English 1, Lesson 20 – The Story I Remember the Most

Out of the many spectacular stories in Jim Lehrer’s autobiography, I remember his heart attack and recovery the most. He was able to grab me with this story because I kept thinking, ‘Oh no, what’s going to happen next?’ As he talked about the tightness in his chest and his arm tingling, I remember thinking ‘That can’t be good.’ Lehrer blamed the tightness and tingling on the Tex-Mex food he ate earlier that day, but I knew that wasn’t the case. His wife kept pressuring him to go to the hospital and get it checked out, but he kept refusing because of his fear of hospitals, which made me think ‘Oh my God, just listen to your wife.’ Eventually he decided to go, but he insisted on driving and smoking his pipe the whole way.

When he got there, he did some scans and found no issues, but the nurses insisted he stay just in case. It was lucky they did, because the next day he had a heart attack in his hospital room. There were some nurses who came in and injected him with stuff, but what grabbed me about this part was how he described the pain. He wrote that it felt as though there were a truck driving over his chest, and a knife slicing through his left arm, where he had felt tingling the previous days. I found myself hoping it’d be over in a second, for his sake. And then it was.

The recovery bit of the story was just as interesting. Lehrer’s doctors put him in a workout room once week with other men who also had heart attacks. They talked together about the recovery process and made grim jokes, which was something they couldn’t do with their friends and family. This meet-up every week was very enjoyable to Lehrer because he was able to get any grim thoughts off his chest without worrying his friends and family.

He talked about not being able to go back to work, and how that bothered him. But a man at his office said he could join the meetings by phone, so he did. He eventually went back into the office. He showed up one day unannounced, and said that he looked like a hunched over old man shuffling around in slippers, which made me laugh.

He also talked about how he had to completely change his diet and lifestyle. His pre-heart attack diet was mostly greasy, fatty, sugary fast foods. After the heart attack he went to dairy-free, low-fat, lots of vegetables and fruits, and oats. He didn’t like his new diet much, but he was happy he could at least still eat bread, which was the only thing on his old diet he still ate.

He developed some good habits because of the heart attack too. He started taking daily naps and walks. He began watching at least one movie every day to get ideas and technique for writing fiction, too. All in all, the heart attack was a remarkably interesting story. I recommend reading Jim Lehrer’s autobiography if you haven’t or aren’t already. It is written very well and is really funny and interesting.


2 thoughts on “English 1, Lesson 20 – The Story I Remember the Most

  1. Great story! Try to tell less about the actual story and more about why you remember it the most, as per your title. What part or parts made it memorable to you and what your take away from it was. Has it changed your thoughts on anything and is there anything from the story tou learned that you or someone else can apply to their own life.

    Liked by 1 person

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