Jennings recovering from heart attack

1/26/2014

State representative resting after being hospitalized in Topeka.

State representative resting after being hospitalized in Topeka.

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

State Rep. Russ Jennings was resting at his son's house in Topeka on Sunday night, recovering from a Friday night heart attack and emergency cardiac catheterization performed at Stormont-Vail Hospital.

"I feel a whole heck of a lot better," he said in a phone interview Sunday night. "And there was no damage to my heart. I can't believe it."

Instead of coming home to Lakin this weekend, Jennings, R-Lakin, stayed in Topeka because he planned to travel to McPherson for his mother-in-law's 86th birthday.

Quick thinking at the first sign of symptoms may have helped Jennings avoid a more serious outcome.

At about 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jennings said, he began experiencing chest discomfort that felt a little like indigestion — exactly the thing doctors tell people to look out for — and after about 30 minutes decided to go to the hospital and have it checked out.

It turned out that one of the arteries in Jennings' heart was 100 percent blocked. Doctors immediately performed the catheterization.

"They cleaned it out, opened it up and immediately I felt better," he said.

Jennings said he went to bed at 9:30 p.m., was at the hospital by 10:30 and doctors had finished their work and had him in his hospital room by 12:15 a.m. Saturday.

"It was fast. I got there early. I didn't wait around. I didn't second guess. For anyone who has this sensation in their chest, trust it. If you do, you can avoid a whole lot of problems," he said. "I guess you run the risk of it being the Kentucky Fried Chicken, but if it's not, you save your life perhaps."

Jennings stayed in the hospital until Sunday afternoon, and has a follow up with a cardiologist later this week and will be doing some cardio rehab work. He expects to be back to work in the Legislature doing his work next week.

"Friday night, I didn't know what was going to happen, but I'm sure as heck real happy to be able to answer the phone on Sunday and tell the story," he said. "Things worked out as best as they possibly could under the circumstances."

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