Gillham says he’s doing well after heart attack

Gillham says he’s doing well after heart attack

JUNEAU — A Kenai Peninsula lawmaker said he is doing well after suffering what he described as a near-fatal heart attack last week.

Republican Rep. Ron Gillham of Soldotna said he began having discomfort late last Wednesday that he first thought might be indigestion. After he started sweating profusely, he said he knew something was wrong and his wife told him they were going to the hospital.

At the emergency room in Juneau, “the doctor there said I was within about 15 minutes of not making it,” Gillham told The Associated Press.

He said he was medevaced to an Anchorage hospital and had a stent put in. He said he was released on Saturday, with no restrictions, and arrived back in Juneau on Tuesday for the ongoing legislative session.

Gillham said he doesn’t drink or smoke and tries to eat well. He said he didn’t have any warning signs.

“What I did find out was, it was genetic,” he said. Gillham said he wants to encourage people to be mindful of their heart health, particularly if they have relatives who have had heart-related issues.

“I feel great,” he said Tuesday. “I guess the hardest part is accepting the fact that it happened. Because like I said, I don’t feel any different now than I did before but I had a heart attack that almost took my life and I need to accept that.”