Stephan Schwartz: My Heart Attack
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As many of you know, Stephan Schwartz provides an informative news service
that tracks the same kind of main stream and alternative issues that we do.
On Wednesday, January 15, a message was posted on Stephan's website
indicating that he was in the hospital. Two days later, Katherine Schwartz
posted a follow up message indicating that Stephan suffered a heart attack,
but that he hoped to return to work by the weekend. What follows is
Stephan's account of the incident, along with a few important insights and
--- David Sunfellow
MY HEART ATTACK
By Stephan Schwartz
The Schwartz Report
Monday, January 20, 2003
It began about 10:30 p.m. with tingling in my hands, as I sat working at my
computer last Saturday night. This quickly escalated to a weird kind of
throbbing as if I had vibrators on my palms. A sense of deep unnatural
discomfort, more unpleasant than painful spread over my body. I knew what
it was, although I don't know how I knew. I went to the bathroom and ate
four aspirin, then to the phone and called my primary care physician and
friend John Waitekus whom I knew to be dining that night with another
friend, Michael Reidy. They were at John's just a few blocks away.
"I'm in trouble. Call the 911 EMT, and come immediately," was all I could
get out before collapsing on my bed. They were there in minutes followed
just a few minutes later by the ambulance. It was less a question of pain
than deep unpleasantness, and I was very agitated. Within probably less
than two minutes I was in the ambulance and they were starting an IV.
Within 35 minutes I was through the ER and into surgery where they
discovered that one artery just 30 per cent occluded had become unstable,
and that another artery, was 90 per cent closed, although stable. I woke up
about 3 a.m. in a hospital bed feeling weak but o.k. The nurse came in and
told me what had been done, about the stent now keeping the 30 per cent
blocked artery open, and that I was very fortunate to not have any permanent
I tell this story here, and now, not only to answer the many emails I have
received asking what happened, but because in sharing it I hope to emphasis
what may seem dry and abstract: The importance of preparation in that
critical first hour of a cardiovascular event, and in the months before.
Perhaps others, with similar problems, will use my experience to reassess
their own situations.
I work against bad genes in this part of my physiology. I've known this for
years. I am older now than my father, who died at 58 from a similar event,
when I was only 24. His death scared me into taking exercise and attention
to diet seriously, and those decades of attention since have paid off. My
blood chemistry is all within normal range as a result of his sacrifice.
And that gave me a margin of safety last week. Everything you have read or
heard about exercise and diet is true, but not necessarily in the way it is
usually explained. Being in good physical condition, like having good
equipment in a dangerous dive or parachute jump, gives you something extra
with which to work. It increases your chance of pulling through.
Having aspirin in an easily accessible fixed location makes a difference,
because it becomes disorienting to move around or think, and lying down not
only makes it easier on your body, but makes it less likely you will do
something stupid or potentially hurtful during the course of searching for
what you need.
Call at the first symptoms, instead of dismissing them as bad heartburn, or
muscle strain. What no one ever told me is how unnatural a heart attack
feels. If you will listen to your body, without ego, there is no mistaking
a heart attack for muscle strain, which I know well. If there is a doubt
err on the side of looking foolish. It is far easier to regain face than
Finally, I think I came through as well as I did not only because of being
in good condition, being prepared, and getting first rate medical attention
very early in the course of this insult, but also because of the Therapeutic
Intent of friends throughout the world, who quickly began to send me
healing energy. This influence may be subtle but, I believe, it is very
My deepest thanks and appreciation to all of you who participated in this
healing. You, along with John Waitekus, M.D., Michael Reidy, the EMTs of
Virginia Beach, and the staff of Virginia Beach General Hospital,
particularly John Kennerson, M.D., saved my life, and I am in your debt.
Please learn from the blazes on the trail I have left so that if you pass
this way you may have some small margin of increased safety.
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