK on November 9, 2019 at 12:50 pm
I’m not sure there is a better place in the entire world to reflect on life than in a boat on Lake Vermilion…Originally published by DK on October 23, 2019 at 1:15 pm
It was a year ago today when a blood vessel in my head decided it had enough, resulting in a ruptured aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhaging on the train platform outside U.S. Bank Stadium. It was a humbling experience to see the outpouring of love and support from my family and friends throughout my recovery and I will be forever thankful to the good Samaritan in the pickup truck, the first responders that treated me on the platform and the entire staff at Hennepin Healthcare for extending my time on this little planet we call home.
Health-wise, things are almost back to normal. I’m still wearing glasses with a 3M Prism lens on the left side to correct the remaining double vision. The strength of the lens has dropped from +30 to +8 during the past 11 months and the hope is still that I eventually won’t need them at all. I can read most screens without glasses, but the “bilateral 6th nerve palsy” and resulting diplopia at further distances is really the only major remaining issue from October 8, 2018. I’ve been off all of the additional medications from my time in the ICU for a while now and have returned to most physical activities with no issues. In fact, my bike mileage in 2019 sits at 1,058 miles and I’ve played 21 rounds of golf (both of which are a little more challenging with glasses).
I won’t lie, walking past that spot nearly every day is unsettling. It can feel frustrating to not be 100% yet with my vision. And all that weight I lost in the hospital came back with a vengeance. But I am so thankful for having access to high-quality healthcare that didn’t bankrupt our family. This full year of bonus time had some amazing memories: an extra special Thanksgiving with family, the NCAA Final Four, MK’s graduation, Las Vegas with SK, lake visits to Vermilion and Superior, Rib Fest, Summer X Games, another epic State Fair, a quick day trip to Los Angeles, the Saints championship season, more Vikings football and lots of concerts and restaurants. Life at fifty has been good.
So where to from here? I’ll be seeing my eye doctor again soon and I need to get back to my “regular” doctor to start all of the normal old guy things that need to be tested and monitored. Colleen and I head to Maui later this month to check off the second milestone birthday trip that was postponed due to the incident. Hopefully we’ll get the third and final trip scheduled for January. This week I’ll find out about the 2020 London Marathon ballot, which would immediately kick-start a return to running. Quick trip next week to Milwaukee to visit the Buck’s new arena. After the Vikings-Eagles game this weekend, the football season will already be half over. And you know what Steve Miller said about flying eagles…Originally published by DK on October 8, 2019 at 8:20 am
This artwork is so greatOriginally published by DK on October 2, 2019 at 1:30 pm
If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror…Originally published by DK on October 1, 2019 at 10:52 pm
Is it, punk?Originally published by DK on August 16, 2019 at 10:57 am
Surprise visit from the SK (and my closet needs a cleaning)Originally published by DK on August 10, 2019 at 3:43 pm
Hide yourself until dawn…Originally published by DK on July 17, 2019 at 10:20 pm
Nothing else quite like itOriginally published by DK on July 4, 2019 at 1:01 am
She was truly one in a million – sincere condolences to Paul and the familyOriginally published by DK on June 27, 2019 at 7:19 am
Construction season is everywhereOriginally published by DK on June 6, 2019 at 7:49 pm
So proud of our graduateOriginally published by DK on June 3, 2019 at 2:18 pm
Who let the guy with the TBI win?Originally published by DK on June 3, 2019 at 10:53 am
Add in Star Wars and it was a great time to be a nerdy kidOriginally published by DK on June 3, 2019 at 9:47 am
https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/twincities/obituary.aspx?n=gregory-alan-smith&pid=192923075Originally published by DK on May 28, 2019 at 2:09 pm
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry…Originally published by DK on May 26, 2019 at 11:55 am
Still haven’t figured out this whole grieving thingOriginally published by DK on May 26, 2019 at 11:43 am
Some stuff from a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon in Minnesota:
- I feel like generational labels like Gen X and Millennial are a lazy way to stereotype, blame and criticize groups of people that would never be allowed based on traits other than birth year.
