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106: Robb Has a Heart Attack

Jun 21, 2022

Despite years of healthy living that is downright enviable, listener Robb recently had a life-threatening "turning point" that has left him with a new appreciation for his health. Hear one man's experience with a heart attack and the change in attitude it's inspired in his own life.

Episode Transcript

This content was originally created for audio. Some elements such as tone, sound effects, and music can be hard to translate to text. As such, the following is a summary of the episode and has been edited for clarity. For the full experience, we encourage you to subscribe and listen— it's more fun that way.

Mitch: The turning point, a point break, an aha moment. That final moment in time where the status quo has become unsustainable and we know we must finally make a change.

We've all experienced that kind of experience in our lives at one point or another. And when it comes to the turning point in our health, it can be as tame as looking into the mirror at that bit of growing belly fat and changing one's diet to a bit of blood work that leads to changing your activity level. But in some cases, something a little bit more serious can happen. And today, we'll be talking with one of our listeners who just recently experienced one heck of a turning point.

This is "Who Cares about Men's Health," where we aim to give you a little inspiration, motivation, and perhaps a different interpretation of your health. I'm Producer Mitch, and bringing the BS as always is Scot Singpiel.

Scot: Man, I love these turning point stories because I think we all can learn from them. So I look forward to hearing what Robb's is.

Mitch: I know, and it's been a while since we've done one of these, so it's kind of exciting. And bringing the MD to our trio is Dr. Troy Madsen. How are you today, Troy?

Troy: Doing well, Mitch.

Mitch: And joining us today is my friend and listener, Robb. Hey there, Robb. How are you doing today?

Robb: Hey. I'm really good, Mitch. Thank you very much.

Mitch: Now, Robb, before we get into your turning point, I want to get a little bit about you kind of before that, maybe ask how old you are.

Robb: Yeah, I am 51.

Mitch: Great. And what do you do for work?

Robb: I am a marketing director actually, manage an in-house creative agency for the company I work for. Been doing that actually for decades, but a new company starting about two and a half years ago.

Mitch: On a day-to-day, is your work really stressful? Do you end up sitting around a lot? Just trying to figure out how is your health in relationship to your work?

Robb: Yeah, I have always had pretty high-stress jobs, high-stress positions. I've found myself usually working . . . A 40-hour workweek is not a thing for me.

Mitch: It's like vacation.

Robb: Yeah, exactly. I mean, I've always worked 50-plus hours a week. I don't work as long hours or days as I used to maybe 10, 15 years ago, but it's still a 50-, 55-hour week.

Mitch: And here on "Who Cares," we have a thing called the Core Four. It's the four things that if you really have tuned in, you'll have a healthy life. And so I just want to check in. You're a handsome fit guy. You look really good for your age.

Robb: Well, thank you.

Mitch: You're welcome. Because it's an audio medium, I'm trying to draw totally a picture here, right? Okay. So how would you say your activity is day-to-day?

Robb: Before or after?

Mitch: Before. Let's talk before.

Robb: Yeah. So even though, again, I work a lot . . . I enjoy what I do, by the way. But I'd still find time before, in the evenings, to go to the gym, to run. Years ago, I meditated and I practiced yoga, and honestly stopped that about seven years ago. But still tried to stay active. I enjoy hiking during the winter here in Utah. One of the reasons I moved here from Florida seven years ago was for the skiing. So I've always been active from my late teens, early 20s through where I am today. Yeah, I'm very active. Try to do something outside active about five, six days a week.

Mitch: Wow. That's more than I do. And how about your nutrition? What's your diet like? Is it pretty healthy or eating burgers every day?

Robb: Yeah, again, that's something . . . I think pretty healthy. I will say that it's healthier now. But yeah, there were a few years where . . . I was a vegetarian for maybe three to four years. And that was maybe, in terms of nutrition, the healthiest that I've ever been.

But yeah, I still would go out to eat maybe a couple times a week, but I tried to eat at home more often and as many fresh fruits, vegetables as possible. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. But I thought that my diet was pretty decent as well.

