For those of you who may not be familiar with the details of my personal life, I died a few weeks ago. That’s me in the picture above just hanging out in an induced coma. You see, my heart stopped beating on the basketball court and I went into cardiac arrest. My dad had also suffered from massive cardiac arrest at age 45 but I had no idea I would beat him by six years and have one @ 39. He unfortunately did not have the luxury of dying twice. So what’s it like to die and come back and how am I even writing about dying two weeks to the day after it occurred?
1. The guys who I played basketball with knew CPR and took action IMMEDIATELY after I collapsed
2. There just so happens to be a defibrillator on the premises
3. There just so happens to be a hospital almost literally around the corner from where I had the event
Of course all that means nothing. I could’ve just as easily ended up dead or woken up a drooling, useless turnip (WTF is a turnip?) with no control of bodily functions who could barely sign his name, which was actually the case after I came to. I was asked to sign a release document the day after I came to and the best I could muster up was an “X” like a caveman. Most sufferers of cardiac arrest do not survive and certainly do not survive with all brain and cognitive functions intact. For whatever reason however and thankfully, that was not my case. According to the doctors, nurses, physical therapists and multiple healthcare professionals, I made somewhat of a miraculous recovery. It is quite frightening to hear those who are professionally schooled and trained in medicine attribute your recovery to a “miracle.”
In order for me to even have a fighting chance, I had to be kept in an induced coma. While in said coma, everything was done from literally freezing my extremities with ice to pumping me full of a drug cocktail including the one that killed the King of Pop (Propofol). It would seem that my blood pressure was exceeding Ferrari test drive levels and I had to stay induced or risk the occurrence of a stroke. The adverse effects of all these drugs were some of the freakiest nightmares I have ever experienced in my life. Why the hell was I being chased by the Blue Man Group? Why the hell was I being chased by those little skeletons and Viking men in the Game of War commercials? Why the hell was I jousting with Nerf swords while riding racing dogs on a track? I blame the drugs.
I find it hilarious that my first words after I came to were “Let me go.” Where exactly was I going? As previously stated, I literally couldn’t walk or use the bathroom on my own. Never mind the upper respiratory failure as a result of the pneumonia one gets when one swallows one’s own vomit. I say all that to say that although “Let me go” was quite an illogical request, the fact that I was awake and using words was a welcome sight for all who were there.
The most overwhelming part of this ordeal wasn’t going into cardiac arrest, dying, being revived, being in a coma and walking out of the hospital two weeks to the day after all that occurred (I went in on a Tuesday, woke up the following Tuesday, and was discharged the Tuesday after that). The craziest part to me was the amount of people who were genuinely in my corner. The fact that the hospital overflowed with friends and family from my room and into the hallways every single day until I woke up and days after is unbelievable. I mean I of course have close friends and family as do most but it was not the typical 5-6 people. 20-30 (and I may be understating but I’m trying not to seem arrogant) folk daily were holding vigil. I basically got to attend my own funeral while still alive. There were friends from elementary school, summer camps, high school, college, current and former places of employment, etc… It was (and still is) beyond my comprehension. When I was told I have “amazing friends” and an awesome support system, my Aunt quickly responded without batting an eyelash “It’s because you are a good friend to a lot of people.”
I have since acquired some hilarious nicknames as a result of surviving cardiac arrest and having an Arc Reactor (defibrillator) permanently installed in my chest. Names like The Iron African, Bruce Leroy, Lazarus and, of course, Tony Stark.
So what was death like? Did I see the white light? Is Jesus cool? Did I see Biggie? Is he still nice? What piece of advice could a dead guy possibly have for the living? The answer to those questions are A) dying sucks but only for those left behind to mourn B) yes I did but it was the white light in my hospital room C) Jesus is mad chill but has a bit of a temper D) Biggie will always be nice (I didn’t see Tupac anywhere though… hmm…).
As for my advice to the living of which I am happy to still be a member, it is simply this; no one cared that I wasn’t married or didn’t have kids. No one cared that I had never been to Europe. My family and friends simply wanted me to wake up normal. My quality of life will not be determined by a completion of anyone’s bucket list, including and especially my own. It will be determined by how I’ve treated people my entire life and I am PROUD to say that based on that, my life has been an amazing success thus far and I cannot wait to continue to be a good person to all. Also, I saw the Black Messiah (Morgan Freeman) and he told me to keep the salt and pepper beard. I am now the most interesting man in the world, dead and alive.
Sidebar; To the guys on the court and the staff of New York Presbyterian and Cornell Medical, I have no words and there are no words that can adequately express my gratitude for literally saving my life. Although not nearly enough, all I can say is thank you. Sidebar Complete.
