“I had to do something if I wanted to stay alive.”
When Chad High looks through a camera lens at his wife, son and daughter during special occasions, a wave of emotions comes over him. He remembers how close they came to being a three-member family.
On September 8, 2018, the Granbery Elementary School principal died of a heart attack for two and a half minutes before he was resuscitated in a rushing ambulance. His wife, following in their car, was met at the ambulance door by a paramedic who told her to tell Chad she loved him.
The paramedic’s words to Chad: “I need you to fight with everything you have.”
Thirty-five minutes later, a stent replaced the 100% blockage in his circumflex artery and Chad lay in the hospital alive but stunned.
Once a regular runner, he was sidelined in 2010 with a back injury. That’s when his lifelong yo-yo weight problem fully kicked in, and he gradually passed the 300-pound mark.
“I was morbidly obese, which sounds kind of insulting, but it was the truth,” Chad says. “I knew I had to do something if I wanted to stay alive.”
With determination, he went through a cardiac rehabilitation program at Williamson Medical Center.
“I’m fully committed to that never happening again,” Chad says.
Doctors and his rehab nurses told him 195 pounds was an appropriate goal weight for him. By the following Memorial Day, he had lost 113 pounds and reached that goal.
Chad keeps his health blueprint simple. He works out at the YMCA for 45 minutes every day, walking on a treadmill and lifting free weights three days a week. He eats a heart-healthy diet, following the guidelines the hospital gave him.
“I am pleased with my weight loss and my cholesterol is low,” Chad says. “I’m a very healthy guy now.”
He makes time for exercise by getting up early and being at the Y when the doors open at 4:45 a.m.
“Nothing will ever interfere with that time of morning because the family is sleeping and there are no meetings,” Chad says. “Your body gets used to it. I sleep so much better now. I have a lot more energy; I’m able to do more and not get tired. And emotionally, life became a lot sweeter after September 8, 2018.”
His brush with death has pulled his family closer, he notes.
“That’s my story and I want people to hear it,” Chad says. “Anybody can do what I did [to get healthy], but you have to want to.”
Granbery Elementary School