Mitch: How about sleep? Get usual, pretty good, eight hours?

Robb: Sleep is almost one thing that I protect somewhat rapidly I think for my sake, but also for other people's sake. If I don't get seven and a half hours of sleep a night . . . I can go lighter from time to time, but I get a little bit nasty, a little bit testy. And I've even had partners in the past and even family members who have expressed beyond envy, even jealousy at how well I sleep. I'm seven and a half to eight hours a night and I sleep soundly also.

Mitch: Ugh.

Robb: Yeah, I know. It's gross.

Mitch: I'm jealous.

Troy: Robb, you're scaring me because I know where this is going. Our listeners don't know yet where this is going, but you sound like a guy who's traditionally been in good shape, very active, eats well, sleeps well. Yeah, you have stress, but everyone has stress with their jobs.

Mitch: Exactly.

Troy: I'm getting nervous just hearing this.

Scot: That's right.

Mitch: Right?

Troy: You're on edge.

Robb: Well, I mean, cholesterol was . . . I don't know about a concern, but my cholesterol has always sat around 200. I remember the first time I had my cholesterol screened when I was in my . . . I think I was 19, maybe 20, and it was like 212 or something when I was young. And it's always been right around that 200 to 220 level. The exception being when I was vegetarian, it was in the high 180s. But it's never been exceptionally low. And that's a little bit of a family history.

Scot: That's just kind of the one thing, huh, Robb? Otherwise healthy, but that cholesterol has been a struggle.

Robb: The cholesterol has been a struggle. And honestly, the past year my primary care doctor and I, we actually meet . . . I do a pretty intense, annual physical, but we still meet on a regular basis throughout the year. And we were working on that and it was probably closer to maybe 230 or so. And I might have gotten around the 210s just by a little bit more focus on diet and exercise, but still, unless I was vegetarian, getting it below 200 has not been possible for me.

Scot: Was that frustrating for you? I mean, you were doing all these things right, and that cholesterol is high like that.

Robb: Yeah. I mean, I even joked . . . I don't even know if rice crackers are still a thing right now, but I'm not going to fall into just eating rice crackers. I did feel like I was taking care of myself with diet and exercise, and at the time, I just really did not want to go on a statin.

Mitch: So I guess what's really frustrating is knowing what's about to happen, when we talk about it, is you seem like such a healthy person. When I hear you talk about "a healthy relationship with my doctor" and "I'm very protective of my sleep," there's legit jealousy where I'm just like, "Why can I not have that?" I'm working towards. It's just like, "Man."

How about Troy? Scot? Anything? I know you guys both know what's about to happen, but any feedback that you're getting from hearing his story?

Troy: I'm curious about your BMI.

Robb: Another previous doctor had commented one point, this was years ago, just how consistent I am stepping on a scale. I am almost always between 174 or 178. I'm 6'1. So relatively lean. And again, physically, I guess I look like I'm in good shape.

But I will tell you smoking nicotine cigarettes probably the past 10 years or so, I picked that up again after stopping when I was in my late 20s. I wasn't a heavy smoker. No more than two packs a week. And even during the past 10 years, there were moments where I quit for two months to even close to a year, but I would start again.

Troy: You're a current smoker?

Robb: I am not now.

Troy: Okay. And again, we'll talk about this turning point, but at the time you were a current smoker at that time?

Robb: Yes.

Troy: So it sounds like your biggest concerns in terms of health were current smoker at that time, and then also sounds like the cholesterol had been a little bit of a struggle. Sounds like the LDL ran on the high side. You were able to get it down a bit on a vegetarian diet, but typically was running high.

Robb: Correct.

Scot: Do you feel like you're getting diagnosed? Because that's exactly what Troy's doing to you right now.

Robb: I'm like, "Who do I direct my co-pay to?"

Troy: Like I said, this is hitting so close to home as I'm hearing your experience and just hearing you're super healthy. You've struggled with cholesterol. These are things we've talked about on the podcast before. I have struggled with cholesterol and I'm not nearly as good as you on the sleep piece of it. That worries me because you were right on it. You're getting sleep consistently and doing well with that and staying very active. And you're 51 years old. You're not old.

Robb: Right.

Scot: But that smoking, man. You probably knew it wasn't good for you. You're doing all the right things otherwise, so why did you do that?

Robb: Absolutely. I think for me it was . . . Yeah, I mentioned moving here, or I think I did, from Florida. I actually moved here for a Ph.D. program in communication at the University of Utah. And few years before that, I had decided to go back to school for a master's in communication when I lived in Florida. And I basically picked it up again after starting school.

Scot: Wow. I just got out of my master's program. Thank goodness I didn't pick up smoking, but I can definitely understand how one could.

Mitch: No, for sure. I definitely picked it back up when I was in my master's program.

Robb: Yeah. And for me, it was a bit of a . . . I don't know. It's a strange thing to say now, but a reward. I would finish some homework, or as a graduate student teaching assistant, I finished some grading, or I just wrote five pages of research or something like that, and it was just a nice, "Let me step outside and enjoy a cigarette."

Troy: Scot, did you have a cigarette equivalent during your master's program?

Scot: Juicy Fruit gum. I chewed it like it was my job. I would put a piece of Juicy Fruit in my mouth and it would . . . Five minutes later, there was another piece following it up. It was just packs and packs and packs.

Mitch: Geez.

Troy: I think we all have that to one degree or another. If we're in a stressful situation, if it's a sugary snack or a soda or cigarette or whatever we find that becomes a rewarding thing that maybe it's not the best thing for our health, but a lot of times it's just coping and getting by.

Mitch: So, Robb, what happened?

Scot: Our audience has just been waiting for this moment.

Troy: "What's going to happen next?"

Scot: "I stubbed my toe and . . ."

Mitch: I stubbed my toe. Yeah.

Robb: Five weeks ago, I out of nowhere had a heart attack. Never saw it coming. I mean, I have no personal history of cardiac disease, and have been searching in my head and have conversations with family and there's no history of cardiac disease on either my mom's or my dad's side of the family either. So it was shocking and surprising to me, as well as to my family and friends.

Troy: What kind of symptoms did you have when you had the heart attack?

Robb: Yeah, so it was Saturday right around noon, and it came on suddenly. I was out running a few errands that morning. I picked up dry cleaning and I was on my way home thinking about, "Am I going to go to the gym?" because I was actually already dressed for the gym. Or maybe grab lunch first.

Brought my dry cleaning in. And there was really, again, no warning, but I felt . . . I only can just describe is what felt like heartburn, which I don't usually get or really ever get, to be honest. But it was also very intense.

And then I would say within . . . I mean, this all happened within minutes, but the next minute brought . . . I had pressure on chest. And then the telltale sign for me was, and it's hard to describe, but my teeth hurt, or maybe more accurately, my gums hurt. I don't know why I did this at the time, but I even went to my bathroom at home and I grabbed one of those floss picks.

Troy: Oh, wow.

Robb: Maybe I just . . . I don't know. There's something in between. I don't know.

Mitch: You started flossing while you were having a heart attack?

Robb: I mean, I didn't know what I was . . . A heart attack doesn't make sense.

Mitch: Okay.

Robb: And then . . .

Troy: That's first time I've heard that.

Robb: I was just trying to ease that pain. And then kind of through my jaw, down both sides of my throat, my neck, and then shoulders, arms, and back. And again, this is all within five minutes. I Googled on my phone symptoms of a heart attack, and it was the jaw pain. Everything else that I just described, I was feeling also, but it was specifically the jaw pain. And when I saw that in particular, that's what kind of confirmed for me that that's what was happening. Even though at the time I still . . . I say confirmed now, but I still didn't want to believe it at the time.

Troy: Did you go to the ER at that point or call an ambulance?

Robb: I did. So I guess answering that directly, I don't want to lie to you guys or your viewers. I did not call an ambulance, but I did get to the ER. I actually drove myself.

Mitch: Oh my god.