- On a related note, publications and organizations that use “X Under X” awards are really just ageist money grabs for additional advertising revenue.
- We really enjoyed BlacKkKlansman – MK couldn’t believe some people are actually like that in real life.
- Wasn’t sure the Falvey/Levine/Baldelli regime with the Twins would ever take hold, but wow, what a start to the season.
- Thought we’d be empty-nesters soon, but I’m starting to think you never really get to be empty-nesters.
- Looks like the WordPress 5.2 update might be secretly breaking things behind the scenes for some websites.
- The Black Course at Bethpage does appear to be Extremely Difficult.
Vegas next week – prepare for a wave of food and gaming pics here soon…Originally published by DK on May 19, 2019 at 2:39 pm
Tweet: In honor of Ride To Work Day, I passed 300 miles for the month (and can’t feel my fingertips)
In honor of Ride To Work Day, I passed 300 miles for the month (and can’t feel my fingertips)Originally published by DK on May 17, 2019 at 9:28 pm
https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/the-night-the-lights-went-out-1834298070Originally published by DK on May 17, 2019 at 10:31 am
It’s been quite an off-seasonOriginally published by DK on May 16, 2019 at 7:29 pm
Mom at DisneylandOriginally published by DK on May 12, 2019 at 1:53 pm
The way it goes is this: your mom has you, and then you have her. And even when she’s gone, you still have her. Magic. Have a happy day…Originally published by DK on May 12, 2019 at 10:03 am
As promised, a quick health update from the halls of Hennepin Healthcare. I’m still wearing my prism glasses to treat double vision, but ophthalmologist Dr. Amy Chang is happy with the progress so far. She has reduced the strength of the lens twice now and said I can stop bi-weekly occupational therapy after my next appointment later this week. The hope is still to get to no glasses by October, but surgical options remain available if it takes longer than that. I can read my phone without them now and my left eye is really good at seeing far away, while my right is better close up. This has been mildly annoying, but my first attempt at golf while wearing glasses went much better than expected.
Last week’s big news was a successful third cerebral angioplasty to assess the stent and arteries in my head. The procedure had more risk than I realized before getting there (about a 1% chance of the catheter breaking something loose that would cause a stroke), but vascular neurosurgeon Dr. Adam Khan calmly explained everything before I signed the release form. It really amazes me that they can run a tube up the 8mm-wide artery in my leg, past my heart, up to my brain, inject contrast and take an x-ray of the blood vessels in my head. Science, for the win!
With the stent looking good and no signs of other aneurysms, they took me off the blood thinner. Neurologist Dr. Ann Hoang-Tienor has been managing my seizure care, which consists of anti-seizure medication and a review of activities that may be dangerous. At our last appointment, the doctor reduced my dosage a second time (with a goal of eliminating it altogether). She also gave the green light to all outside activities (with the exception of swimming alone), so I purchased a new bike helmet and ordered a new bike that will hopefully arrive in time for the bike challenge at work. Still haven’t returned to any alcohol yet, but she said it would be OK to take it slow and see how my head reacts. I’ve never been a big drinker, but these six months have really revealed what a huge part alcohol plays in fine dining and in many social situations.
Continued thanks to the staff at Hennepin Healthcare and everyone out there who has supported my recovery (and our family).Originally published by DK on April 30, 2019 at 10:30 am
The 2019 Get in Gear 10K was to be my first race since the TC 10 Mile (and all the fun stuff that happened after that). It was the only thing I had registered for all year and race organizers had reached out to all runners who had done the race for more than ten years in a row (I had a 17-year streak going and had run it one other time too). Unfortunately, my rock star neurosurgeon had other plans and scheduled me for a third angioplasty two days before the race (more on that coming soon in another post).
