'Don't silence the Bob yet.'
In the early morning hours of Feb. 26, filmmaker Kevin Smith tweeted a photo from his hospital bed. Apparently, he'd had a "massive" heart attack.
After the first of two scheduled comedy sets at Glendale, California's Alex Theatre, Smith could tell something was wrong. On Facebook, he wrote that he felt nauseous. "I threw up a little but it didn't seem to help," he wrote. "Then I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy."
He didn't know it at the time, but he was having a heart attack. After making his way to a nearby hospital, he learned that he had a 100% blockage of his left anterior descending (LAD) artery. Had he not gotten medical attention when he did, he could have died.
He continued his post by reflecting on life, death, what he appreciated and what he'd miss out on if his time came:
"[E]ven as they cut into my groin to slip a stent into the lethal Widow-Maker, I was filled with a sense of calm. I’ve had a great life: loved by parents who raised me to become the individual I am. I’ve had a weird, wonderful career in all sorts of media, amazing friends, the best wife in the world and an incredible daughter who made me a Dad. But as I stared into the infinite, I realized I was relatively content. ... But generally speaking, I was okay with the end, if this was gonna be it. I’ve gotten to do so many cool things and I’ve had so many adventures — how could I be shitty about finally paying the tab. ... I faced my greatest fear tonight... and it wasn’t as bad as I’ve always imagined it’d be. I don’t want my life to end but if it ends, I can’t complain. It was such a gift."
Friends and well-wishers offered thoughts, support, and gratitude.
"Clerks" star Brian O'Halloran said, "Don't silence the Bob yet," a nod to Smith's character, Silent Bob.
TV personality Chris Hardwick and actor Josh Gad offered well wishes and a speedy recovery.
Rosie O'Donnell, having experienced the same kind of blockage five years ago, offered solidarity with Smith.
Heart attacks aren't always big, obvious, dramatic events. As was the case in Smith's situation, they can be sneaky. That's why it's important to spot the warning signs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists five things to keep an eye out for when it comes to heart attacks:
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
- Feeling weak, light-headed or faint.
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
- Shortness of breath.
Other possible symptoms include indigestion, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, and extreme fatigue. Women are a bit more likely to notice and experience shortness of breath, nausea, and back/jaw pain. The CDC recommends calling 911 if you notice those symptoms in yourself or someone else around you and says that medical professionals will be best suited to assess the situation through tests.