Robb: Right? In hindsight, not smart, but again, at the time, even though I kind of checked off all the boxes I was seeing when I did that internet search on what was going on, I still didn't want to believe it. I live 10 minutes maybe from the ER and I just thought, "Well, get in your car, drive. By the time you get there, you're going to feel fine. And you save the ambulance for someone else who actually needs it."

Mitch: Oh my god.

Troy: Sure.

Robb: And when I got there, I did not feel fine.

Troy: Wow.

Scot: Yeah. I can totally relate to that, Robb, because I think I could check all the boxes too, and I'd be like, "Well, I don't want to be a bother." It's so weird how us guys are like that.

Robb: Yeah, I just . . .

Troy: That's true. I would do the same thing, but trust me . . .

Scot: Bad idea?

Troy: No matter what you call the ambulance for, there's someone who has called it for something more minor. So don't feel like you need to reserve it for those who "really need it."

Scot: How long did you have to sit in the waiting room, Robb? Or did they get you right in?

Robb: Fortunately, in my life I haven't visited the emergency room often, but I've always waited a few minutes at least when I do. This time, there was no wait.

Scot: They were taking you seriously, huh?

Robb: Yeah. It's so funny because even walking in, even though I knew, I still was couching my words, like, "I think I might be having . . . I don't know. I have never felt this way." It was hard for me even at the time to say it out loud and to acknowledge that I at least think I'm having a heart attack.

Mitch: I was the exact same way when I had my stroke scare a couple years ago. I walk in, my face is completely paralyzed, and I'm like, "Oh, yeah, so I think maybe I'm having a stroke. I don't know." And again, it wasn't, but there was something very, "Why am I minimizing this? My face isn't moving."

Troy: Yeah. I mean, the good news is triage nurses are well trained and I think they have a lot of experience on both ends of the spectrum, both with people who probably catastrophize things a little bit and then others like yourself who just really downplay it. But they kind of know how to pick out the information they need and it sounds like they were on it and got you right back.

Robb: Yeah.

Troy: And then I guess I'm curious what happened next? Did you have what's called a STEMI, an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, where . . .

Mitch: Oh, yeah, sure. No big.

Troy: Well, you probably knew it if you did, because if you did, they would've had you up in the cardiac catheterization lab within about 10 to 15 minutes.

Robb: No. I was again, admitted, I think very quickly into the ER. I was on a table or bed and hooked up to monitors. I don't remember the specifics, but I do remember my blood pressure being in the 190s over 120 range, and that's never been that way. But yeah, they just were asking me how I was doing.

By that point, honestly, I hate to sound dramatic, but I was writhing in pain. It hurt, and not just my chest, but my body. And I just remember not being able to really sit still. They were talking about the importance of it trying to take deep breaths and trying to calm myself down.

Within a couple hours, the pain started to subside and I started to feel a little better. And I really, to this day, I don't know why, they did give me four baby aspirins. I remember that. And I can't help thinking, because I don't remember getting any other treatment until later that evening, that that must have helped.

Troy: Did they diagnose it based on the blood work?

Robb: So yeah, that was . . . I've learned all kinds of things since then, but I think it's . . . It starts with a T. Troponin, I think.

Troy: Troponin. Uh-huh.

Robb: Yeah. So that's when I learned that your body, I guess, produces this enzyme I think to help try to protect the heart. And that's something that they can test for to see if you may be having a heart attack.

And so they did that, and this was about an hour, maybe an hour and a half in the emergency room. A doctor came in and said that there wasn't any in my blood. By that point, I'm like, "Are you kidding?" I don't want to say I was disappointed, but I was like, "Then what is going on? I've never felt this way." And they did explain to me that it can take three, maybe four hours before it shows up in blood. So they would do another blood draw in a couple hours.

And these numbers don't really mean anything to me and I may not even be remembering correctly, but it was at least . . . it went from zero to above one. And then the next morning, on a Sunday morning . . . And that is when they did the procedure, did a catheter and inserted a stent in my heart. But the next morning it was above nine.

Troy: Wow. That's legit. That's impressive. Yeah.

Mitch: Impressive, huh?