Regardless of my surgical state, I decided to visit Minnehaha Park on Friday during my lunch break to pick up my number and shirt (I paid for it, right?). I felt pretty good on Saturday morning, so I decided to give it a go (nobody said anything about no walking). The changes to the 5K and half marathon races made for an interesting morning. The half marathoners start at the same time as the 10K runners and their course now goes north to Gold Medal Park in downtown Minneapolis before looping back to reconnect with the 10K finish. The 5K runners started 20 minutes after everyone else, then turned around near Minnehaha Academy. So most of my walk was fairly peaceful and laid back, but it was fun to have the rush of the 5K runners passing me towards the beginning and the half marathoners dashing by at the end.
It was somewhat humbling to be last in my age group for the first time, but as my wife pointed out, it’s likely I was the only one in that group with a brain injury in the last six months. To be honest, I was quite pleased to be under two hours walking (my official chip time of 1:34:47 was good for a 15:16 Minute Mile). Looking back at all my Get in Gear races, my 10K PR would still have only placed 16th in 2019, so major props to the old guys that can run at a sub-six pace.
Registration for the 2020 Get in Gear opens tomorrow and the annual bike challenge starts on Wednesday. Let summer begin!
Part I – protect the brainOriginally published by DK on April 27, 2019 at 3:12 pm
Growing up, there were two things we never talked about: politics and religion. I’ll leave the latter for another day, but the former is something that I’ve really come to dislike as I’ve grown older. I mean, politics are everywhere, of course, whether it be at work, in the news or at a family gathering. But as far as traditional Republicans versus Democrats, right versus left and conservative versus liberal, I’ve had just about all I can take. I’ve never been a fan of political parties – why can’t all elections be like those for mayor, school board or judge? I don’t need to see an “R” or “D” behind your name – tell me your qualifications, what your positions are and how you came to those conclusions. Party platforms are an intellectual cop-out, in my opinion.
We all form our key values as we mature and I find it interesting how these can change over time (and how they are shaped by our individual experiences and environments). I’ve always held the Golden Rule in high esteem and try to follow the “Thumper Rule” online (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”). Some of my other favorites?
- Love and kindness
- Knowledge, expertise and dedication
- Fairness and equality
- Civility and respect
Closely related to these values are other things important to me: family and friends, culture, education, science, history, nature, fitness, sportsmanship, fine food, live music, good writing, silence. I used to think that I hated rules (especially those seemingly arbitrary ones created by “the man”), but really I just hate dumb rules (i.e. – this).Originally published by DK on April 24, 2019 at 1:00 am
Shot 91 from the whites, Ridges at Sand Creek, Jordan, MinnesotaOriginally published by DK on April 19, 2019 at 2:45 pm
Definitely too old for this nowOriginally published by DK on April 4, 2019 at 6:21 am
It’s that time of year again – the first 7minutemiles.com post appeared on this domain thirteen years ago today.
- 10,066 Posts
- 204 Pages
- 383 Comments (which are now turned off)
- 54,914 unique visitors in 2018
- 1,687,856 pages displayed in 2018
Still running WordPress (currently 5.1.1) with my custom theme and 17 plugins on the old Mac mini server colocated in Las Vegas. Favorite plugins: Wordfence Security, VaultPress, Intagrate and Really Simple SSL. Yes, I finally made the move this year to SSL using Let’s Encrypt, Certbot and that SSL plugin. I experimented with some form plugins for data entry on the golf, run and bike pages, but I didn’t like any of them. Planning to just write some custom code when I find the time. I’ve also given up on using a plugin to make the site more mobile-friendly, so at some point I’ll just have to learn the design and coding techniques to deal with that using my existing theme.
