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Lifelong educator shares an important heart lesson

Lifelong educator shares an important heart lesson

A lifelong educator, Steve Trimble learned something about his heart in 2014 that has made a significant impact on his life.

It was an April evening. Trimble was feeling pretty bad. He was in pain and having trouble breathing. He and his wife, Pam, decided to seek care the next day at King’s Daughters Medical Specialties Prestonsburg, where Pam is practice manager.

Trimble saw cardiologist Ghassan Dalati, M.D. He had an EKG and some blood work, neither of which showed any problems. But Trimble’s symptoms made Dr. Dalati suspicious. He suggested taking Trimble into the cath lab to see what was going on. Trimble asked about having a stress test instead. But Dr. Dalati’s instincts told him that waiting was not a good idea.

So, Trimble agreed to have a diagnostic cath at Highlands Regional Medical Center. “It was a lot closer than King’s Daughters,” he said, “And I really didn’t think anything was wrong with me.”

The next morning, Dr. Dalati performed the cath. “I had a 90 percent blockage in my left main artery – the blockage they call the widow maker,” Trimble said.

Trimble was transported – by ambulance – directly from Highlands to King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, where interventional cardiologist Chris Epling, D.O., was waiting for him. About 5 p.m. that night, Trimble underwent a second cath, where Dr. Epling placed a stent to open the artery and ensure blood flow to the heart.

He spent the night at King’s Daughters and returned home the next day.

“I really didn’t have a clue what was going on with my heart,” Trimble said, “but I probably should have. We had gone to Clingmans Dome, in the Smoky Mountains. I had always been very athletic. But I remember climbing up the mountain and having to stop three or four times to sit and catch my breath. There were old men walking past me while I sat.

“I should have known.”

Trimble has made the most of his close call. He’s lost 65 pounds and is now an avid biker, tackling the Dawkins Bike Trail three times a week. “We usually go 8, 10 or sometimes 12 miles,” he said. When he can’t bike because of the weather, he walks a treadmill.

The former Johnson City Schools superintendent has more time now to take care of himself. He works part-time as a consultant with the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation with 67 superintendents throughout eastern Kentucky.

But he has two lessons to share with everyone – parent, student, teacher. “First, you just have to stay healthy, to burn more calories than you eat and watch what you eat. And second, listen to your doctor.

“I really believe Dr. Dalati saved my life. He was suspicious. He didn’t think things were right and took me to the cath lab and I am thankful that he did.”

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