Troy: That's impressive. Yeah. So the blood test, just for reference, a troponin level, like you said, it's a protein that's released into the blood from the heart when there's damage. But exactly like they told you, it can take six hours after a heart attack for that to turn positive.

So for reference, less than 0.03 is normal. And then once it gets above 0.3, then we say you've had a heart attack. There's kind of that gray zone from 0.03 to 0.3. So yours was at 1 after a couple hours and you were at 9 the next morning. That's significant.

Most heart attacks we see where we're just diagnosing it based on the blood work and there's nothing on the EKG that says you need to have a cardiac catheterization done right now, most of those cases we're seeing the troponin levels go up to maybe 0.7 and then maybe it's 1.2, something like that. So what you had definitely . . . that's a sign of pretty significant heart attack and pretty significant damage to release that much troponin into the blood.

Well, hearing your story, just from my perspective as an emergency physician, as someone who sees all the time with chest pain, I'll say what you had was no joke. There's no question that was a legitimate, serious heart attack. And it's so fortunate you went in and didn't just write it off.

Getting aspirin early on is a key. I think that's one take-home. If you do experience symptoms of chest pain and any symptoms of a heart attack, the earlier you take aspirin, the better. That just prevents those platelets and things from clotting around that area where there is some blockage or some narrowing.

And certainly getting into the ER was the thing you needed to do. And you got the treatment you needed, you got on the blood thinner, you had the cardiac catheterization. So it sounds like everything went really well. I'm glad to hear that.

Robb: Thank you. Yeah, you and me both. I mean, I've shared this with people that I have talked to, friends and family, and nobody wants to have a heart attack, right? Certainly, I didn't, and never expected it, but it was kind of right time, right place, the right things happened, that I didn't explain it away even though there was a minute or two I was like, "Eh, maybe I can. It's not that." And maybe driving to the ER myself wasn't the best decision, but I at least got there and I think everything else, again, just kind of fell into place.

Mitch: So, Robb, what do you do now? What's next? What has changed and what are you going to be doing from here on out?

Robb: Yeah. Not to be over the top and dramatic, but in a lot of ways, at least mentally and emotionally, everything has changed. I mean, that started for me in the hospital within an hour or so after the procedure where I just . . . I was still scared for sure, but I felt like I was in amazing care and I felt that I was lucky.

My brother who lives in Pennsylvania was able to come and stay with me for a week. And that was great. We've joked about how . . . We've always been very close. We always bond in different ways when we see each other, but it was a very strange bonding experience this time around.

It's just thinking about and taking stock in life and being appreciative. My cholesterol . . . I mean, I'm on five new medications each day right now: blood pressure, platelet thinner, baby aspirin, and cholesterol. I just had labs done last week and . . . My cholesterol was 220, again, when I was admitted to the hospital when I was having my heart attack. My cholesterol is now 130.

Troy: Oh, wow.

Robb: Yeah. And again, I think the statin has a lot to do with that. However, I'm also in cardiac rehab. I do rehab once a week where I'm on a treadmill hooked up to monitors and they check my blood oxygen, my heart rate, blood pressure a couple times while I'm there, and just my heart rhythm. And that I do mostly for not just physical improvement, but also peace of mind.

I like that people who are much more knowledgeable about all of this than I am are actually checking out my heart on a weekly basis.

But I've also, since my first cardiac rehab appointment, which was the week after I had my heart attack, not to be too geeky, but I have an Apple watch and I have closed all three rings of my apple watch every single day now for 28 days.

Scot: Nice.

Mitch: Good for you.

Robb: I've never done that before. And again, I was an active, pretty fit guy. And I don't think that I'm neurotic about it. There will come a day when I don't, and I'll be fine with that. Not being strenuous with my activity, but just being active.

I did run for the first time on a treadmill at cardiac rehab last week. And that was the first time I jogged. It was just two very easy, slow, smart quarter miles. But I got emotional when I was on the treadmill. And so I'm trying to take care of myself. I mentioned my cholesterol, and again, I'm being active.

I joke with a couple people who had recommended it before, because I was like, "Air fryer? I don't want to get an air fryer at home. I don't want to cook like that." And I got an air fryer and I've been using that.