The old Tapemark Charity Pro-Am online leaderboards have a historical home now here. We had a new foodie join our team at the stadium, so I created a food page to summarize some of my favorite places in Minnesota. My upcoming races, concerts and sporting events are now displayed in the home page footer (and stored in a new database). The Biography and Résumé pages have some small updates. Video and photos still need a lot of love in the coming months and the mysterious SSL/emoji issue still needs resolution…
As always, thanks for visiting!Originally published by DK on March 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm
Comfortable clothes – don’t care what size anymoreOriginally published by DK on March 24, 2019 at 6:08 pm
After two years of avoidance, I now take this one to get to the trainOriginally published by DK on March 21, 2019 at 7:31 am
Old scoreboards now available on the ProAm pageOriginally published by DK on March 18, 2019 at 7:27 pm
Fortune cookies always make me think of the SimpsonsOriginally published by DK on March 14, 2019 at 7:53 pm
When I was three years old, Bob Klas, Sr. and Pat Cody founded a charity golf tournament at Southview Country Club to raise money for Minnesota children and adults living with developmental disabilities. I started supporting the event after tournament president Phil Callen read about my CD-ROM guide to Minnesota golf in a Pioneer Press story written by Gregg Wong (who also wrote about the tournament). This started an 18 year run that included multiple versions of the tournament website, thousands of lines of code, hundreds of photographs and one very stressful long weekend every June. I even got to play in the event one year, shooting two embarrassingly high numbers and failing to make the cut.
Last year, the Klas family decided to find a new group to continue the tradition and the tournament has transitioned to the leadership of the Minnesota Section of the PGA. They have launched a new website and will take over all tournament operations this year. I plan to add a Tapemark section to this site, so that people can still view the old scoreboard pages and view some of my favorite photos from past tournaments.
Last Friday, Bob Senior died at the age of 91. My condolences go out to the entire Klas family, many of whom I have had the pleasure to spend considerable time with since joining the Tapemark family. That’s really what it was too, a family. It was always so great to see Bob Senior at the drawing banquet and driving his golf cart around on tournament weekend with wife Sandy by his side. His son Bob Junior is a wonderful person too, although I’m not 100% convinced he really likes golf all that much.
Pics and obituary after the jump. UPDATE: the 7MM Tapemark page is here.
Robert C. Klas Sr. Age 91 February 26, 1928 – March 8, 2019 Passed away at Lilydale Senior Living in Lilydale, MN, surrounded by family. Former President and CEO of the Tapemark Company in West St. Paul, Bob was a continuing member of the Board of Directors. Born and raised in Wabasha, MN, he was the second oldest of nine children. It was when he was in high school that Bob began his career in business when he purchased, along with his older brother Dan, a full-sized portable popcorn stand. It was through his paper route, home chores, the popcorn business, and his living away from home while working the rails as a teenager that he learned the importance of dedication and hard work. Upon graduating from Wabasha High School in 1946, Bob spent the following two years in the U.S. Navy before entering Hamline University in 1948. It was when he was a student at Hamline that Bob met and married the former Frances Alexandra “Sandra” Boardman. Together they raised six children. Upon graduating from Hamline, he soon was hired at the one-machine Tapemark Company. Bob eventually purchased Tapemark, building it into one of the premier tape- and adhesive- label printing companies in the Upper Midwest before transforming the business into a medical device and pharmaceutical contract manufac-turer with end-use customers located throughout the world. In 1967, Bob was named “Small Businessman of the Year” by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. Tapemark was twice voted Best Managed Company in its industry under his leadership. Later in his career, Bob led a turn-around of WTC Industries, serving as its Chairman until the company was sold to CUNO Industries. Parents of two special needs children, Bob and Sandy were deeply connected to the Saint Paul Association for Retarded Children. It was this association that inspired Bob to found and co-direct the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament in 1972. Annually held over three days each June, the Pro-Am is recognized as part of the unofficial Grand Slam of golf for the MN PGA Section. Over its 47-year history, the Pro-Am has raised nearly $8 million for special needs children and adults. Included in his numerous business board memberships was his time as Director and Chair of WTC Industries. A very proud alumnus of Hamline University, Bob served two terms as a member of the Board of Trustees, and later was elected a Life Trustee of Hamline in recognition of his long support and dedication to the University. He is survived by his wife Sandra; his children Margaret (Phil) Johnson, Robert (Linda) Klas, Elizabeth (Reid) Polome, Thomas and Christine (Brian) Nelson; his grandchildren Katherine Johnson, Charles Johnson, Scott Klas, Lauren Klas, Annie Polome, Samuel Polome, Christopher Polome and Kate (Jonathan) Plett; his great-grandchildren Noah Johnson and Lily Plett; sisters Mary Peterson, Janet Roberts and Alice (Chuck) Harrison; sisters-in-law Mary Lou Klas, Louise Klas, and Evelyn Morse; as well as many nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews. Preceded in death by his daughter Frances; parents Thomas and Gertrude; brothers Daniel, James and William; sisters Carol Carr and Harriet King. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, March 13 at Willwerscheid Funeral Home, 235 Wentworth Avenue West, West St. Paul from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Funeral service will be held on Friday, March 15 at the United Church of Christ, 317 2nd Street West, Wabasha, MN, at 1:00 PM. A visitation will also be held at the church one hour before the funeral service. Interment will be at Riverview Cemetery in Wabasha. Memorials preferred to the United Church of Christ in Wabasha.
