Kim Motsinger craved a smoke. Tired of waiting around for results of a blood test at a hospital, the 48-year-old truck driver finally retreated to the car.
As he made his way across the parking lot, he started feeling dizzy. Then nauseous. He was sweating. Finally reaching for the cigarette, he was suddenly stopped short by crushing
pressure that “felt like a truck on my chest.” He was having a massive heart attack.
“I knew something was wrong,” he said. “If I had been on the road and if my wife hadn’t urged me to get into the E.R., I wouldn’t have made it.”
After he was rushed into the emergency room, doctors promptly put two stents in a completely blocked artery. They also found two other 50 percent blockages.
Because his heart attack happened “at the right place at the right time,” Kim had damage only on the top layer of his heart. But it took two years to “feel normal again.”
Today, he eats healthier and exercises more — not letting time on the road detour his life in McGaheysville, Va., with wife Melinda or from visiting with his 27-year-old son Nathan
on return from an Army tour of duty in Iraq.
Reaching for the cigarette that cold day in 2006 turned out to be Kim’s defining moment — and the last time the 30-year smoker would ever consider lighting up.
“I was one of those who said I’d never quit, because I felt I had no reason and I enjoyed smoking,” said Kim, who went through two to three packs a day. “But something clicked.
Now I hate ’em.”