And so, I mean, my diet is better. And again, the statin I know has helped, but I also was like, "I'm being more active. I'm being smart. I'm eating better. I want some personal credit for that too."

Troy: Yeah, for sure. And you deserve it. I mean, you've made significant changes and very quickly. What about smoking?

Robb: I have not picked up a cigarette since the Saturday morning of my heart attack. And I've got some gum, I've got patches, and I'm to the point now where I'll go a couple days without the patch and I don't think about it. Same thing with the gum.

But I've talked to close friends, my family, my primary doctor. Quitting for me in the past has rarely been hard. I don't get cranky. I don't get irritable. It's easy for me to quit. What's not easy for me is to stay quit, if that makes sense.

Troy: Oh, yeah.

Robb: And so I'm aware of there might come a time a month from now, a year from now, where I'm out and I see somebody with a cigarette, and in the past I would go up and bum one, but I know that the next day I'll buy a pack. I won't put myself in that position again. So yeah, nothing like a heart attack to really commit me anyway to quitting smoking.

And I'm also working on managing my stress level at work more. I've just this week kind of returned more to full time. And my boss, my team at work, my company, they've just been so amazingly encouraging and supportive and understanding, even a little bit more like, "Hey, I'm ready to come back full time," and my boss will say, "No, you're not."

But I'm right at full time, and I'm still working remotely, which again is great to have that flexibility. But just trying to be smarter about how I prepare for a day and even taking walks in the morning, which kind of helps to center me as I start my workday.

Before, I would get up, drink coffee, have a couple cigarettes, and then jump into my car commute or whatever. And so I'm starting my days with a lot less stress, which I'm finding gives me a lot less stress throughout the day. And I feel better at the end of the day, too.

Mitch: Wow. So that is quite the turning point. Troy, anything that you take away from this? I mean, personally, I hear how healthy Robb was and it just is like, "Man, if this can happen to even some of the healthier of us, we've got to . . . I know there are a few things that I need to change on my own to make sure that I don't increase my risk for anything like this."

Troy: Yeah, it really is. And like I said, as I was just hearing all this leading up to it and knowing where this was going, because I knew the title of our session today was "Robb Had A Heart Attack," I was hearing all this and I thought, "Wow, this really hits close to home."

I think we always look for something in our mind to say, "Well, we're okay. We're protected." I feel fortunate that I don't smoke and that's definitely a risk factor for heart disease. We've talked about smoking and we've talked about your experience too, Mitch, with quitting and the changes you've made. And I know some of your wake-up calls and turning points as well.

But yeah, again, Robb, I think you're just fortunate that, like you said, right place at the right time and you got the treatment you needed quickly and got the help you needed.

I think for all of us, we do hope though that that's not our turning point, that it's hopefully prior to that. For me, it was the cholesterol. And I think for others, we've had different experiences of things that have been a wake-up call for us to say, "Hey, I need to make changes now so I'm not having that heart attack or getting to that point."

But having that dramatic of an experience, you've made dramatic changes and it's a credit to you to now have made very significant changes and really be on a track now to prevent that in the future.

Robb: I'm definitely working toward it. Yeah.

Mitch: How about you, Scot?

Scot: I think my big takeaway is my grandma smoked and she lived to be 95, had no ill effect from it, smoked her whole life. And a lot of times we ask ourselves . . . You'll hear somebody even say, "Well, my grandma smoked or my dad smoked, so I'm not worried about it." But you just don't know what's going on inside of you, right? Maybe there's something happening inside that you're not going to be able to get away with that. So it just kind of makes me double down a little bit more on making sure that I'm being consistent.

And again, I think we get into this notion that society pushes that that means we have to go to the gym and be ripped and do workouts like you see on TV for Fitbits and Nike. But it's not. It's just being active and maybe making a small little decision like not having a couple cigarettes in the morning and instead going for a walk and just getting a little bit of activity. You just replaced one thing with another. How much of a difference is that going to make?