I kind of forget that City Pages is now owned by the Star Tribune, but it seems to have kept the same editorial vibe as before. I always have liked reading the annual Best of the Twin Cities issue, which you can vote for here (until March 26). Here are a few of my recommendations:
- Best Place to Buy Art Supplies – Wet Paint on Grand (at least according to my very artsy daughter).
- Best Movie Theater – Riverview Theater. All of the nominees are solid, but this one is still my favorite.
- Best Casino – Mystic Lake. It really is in a class by itself (for Minnesota).
- Best Festival – Minnesota State Fair (don’t really consider it a festival, but whatever). See also: Best Place to People-Watch
- Best Public Park – Minnehaha Park and Falls. I wish I was riding my bike there right now.
- Best BBQ – Q Fanatic. Need to get back to the one in Minneapolis soon.
- Best Breakfast – Keys Cafe & Bakery. Really just the one on Raymond, though.
- Best Brunch – Martina. I like others just as much (if not more), but this wins out of those five.
- Best Burger (Classic) – Parlour out of that list, but Saint Dinette’s burger blows all of them away.
- Best Chinese Restaurant – Rainbow Chinese. I need to go there more often.
- Best Cocktails – Marvel Bar. Still the best, in a town full of great places to drink.
- Best Diner – Hi-Lo Diner. Another strong category – we are blessed with many fine diners.
- Best Distillery – Tattersall Distilling. Those guys rock.
- Best Dive Bar – Bull’s Horn. Go Team Amy and Doug.
- Best Fried Chicken – Revival. This is a very, very tough category with many fine options.
- Best Fries – Barbette. Long time champ retains my title (for that type of fries, anyways).
- Best Ice Cream – Grand Ole Creamery. Sweet Cream Forever.
- Best Italian Restaurant – Mucci’s Italian. Chef Chris and Sarge rule.
- Best Lunch – Cecil’s Deli. Home of my all-time favorite sandwich.
- Best Mexican Restaurant – Pajarito. Need to go here more often too.
- Best New Restaurant – In Bloom. Lots of good options, but gotta stay true to my Saint Paul roots.
- Best Pizza – Punch Pizza (at least out of those five)
- Best Restaurant Minneapolis – Restaurant Alma. So much has changed, but Alma still holds strong.
- Best Restaurant St. Paul – Saint Dinette. The default was always Meritage, but the times are a-changin’
- Best State Fair Food – Pronto Pup. NEVER CORN DOGS.
- Best Steak – Murray’s Steakhouse. Although you can’t wrong at any of these.
