For the past few weeks I have been reading Jim Lehrer’s autobiography “A Bus of My Own”. This week I have read the chapters entailing details about Lehrer’s heart attack and recovery. In this essay I am going to talk about the good things that came as a result of the heart attack.
After the heart attack Lehrer made big changes in his lifestyle. In earlier chapters he stated he was a big smoker, so much so that he had stashes of cigarettes in his office and under his car seat. He also said his eating habits was that of a “pimply faced teenager.” After the heart attack he quit smoking and started eating healthier things like turkey sandwiches, fruits, and vegetables.
Having the heart attack also helped Lehrer get over his not so irrational fear of hospitals. The fear came about after his Father died because of a heart attack in a hospital and only solidified when his Mother died from a failed surgery. As he said in one of the chapters “Lehrers always die in hospitals.” Because of this fear Lehrer put off going to the hospital when he was feeling the symptoms of a heart attack. After having the heart attack and going into a hospital, not once, but twice and coming out alive both times, he overcame his fear of hospitals.
After his recovery, Lehrer went back to work. At first it was just sitting in on meetings and pitching ideas, but eventually he made it back on screen. One of the things he did onscreen was make a small special about his experience with the heart attack called “My Heart, Your Heart.” At first he was hesitant to air the special. He did not want to be known as “The Guy on TV Who Had a Heart Attack.” Despite his reservations, he went through with it, and thank goodness. After the special aired Lehrer were getting calls from viewers who had saved their own lives and others around them because of what he said.
One woman called saying her co-worker asked her to drive after feeling chest tightness. The woman said her co-worker said “that Lehrer guy on TV said not to fool around.” The woman continues the story and says as soon as they got to the emergency room her co-worker had a heart attack. Lehrer got many other calls like this, but none of them were as extraordinary as this particular one.
As you can see, many good things came out of a life threatening experience. Not only did Lehrer improve his own life, but took his experience and shared it to the world, saving many peoples’ lives.
Thanks for reading!