On this Valentine's Day, Glen Robertson returned to his position as Mayor after a brief absence during a medical emergency. This is the story of some lessons he learned:
"I just got a gut feeling that something's not right," he told us, curled up on his couch with a blanket over his knees. After speaking at a Lion's Club luncheon on January 22nd, Mayor Glen Robertson drove straight to the doctor. LIke many in his situation, he told the doctor he felt silly being there until Dr. John Zias, a Cardiologist at Covenant, told him, "You've already had a heart attack and a fairly significant one. It looks from the EKG that there's been quite a bit of damage."
Dr. Zias says that an angiogram revealed there was 100% blockage in an artery that supplies the bottom of the heart, 90% blockage to the front of the heart and 85% blockage to the back of the heart. Many would be surprised at the mayor's heart condition since he appears so fit. He doesn't smoke. His cholesterol and blood pressure are controlled. He's slender and likes to eat right and exercise.
But, Glen knows now that even with a healthy lifestyle, you can not ignore one thing.
Dr. Zias explains, "Family history is a significant factor, especially in him."
Glen says his father had a heart attack at age 52. His brother had a heart attack at 49 and their mother had heart disease. Glen's wake up call comes at age 54. Dr. Zias says Glen was lucky this time. "He may not have survived if he had had another one."
So, the mayor started rehab this week. He'll wear a monitor and electrodes as he rebuilds his heart muscle… and recovers from a surgery that literally cut the sternum in half so that surgeons could spread it apart for triple bypass surgery. We were there for his first rehab session at Covenant's Lifestyles Center. He'll repeat that "workout" 3 times a week for 12 weeks. The night after that first session, Glen told us from his comfortable spot on that couch, "I worked out for 8 minutes on 3 different machines at a very slow level. I came home and was exhausted!"
Now, barely 3 weeks after his open heart surgery, Mayor Robertson returns to the council with 3 lessons learned:
First…. LIFE IS SHORT.
He says "I'm not as immortal as I was 3 weeks ago. I know I'm not as bullet proof."
The second lesson….
FAMILY HISTORY CAN NOT BE IGNORED.
He explains that he is taking his family history more seriously now and all of his 3 sons should do the same.
DON'T SWEAT THE LITTLE THINGS.
Mayor Robertson says he's learned that it's often the big things we can handle, but it's the little things that we let get under our skin. He says he knows now that what's more important in life is family... taking care of family business... and enjoying life.....and not letting the little things get to me.
An angiogram can't tell doctors exactly when Glen had his heart attack.
But he thinks he's figured it out.
He says he thinks it came late last month, during his State of the City Address.
"I was standing 45 minutes behind that podium and I broke out in a cold sweat, and felt nausea," he explains. "I felt terrible!"
Dr. Zias says a cold sweat is an important clue, adding, "That sounds like that could have been the heart attack that he didn't recognize. Cold sweat is an important sign."
The mayor's wife, Karen, says "We are so very blessed and so very thankful that he did go to the doctor. They did catch it in time. Because the next one would have been a fatal one… and we wouldn't be here today."
So, here it is Valentine's Day and the mayor is back on the council dias.
What happened to taking care of family business?
"We'll celebrate Valentine's Day on Friday night", he grinned