Skipping all of the the music options, as I don’t know what to think of the local scene these days. Rock the vote, yo.Originally published by DK on March 10, 2019 at 3:42 pm
March is brain injury awareness monthOriginally published by DK on March 6, 2019 at 10:33 pm
Making progressOriginally published by DK on March 4, 2019 at 1:18 pm
https://www.gofundme.com/6xi8fpcOriginally published by DK on March 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm
Return to this game will be a while, unfortunatelyOriginally published by DK on February 27, 2019 at 7:47 pm
https://www.metrotransit.org/train-operator-recalls-30-year-old-cpr-lessons-likely-saving-a-passenger’s-lifeOriginally published by DK on February 19, 2019 at 5:34 pm
- My mom (and her dad and brother)
- 20/20 vision
- Prince, Petty and Bowie
- Running (and My People)
- Marathon-level fitness
- Mountain skiing
- Warm weather
- Disneyland (and World)
- Happy Hour (with no happy)
Keeping a positive outlook and all, but this is still truth…Originally published by DK on February 16, 2019 at 10:19 am
Although not for too long, pleaseOriginally published by DK on February 7, 2019 at 10:47 pm
Rollin’Originally published by DK on February 7, 2019 at 8:55 am
Blood-thinners are no jokeOriginally published by DK on January 4, 2019 at 10:18 pm
I’ve never been big on year-end lists or goal summaries here, but I’ve always done a fair amount of goal-setting privately. This past year has put a different spin on my perspective, so I thought it might be useful to share a few things as 2019 gets started. In hindsight, a lot of my previous health goals seem rather vain compared to plain old recovery. And how fortunate was I in the past to just want to run faster, bike farther or finish another marathon? Now, regaining my normal vision (without prism lenses) is goal #1, followed closely by getting cleared to resume driving and riding a bike. I’m very thankful that the outlook for all of these things is good – much of this might happen by the middle of March.
Since Dr. Tummala gave me the OK to resume treadmill running, I’ve felt good the past week, with three slowish runs totaling 7.1 miles. I also did one nine mile ride on a stationary bike and resumed doing light dumbbell repeats. Not really sure what workout goals to set for 2019 – the only race I’m registered for is the Get in Gear 10K in April and I’d really like to participate in the Bike to Work challenge again in May. Beyond that, I just want to stay consistent all year and not have any big gaps in my charts (which happened twice in 2018). It would be nice to return to regular weekly runs with WeRunMpls once the ice melts and I’d love to reschedule a ski trip for next season (Banff, Colorado or Schweitzer). Lots of golf outings to schedule with people too.
The doctors cleared a return to air travel already, but money and time will be limited. The original plan was to give each person in our family a trip for their respective milestone birthday in 2019, but all of those plans are on hold for the time being. Most likely options? A quick Las Vegas trip after the Final Four and maybe a work trip to the annual Cisco conference, which is in San Diego this year (June 9-13). And of course Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in both Florida and California this year, but that will likely fall in the Tokyo/Lanai/Switzerland dream trip category for the time being.
With the Vikings season over, my job shifts focus to the Final Four on April 6th and 8th. We have four large events before then (two trade shows and two dirt shows), but there is a lot to do before “the road ends” in Minneapolis. Then we get to break down that setup for Garth Brooks and his sold-out stadium tour before prepping for Summer X Games (version 3.0). Since X Games moves to early August, there won’t be a lot of time between that and football pre-season. With all that work to do, maybe I should start daydreaming again about building a tiny cabin on the North Shore to escape to with the family…
Wow, how lucky am I to be writing this post? Happy New Year to all of you – may 2019 be full of love, health and prosperity!Originally published by DK on January 1, 2019 at 6:04 pm
Let’s do this thing, 2019Originally published by DK on December 31, 2018 at 9:01 pm
Decembers have not been kind to the Smith side of the family. Eleven years ago, I lost my grandmother Helen Smith on the day after Christmas. In 2013, my grandfather Donald Smith passed away on December 30th. Last year, my mom died on December 22nd. This year, we learned that my mom’s brother Greg passed away early Christmas morning in Spokane, Washington.
Uncle Greg was kind, generous, funny and progressive. He grew up in Minnesota and went to law school here before heading west. He briefly led my dream life as a ski bum, running chair lifts at Schweitzer and living in the slope-side Tamarack condo that I would visit every spring break from age nine through college. Later, I would bring both daughters to visit several times (one time via Amtrak’s Empire Builder and one time in the Mini Cooper). He was hired by the city of Spokane as an attorney and eventually became a hearing examiner before retiring. I vaguely remember his old house in the valley and vividly remember the blue house up the hill from downtown on 8th. He had a fondness for old station wagons (VW and Volvo) and I’m not sure if he ever bought a new car from a dealer.
