‘Detour Dan’ explains extended absence from KTAR News, return plans
It’s been about a month since Dan Beach last appeared on the airwaves of KTAR News 92.3 FM.
Beach, known by many across the state as “Detour Dan,” suffered a stroke in May. A second stroke about 10 days later has delayed Beach’s return to the radio station.
“That’s where I’ve been,” Beach said in an interview Tuesday. “That means hospitals, seeing doctors, physical therapists. It’s just been kind of a slow process getting back.”
Beach, who will enter his 29th year giving traffic updates at KTAR News in July, spoke with KTAR News Director Martha Maurer to give an update on his condition and when he expects to return to the station. Here is a summary of the interview:
Q: Walk us through what’s happened up until today and where you’re going from here.
A: It’s easy for me to remember when it happened because it was the day after Mother’s Day (May 13). We had just gone out and I had actually just gone to TopGolf for the first time in my life. I felt so good about how we spent the day. My daughter’s boyfriend even took a video of me hitting the golf ball. It was the first time I had swung a golf club in about a year and I was pretty excited about golfing soon. The next morning, I drove to work and started to suffer from some symptoms that were out of the ordinary. I started to sweat, my left leg and left arm started misbehaving. Thank goodness I drive with my right foot and right hand, so I got where I was going. After I got to work, I walked up a flight of stairs and that was like Mount Everest trying to get up. My left leg didn’t want to work, my left arm didn’t want to work. When I did get up there, I still kept telling myself it was OK and whatever this was would blow over. I wasn’t using my brain at that moment — literally. It wasn’t until I grabbed my coffee cup to get my morning cup of hot chocolate that I noticed my lips didn’t work either. At that point, I figured I better go tell somebody. That’s when I walked down the hallway from my little studio to the newsroom and this lovely lady, Martha Maurer, was tending the news desk. She turned out to be my angel in my pocket.
Q: You came to me and you told me “I don’t want to scare you, but there is something wrong.”
A: I started worrying that I wasn’t going to be able to go on the air. I think your common sense kicked in to call 9-1-1, but being the manly man I was trying to be, that was not necessary. That took about two seconds for you to change my mind and it was a good thing. My blood pressure was 220/110. I had never had a blood pressure issue in my life. Later that morning after being transported to St. Joseph’s, that’s where it was determined that I had a stroke.
Q: There were a lot of paramedics who came here and helped you. What was going through your mind in that moment?
A: First of all, there was denial. I didn’t want to think there was anything wrong. Stroke was a bad word for me. My mother had actually suffered from one. I felt fear and anxiety but oddly enough, there was no pain. More fear than anything else.
Q: At what point did the denial end and you realize this was something serious and something that was going to take a little while to recover from?
A: It was later that day. The neurologist came to my bed side and told me I had a stroke. I was arguing with my wife five minutes before that I didn’t know I had a stroke. I had to let down all of my guard and my toughness and trying to put on a show and then the pity party ensued.
Q: You stayed at the hospital for a few days. What happened there and when you were able to go home?
A: Everybody kept telling me how lucky I was, even on the first day. I didn’t really have much use of my leg or my arm at that time. By day two, I was ready to go home. That’s really what happened. After two days, I was able to go home. I was told I was going to need some therapy and take some time to connect dots, but I was prepared for that. But what I wasn’t prepared for what round two. Roughly 10 days later, I was sitting on my couch late at night, ready to go to bed and my left leg, arm and everything went numb again. It was a scary moment again. The comeback has been a little bit harder this time. The goal is just trying to get back to where I want to be.
Q: What are your next steps? When do you think you’ll be back in the studio?
A: I’m thinking positive. We don’t want anymore setbacks. They still don’t know why they happened and that’s the scary thing. We don’t know if it will happen again. If it does, that could set me back again. I know I can come back again, I know I can be strong again. There are no guarantees of that of course, but I have a positive attitude.
Q: You have a lot of fans. What do you want to say to everybody that’s reached out asking where you’ve been?
A: First of all, thank you for asking and that you care enough to ask. I’ve been intentionally laying low for various reasons. I thank everybody for being patient and waiting it out for me to have this moment with you and express it all. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.