Jim Lehrer, American journalist, and author of his autobiography A Bus of my Own had a heart attack in 1983. He had been out with his wife and some friends eating Tex-Mex food one night, and noticed that his chest was tight, and his left arm tingled. He also started burping a lot, but he blamed all these things on the Mexican food. Later that night, when the tightness and tingling didn’t go away, his wife began to worry and wanted him to go to a hospital. Lehrer didn’t want to go, for his irrational fear of hospitals. This fear was sparked by both his mom and dad going into hospitals and dying shortly after. Eventually he caved and listened to his wife, but he insisted on driving there, smoking his pipe the whole way. When he got there, the nurses ran some tests to see if he had any issues. Nothing came up. But the nurses insisted that he stay the night just in case. Later, early in the morning, he had a heart attack, but luckily survived, as the nurses were there to help him.
After his brush with death, Lehrer was shocked into reality, realizing he didn’t eat nearly as well as he should, nor did he exercise or anything else that kept him in shape. There in the hospital, he resolved to change his life for the better. He made four lists: a Healthy Living list, a Bus Signs to Collect list, a Life Priorities list, and a Stress list.
He quit smoking after a bypass surgery, and began eating healthy, cutting out greasy and fatty foods. He started a few good habits, such as taking daily naps and walks. Later, he toyed with the idea of a documentary on heart attacks. He was hesitant about it, but a call from a man who had just had a heart attack himself changed his mind. The man called asking questions about his recovery. Lehrer realized the man wanted to hear from another man who had gone through the same experience he had. So he decided to proceed with the documentary.
The program ran in 1985. It changed a lot of people’s lives, and he met a woman who told him that he saved the life of a woman at her office. She had been feeling a tightness across her chest, and asked her co worker to drive her to the hospital. No sooner had they stepped in when she had a heart attack and survived, with under five minutes to spare.
Lehrer’s heart attack changed his life for the better, and his program changed other’s lives for the better. He developed some good habits, restructured his life, and ran a documentary that changed people’s lives.