I would like to share with you what has happened to me since the last time I was in New Orleans and what WWOZ means to me.
I am a band director who has 30 years of teaching experience. At the end of the 2006-07 school year, I started to feel congested. My wife tried to get me to go to the doctor. I refused because of concerts, grades, and shutting school down. I could always go next week. To shorten what happened, I went from strep, to cellulitis and pneumonia, to sepsis and toxic shock syndrome, multiple organ failure, and MRSA. I was given less than a 10% chance of survival. I spent three months in the hospital, running up a $750,000 tab.
After I learned how to walk again, I was sent home for an uncertain length of recovery time. All I knew was that I would not start the new school year. I had two pressure wounds that would have to be treated before I could even consider returning to work. I was anemic and my walking was very unstable, even with a walker.
As the months went on, my wife expressed concern that she felt I was becoming depressed. I could not imagine why she would think that. After all, I was staying by myself alone all day while she taught. I did not have access to the computer. I had already grown tired of daytime (and nighttime) TV while I was in the hospital. I did not know whether I would be able to return to my life's work, teaching music. Why should I be depressed?
In November, I finally got to the point that I could climb the stairs and get to the computer. I did this without telling my wife. She would have given me grief for climbing the stairs while I was alone. The first thing I did was to turn 'OZ on, and I kept it on while she was at work. I had to turn it off when she called to let me know she was on the way home. Two things happened when I could turn the web radio on. (1) I did not turn the TV on at all and (2) more important, my wife said I did not seem depressed anymore.
I could enjoy being able to spend my day in New Orleans by way of 'OZ. My wife figured out by the Winter Break that I had been going upstairs and turning on the web radio. It did not matter. I was getting around better. My attitude was better. By early February, my doctor said that I could go back to work at the end of the month. I started back on the 25th. One concern I had was the "withdrawals" that I would experience from not getting to listen to 'OZ all day.
During the 2006 Jazz Fest, the t-shirts had the slogan "the healing power of music" on them. They could have said the same thing for 'OZ. There is no doubt that WWOZ played a major role in my long recovery, just as it did in New Orleans' recovery after Katrina.
I would especially like to compliment Bill DeTurk and Bob French. There was never a dull moment listening to their shows. I looked forward to their shows. Bill also took the time to talk to me when I called. It was welcomed human contact. I am looking forward to the Jazz Fest and spending time in the hospitality area.
Thank you, your staff, and the volunteers for all that you do.