Greg was very active and definitely helped shape my love of skiing and running. The spring break trips were great, as my mom worked for the airlines and I could fly to Spokane for free (I also loved that the Spokane airport code was GEG). Schweitzer didn’t always have the best snow cover in the spring, but there was always plenty of sunshine and I usually returned to school red as a lobster. As I recently posted, frequent stops at The Station House restaurant were a given and I’m pretty sure I wore out the Lee Oskar cassette tape Before the Rain.
Greg’s birthday was two days after Christmas (he would’ve been 72 tomorrow), which was just close enough to usually get the shaft as far as dual celebrations go. He was always so generous with my brother and sister, though, opening Spokane bank accounts that he always deposited money in every Christmas and birthday. When each of us turned 18, he would present a large check that we could use for college, new skis or whatever we wanted. Later, he did the same thing for my girls (he was also MK’s godfather).
I didn’t make it out to Spokane much outside of winter, but do remember running the Bloomsday 12K race with him in 1996 (he ran almost every year with a big group of friends). Speaking of friends, Greg had a million of them. It was impossible to walk around the lodge at Schweitzer without a ton of people stopping to say hi. Greg never married, but had several girlfriends I met over the years and his long friendship with the Barbieri family was special. I also seem to remember playing golf at Indian Canyon one year and having dinner downtown at Clinkerdagger, Bickerstaff and Petts (which apparently goes by just Clinkerdagger these days).
Thanks, Greg – you will be dearly missed…❤️
Passed away early on Christmas Day, 2018 after a stroke. He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Helen Smith and older sister Karen Kingsbury. Survived by bother Jeff (Joyce Riestenberg-Smith) and sisters Stacey Kohner (Richard) and Linda Arcand (David) and brother-in-law Michael Kingsbury. Nieces and nephews: David Kingsbury (Colleen), Brian Kingsbury (Patty), Lynn Kingsbury, Thomas Smith (Jean), Peter Smith, Laura (Aaron) Moser; great grandnieces and nephews Sasha, Marisa, Arianna, Galen, Wyatt and Ethan. Greg was born and grew up in St. Paul, went to Central High School (’64) and then to the University of Minnesota. He loved sports and the outdoors and spent 7 summers on the staff at YMCA Camp St. Croix. At the U, Greg was very active in The Kappa Sigma Fraternity, playing IM sports, acting in Campus Carnival shows, and singing in a University Chorus. He went on to the U’s Law School, graduating in 1972. After spending 2 years, working for a judge in Winona, Greg and a group of friends headed west, looking for new professional and recreational challenges. The group found Sandpoint Idaho and Spokane Washington, and after passing the bar in both states, Greg went to work for the city of Spokane. He was an Administrative Law Judge when he retired in 2013. Greg said he never regretted moving west. Spokane seemed a perfect size to him, and he enjoyed the cultural and sporting opportunities available. He loved the Blooms Day runs in the spring and Skiing at Schweitzer in the winter and in between there were rivers, lakes and trails to explore by foot, canoe or bike. Greg was a very social person. When he was younger, he volunteered regularly with Big Brothers. He met people easily and developed a large base of friends for book clubs, traveling or just general good times. He was also very active in supporting social causes. Those supported ranges from Doctors Without Borders to the Humane Society. Greg’s last years were hard. He battled depression and health issues and in the end he couldn’t defeat them. As a memorial to Greg please make a donation to a cause you feel needs support. He’d be proud of you. A private family memorial has been held.
