I Had More Heart Damage At My Junior Prom

     Two weeks after my heart attack, our family wants to pass along our very deep gratitude for the amazing kindness we have been shown by so many people. “Thank you” isn’t enough but please know how much you lifted us and how much it has meant.  

    We also wanted to make sure people know I came out of this with no no permanent heart damage.  In fact, I had more heart damage at my Junior Prom!  There is some bruising—whose heart isn’t  bruised sometime?—but that will heal completely.  (I should say one permanent damage is in the process someone cut off my favorite SmartWool ski shirt–devastating for a XCountry skiier,–but I got a new one at Midwest Mountaineering).    

 I am in a good physical therapy program at Hennepin Co. Medical Center where they put me on treadmills with a great view of the Downtown East development.  I won’t be skiing the City of Lakes Loppet this year…which just about kills me…but I will be at the  Luminary Loppet.   Expect me to go back to being an exercise maniac soon. 

     I worked a couple half days last week and then three full ones.  Feel great and moving full speed ahead on my work at Generation Next and planning my class “Mayor 101” at the University of Minnesota, which starts in a week.   

   Pat Reusse cracked me up when he said something like: If R.T. Rybak has a heart attack I may as well put on 40 pounds and drink a jumbo Coke. I’ve heard a lot people saying they didn’t understand how someone who had a really healthy life could have a heart attack.  Well my doctors explained basically that I had a heart attack because of genetics (my Dad had a couple) but I had no damage because of my lifestyle. If I would have been leading a different lifestyle I may not be here.  So I’m keeping up the lifestyle and doing some things (including a couple pills) to address the genetics.    

    Now, in  a bizarre twist, I am feeling better than I have in years.  Makes sense when you think about it because three arteries that were blocked (two of them very blocked) are now cleaned up and my heart is just in much better shape than before.  So I have a lot more energy, which, to those who have told me in the past that I’m too hyper, this can be a very scary thought.   

    So thank you:    

  To my friends Scott Gislason and Ed Ryan, who came by my car at a really important time;  

    To  Minneapolis Fire Fighters and County ambulance drivers who helped me—    

  For me having just enough wind in the ambulance to wheeze out: “Take me to Abbott Northwestern” because they were AMAZING. There are too many people there who helped to name but Abbott is filled with caring and talent, especially my Dr. Yale Wang.    

  To Megan and our kids Charlie and Grace: (Megan and Grace had to see a pretty terrible scene of me in trouble in the ER. Charlie had to hear about it by phone, and read about it on Twitter while flying home alone).  They held me close,  made me laugh enough to jeopardize my stitches and just make my life so wonderful.     (And a very proud dad got to see their mastery at the press conference.)

   And to all of you.   Long time friends and complete strangers showed us true kindness and it carried us through.  People often ask what it would be like to be at your own funeral.  Well, the experience I just had is as close as I want to get it to that but, because of you it was one of the most moving experiences I will ever have. 

Bottom line: You’re stuck with me for a long, long time.  And I could not be more grateful.

Thank you. 


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