Troy: I mean, obviously, hindsight is 20/20, but if you could talk to yourself 10 years ago as a man in his early 40s or even late 30s, what would you say?

Robb: I don't know that I've let myself think of that just yet. I've asked myself all kinds of questions, but I don't know about that one.

Troy: And you don't have to.

Robb: The word that has popped into my head and even some conversations that I've had with others is cavalier. And I think it's easy when you're young or younger, whatever that means because it's all relative, to say, "I can do this and I'll be fine. I can smoke. I'll be fine. I can eat this. I'll be fine." If I'm being honest, over the past 10 years or so of smoking there has been a time or two where I thought, "It's going to probably take something kind of severe for me to actually put these down." Well, that's exactly what happened.

I do wish that I was a lot less cavalier and put it down for other reasons. But here I am, and at the same time, in so many ways, I feel healthier now than I have ever in my life.

Again, even my workouts, they're a lot less "I have to go to the gym" and more "I get to go to the gym" or "I get to go for a walk" instead of "I have to go for a run."

I have phone conversations with my family or dinners with friends or whatever. It's all more meaningful.

So it's really not so much . . . I hate to turn your question around, but not so much what I would've said to my previous self as more as just being grateful for my present and future self, I guess.

Troy: That's great.

Robb: Kind of where I am now and not taking it for granted.

Troy: Yeah, that's great. And for me too, like I said, I think hearing this . . . I don't want this to be all about smoking because we can easily point to that and say, "Well, yeah, you were smoking. You had a heart attack." But I'm thinking to myself, let's say I'm in your shoes down the road, what would I say to myself today?

You're doing a whole lot of things and were doing a whole lot of things a lot better than I am. Like I said, sleep, stress, those are big things I deal with. And so I think for all of us, just hearing your story, it's probably worth considering if we were in your shoes down the road, what would we think today we could change to prevent that?

And again, whether it's stress reduction, whether it's diet, exercise, weight loss, managing our cholesterol, all sorts of things that that can prevent us from being in the ER and being diagnosed with a heart attack and going through that procedure, or potentially something worse and not getting the care we need quickly enough and having things go much worse than your situation.

Scot: Robb, one of the things that really resonated with me is . . . So I'm a fairly healthy guy. I come from fairly healthy people. However, other people in my life, I noticed, started having health issues. And it's cliché when they say, "Don't take your health for granted," or, "Your health is the only thing you have," but yet it is so true.

And I think what I'm hearing from you is kind of how I processed it as well. I was not eating that well. I was not getting the activity I needed to do. I was not doing a lot of things right. And I'm like, "I've been blessed actually with good health. Why am I throwing it away now?" That's just the way I processed it. So that is one of the things that motivated me to start doing some things that are a little bit more positive in my life.

Would you say that's accurate for you, or is it something a little different?

Robb: I would. Absolutely. Thanks for helping me think through that a little bit that way, because I don't know that I would've been able to articulate it that way. But as you were saying that, of course, I'm nodding. I'm like, "Yes, yes, yes."

Again, something about where I am in my life, and maybe it is my age or maybe it is my overall relative good health despite what I've just gone through, that my recovery has surprised me.

I didn't know what to expect, but that I feel as good as I do right now . . . I don't know if I've been given a second chance, but I feel like yes, I have, and I want to appreciate that.

So to a very large extent, this was a wake-up call for me. Again, not glad that it happened, but not too sad about the way that it happened, I guess, and kind of what has helped me change and think about differently in my life.

Mitch: Thank you so much for sharing that story with us. I think a lot of times men, we talk a lot about not sharing or talking about health with one another as often as we maybe should, but we learn from one another and we can kind of get new understandings and learn to be grateful for what we have by talking about what is scary and how we've approached our health.

And I really, really appreciate you joining us and sharing not only an emotional experience that you've gone through, but also the perspective that you've learned from it.

Just hearing you talk about it, seeing you in the hospital, etc., I know it's made me double down on some stuff, and hopefully some listeners will have a similar response. So thank you so much for joining us today, Robb.

Robb: Yeah. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you guys. This has been great.

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