Sidebar 2: To the asshole at Boston Scientific who didn’t even let the anesthesia fully wear off before entering my operating room and instructing me on how to setup their arc reactor installed 15 minutes prior, you really couldn’t wait until I made it back to my room to close the sale? Like I said, you sir are an asshole! Also, the business side of healthcare is quite a disgusting practice and should probably be socialized. Sidebar Complete!
Sidebar 3: LEARN CPR! You may save someone’s life one day (like mine for instance). Sidebar Complete.
Rest Easy Eric Curran a.k.a M.C Krispy E
Almost every year for the past 6 years and on the same day, I’ve posted the same pic of me in the hospital during my temporary and untimely demise in 2015. A few weeks after I was back to “normal”, I asked Eric “Why’d you take the pics?” And he said, “I knew you would want to write about it if you lived.” Eric was right. Eric was often right and Eric always had my best interest at heart. I am going to miss my friend.
You ever meet someone and become friends immediately?! Well this was not the case with Eric. Before he was my manager at Morgan Stanley, I would often see this 6’4″, giant white guy walk up to the only black woman at work, say something then walk away without any hint of human emotion. Naturally I thought he was a jerk until I asked her “Yo, is that dude bothering you?” She laughed and proceeded to tell me he was a great person, which I ultimately got to experience first hand. Little did I know this Italian from Staten Island was more Brooklyn than most Brooklynites.
Eric was not with the shits!! If there were ever someone who lived their life in direct, honest and no uncertain terms, that would be Eric. He would ask me questions at work like “Why are the other consultants making more money than you?” I knew the answer to that question and so did he. Eric then proceeded to increase my salary by 15K. After arguing with all our managers that “You need to hire Alfred!”, they eventually did 1 year prior to the 2015 incident. In the hospital, one of my friends asked me, “What if you didn’t have health insurance when this happened?” I would be in debt for the rest of my life is the obvious answer. I still am in debt for the rest of my life but at least, it is to those who made sure I had a more enjoyable life and for that, I will gladly repay.
My mom loved to tell me the story of how she met Eric. After they told her I was going to be in the ICU for some time, she told the doctor “Well I’m not going anywhere.” She then hears a voice from that back of the room that says “Well I’m not going anywhere either!” That was Eric and in true form, he was at that hospital every single day until I was discharged.
Eric passed away in December 2021 of stage 4 cancer. After feeling faint on his way to my bbq, he went to get checked out and was diagnosed. During the past 5 years, Eric lost his mom, twin brother and dad. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have felt like but I’m glad that pain he was feeling is no more.
From being my manager to my business partner, writer, book editor, artistic director, and most importantly, my friend, I am going to miss you MC Krispy E a.k.a “Enrique Pollazo!” And although you told me Enrique means Henry in Spanish and not Eric, it was too late!
Sidebar. The day I was discharged, while everyone was deciding what was best for me, no one had remembered that I would need clothes in order to leave the hospital. Eric shows up (unasked) with all the clothes I had on the day I coded, laundered and ready to go. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve friends like this but i need to keep doing it! Sidebar complete.
Rest in Peace Eric. “Be Good.”
Writing Your First Book / Should I Self Publish?
I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a panel discussion on writing your first book, presented by the Harlem chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Alongside Jim St. Germain, Author – A Stone of Hope: A Memoir and Dr. Keneshia Nicole Grant, Author – The Great Migration and the Democratic Party: Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century. We opined on pain points, benefits and strategies regarding our inaugural voyages into authorship. Feel free to watch for your self and I hope this provides some insight to all those looking to make the same voyage. Enjoy!
What the NFT is a BEEPLE?
On March 11 this year, the digital artist Beeple sold a collage of digital images from his “Everydays” series for nearly 70 million dollars as an NFT, or non-fungible token. And if that sentence confuses you, you’re not alone.
A non-fungible token is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a blockchain, where each NFT can represent a unique digital item, and thus they are not interchangeable. NFTs can represent digital files such as art, audio, video, and other forms of creative work. While the digital files themselves are infinitely reproducible, the NFTs representing them are tracked on their underlying blockchains and provide buyers with proof of ownership.” – Wikipedia
Still confused? Let the artist himself explain it, and learn how he went from NFT newbie to making the third most expensive artwork by a living artist in three months. Not to suggest Beeple is an overnight success. The “Everydays” series alone involved creating a piece of art every day since May 1, 2007 – and he hasn’t missed a day.
Check out some of Beeple’s amazing and controversial work below.