This week’s “Art World” is a very personal one, but also one which involves you, my friends on Facebook, and in real life. So please allow me to express my feelings as they come directly from the heart.
Five years ago today, December 3, 2014, was a day the good Lord gave me another chance to continue living my life. On that day while driving from Tampa to the NightMoves office in Palm Harbor, I began having pains in my chest and side, was sweating up a storm and felt very shaky. Somehow I made it to the office and when Paul Allen saw me he knew something was wrong. I was gray as a ghost, wringing wet and still in pain. But being the stubborn German that I am I thought it was a very bad stomach ache, just have some coffee and a cigarette and I’ll be fine I said. Paul and I argued about me going to the ER but I said no. Finally, still in bad pain, I agreed and a few minutes later I was in the care of Paramedics on the way to the hospital.
Turns out I was having what is called a Widowmaker heart attack, where only one out of every four make it and survive. Needless to say they worked on me and put in stents and kept me in the hospital for what was going to be 5-7 days, but I was released to go home after 3 ½, the recovery had gone so well. I would find out after the surgery and everything they did that I had only a 30-45 minute window to make it or not. That half hour I wasted arguing with Paul almost cost me.
Once word got out in the industry and on Facebook, the amount of love, good karma, messages of support and the love I received from all of you, plus people I didn’t even know, gave me the biggest boost of confidence to get through this have ever had and I THANK ALL OF YOU for helping me get through a very scary, tough time. Without that love and support I am not sure how it might have gone. That said, there are some very special people I want to thank for being right there by my side every step of the way, Paul and Tracy Allen, the entire Cianci family, Vern, Gail and Scotty and the most important person in my life, the love of my life who makes every day even more special, Carole Tutko.
Today on the 5th Anniversary, I am very happy to say I am healthier now than I have ever been and everything is working in top shape, I am enjoying life more than ever and looking forward to many more years working, doing what I love and being around all the people I love in the industry and in my private life.
One more important thing. This life changing event got me to finish a book I had been working on for a few years and get it published. It was very ironic and fitting that not only was the book published by Richter Publishing but released one year later, on December 3, 2015. It is titled “When Swing Was King” and available through Amazon.com , BarnesandNoble.com and BooksaMillion.com. (Self plug!)
One more time I extend my sincere thanks to you all for being an important part of my life before, and my new life since. It’s been a hell of a great ride and I have been truly blessed in more ways than you will ever know.
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN