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Heart to Heart ... to Heart

Phil Krebs

Phil Krebs is aware of the irony; after decades of healthy eating and following a faithful fitness regimen that is the envy of his friends, he was the one with the blocked arteries. Working out three times a week since 1964 could not trump hereditary high cholesterol. As Executive Director of the Yuba College Foundation, Phil is constantly on the go, so his fitness is a professional asset, as well. In June, he celebrated his 60th birthday on a visit to San Francisco. Walking the city's hills that day, he didn't know he was doing it with a 100% coronary artery blockage, and attributed his shortness of breath to fatigue.

At home a few days later, it happened again. After two minutes on a treadmill at his doctor's office, he was sent to the Emergency Department at Rideout Memorial Hospital, where tests confirmed he was having a heart attack. From there it was a quick gurney ride to The Heart Center to place a stent in the blocked artery. "I didn't even have time to get scared," Phil recalled. From Emergency to Surgery to Cardiovascular Intensive Care, he experienced "a nice blend of professionalism and real warmth from everyone. I hesitate to say this, but I even enjoyed the food."

During the next three months he spent in The Heart Center's cardiac rehab program, Phil stuck to a familiar pattern of working out three times weekly. This time, it was under the tutelage of rehab specialists: cardiac rehab coordinator Betsy Decker Clarke, R.N., and clinical exercise physiologist Raimund Zielinski, M.S. Ed. "They keep it light-hearted but they get you right down to business. These are two very genuine, very encouraging people."