Published in Pioneer Press on May 19, 2019
I’m oldOriginally published by DK on December 25, 2018 at 2:07 pm
The holidays are still toughOriginally published by DK on December 23, 2018 at 7:20 pm
Quick update from the medical professionals this week on my recovery. I had two appointments this week, one with my occupational therapist and a rare one-on-one visit with my neurovascular surgeon, Dr. Tummala. He has been named a “Top Doctor” with Mpls.St.Paul Magazine three years in a row and only visits HCMC one half day a month, so this was a special treat to get to talk with him in person.
Good news to report on all fronts: the therapist has reduced my appointments from once a week to once every other week, Dr. Tummala was pleased with my progress and approved me to start running on the treadmill, OK’d air travel and said my eyes look like they will be strong enough in another three months to not need glasses at all. We went over the results of the recent MRI and looked at a lot of scans that showed the aneurysm and the stents. I learned more about “prominent infundibulums” and why they are important to what happened to me. I should also get to stop taking the new medications they added when I left the hospital by March. So good news all around.
The only sad thing this week was the letter I received from my primary care doctor, Dr. Amal Chaniara, which said he is leaving Allina Health at the end of the year. Dr. Chaniara has been wonderful and I wish him the best of luck with his future career opportunities. He is a great doctor who really took the time to discuss things with me and I will miss seeing him.
Lastly, big shout out to the HCMC cafeteria (see above). Hospital food gets a bad rap in general, but the food and service at the cafeteria has been great. Reasonable prices, friendly staff and a wide selection of options mean I usually stop in after appointments in the new building to grab a quick bite. Not sure they always follow the latest health guidelines when it comes to what they offer, but that’s fine by me…Originally published by DK on December 22, 2018 at 10:44 am
Never thought I’d ever say that – first two miles backOriginally published by DK on December 22, 2018 at 10:32 am
Super Bowl, Vikings, then all recovery shotsOriginally published by DK on December 13, 2018 at 4:11 pm
Scene of my incident; artwork in the new Hennepin Healthcare buildingOriginally published by DK on December 6, 2018 at 12:16 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
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 happy to see the eye doctorOriginally published by DK on November 23, 2018 at 2:34 pm
Quicker than the train (at least to HCMC)Originally published by DK on November 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Speak only if it improves upon the silence…Originally published by DK on November 18, 2018 at 12:30 am
Feel like it’s almost time to revisit Paisley ParkOriginally published by DK on November 15, 2018 at 10:00 pm
I think this is about as good as I get (pre- or post-incident)Originally published by DK on November 15, 2018 at 6:53 pm
The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of people going by. I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do. They’re really saying I love you…Originally published by DK on November 13, 2018 at 1:45 pm
Stopped in at work after my HCMC appointmentOriginally published by DK on November 12, 2018 at 5:15 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…
Luna has been wonderfulOriginally published by DK on November 4, 2018 at 6:58 pm
It’s been awesome to be home this week, but there are still some big challenges. My primary remaining issue is double vision, which I’m dealing with via eye patches and occupational therapy exercises (I’ll see a developmental ophthalmologist the day after Thanksgiving). Thankfully, I haven’t had any headaches or stroke symptoms, which would mean another trip to the emergency room. Today was the first day in three days that I took Tylenol (mainly eye pain). My hearing issues are gone and most food tastes normal again (VERY thankful for this). I’ve been trying to keep up with a modest walking schedule and started wearing my Apple Watch again. I’m anxious to get back to work, but I’m also mindful of the process to be cleared to return to work, which will include more outpatient therapy and reminders from my physician team to not rush things.
I’d like to take a minute to thank all of you who have been following along with this adventure – it’s so heartwarming to read comments, emails and texts, along with phone calls and in-person visits from people I’ve known for years and people I haven’t had contact with in years. With assistance from my very talented daughter, we should have some cool things to mail out to people in the next few weeks. The financial support shown in the GoFundMe campaign is greatly appreciated and has helped relieve my anxiety about what’s going to happen between now and my return to work. And Colleen, Sasha and Marisa have been amazing – much love to the three of them. ❤️
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
Lowertown walkiesOriginally published by DK on October 31, 2018 at 4:36 pm