URMC Cardiology

Roy King

A story about a heart attack

Roy KingJudge Roy King had recently been elected to the City Court Bench of Rochester when he was hit by a heart attack.

“I was sitting and waiting for a client,” Roy says, “when I started sweating profusely and overheating. I had read about the symptoms of a heart attack. So I called my daughter, who is an M.D.”

At Highland Hospital, doctors discovered Roy had two clogged arteries. He was transferred to Strong, where he received an angioplasty to clear those arteries. Soon after that, he began a rehab program at Highland.

Through the rehab program and his own efforts, Roy began to change his lifestyle. Part of that was exercise. But for Roy, it also meant a major change in what he would eat each day.

"Exercise was not unusual for me,” Roy says. “The problem was what I was eating. I love cakes and sweets!” He began cutting back on sweets, reading labels, and being more cognizant of the fats in his diet.

When the rehab facility at Highland closed, he started coming to the Strong Heart Wellness & Prevention Program. He was happy to see many familiar faces, including one particular nurse who had been a support for him at Highland. “I had known Liz at Highland,” Roy says. “And when I came over to Strong, here she was!”

Roy has gone on to develop a great appreciation for the rest of the staff, as well. “The staff is excellent,” he says. “They’re very caring people. They suggest things, work with you, and check to make sure you’re not overdoing it.”

Roy exercises at the facility three times each week—usually for 1 ½ hours at each visit and never for less than 45 minutes. He talks about the importance of “maintaining” himself, his body, and a healthy lifestyle. “Once you’ve gone through a heart attack,” Roy says, “you start appreciating things in life, the value of maintaining a healthy body. When I leave the office, I tell my secretary, ‘I’m going to maintain.’”

When asked why he is still coming to the facility, nearly 10 years after his heart attack, Roy says, “You look forward, really, to being here. Many people think, ‘Oh, I’ll buy the equipment and put it in the basement.’ But it’s much harder. There’s a group that comes during your exercise period. They become your cohorts. You have fun, you talk, you joke with each other—you bond.”

Finishing up a chat about his experiences at the Strong Heart Wellness & Prevention Program, Judge Roy King walks back to the fitness area. Above the sound of people exercising, the voice of one of Roy’s cohorts can be heard: “All rise!”

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