‘I thought I was done for’: Popular Vancouver radio DJ recovering after heart attack
First, it should be said that Drex, the morning show host on Jack 96.9, is recovering in a cardiac ward right now.
However, Friday night, Nov. 18, he wasn’t sure he’d make it as pain radiated from his chest. He’d been eating dinner and watching the news on TV alone (his husband was at work). He started to feel ill, but wasn’t sure what the sensation meant, describing it as feeling like he had to throw up or poop.
He went to lie down on his bed and that’s when his dog, Andy, acted odd.
“Normally, my dog lies next to me on the bed,” says Drex. “But this time he tilted his head like something was wrong.”
Within a couple of minutes Drex felt his chest get tight and the pain became more serious. He tried calling his husband, but wasn’t able to get a hold of him. He tried calling a friend, who urged him to hang up and call 911 immediately, which he did.
“I thought I was done for,” he recalls thinking at one point.
Because his dog can be aggressive, he locked Andy in a room. He was able to keep going a bit more, and walked to the front door of his house, which he unlocked before lying down in the living room.
“It was a struggle, but I had to do it,” he says.
Within 10 to 12 minutes he says firefighters arrived, and then EMTs. Drex is especially thankful for their efforts.
“They deserve all the thanks they can get,” he says.
They rushed him to the hospital, where he was quickly assessed and taken to a surgical theatre. He says one artery was 100 per cent blocked, while another was 80 per cent. The emergency team at the hospital was able to put a stent in. Another one will be put in later this week.
Drex says the attack is likely related to a genetic predisposition to them (both his father and maternal grandmother have had heart attacks followed by triple bypass surgery). He notes it also likely comes from not getting up and moving around much; his job is fairly sedentary. And there’s his love of rich and fried foods.
“I’m a radio DJ, man, not an athlete,” he says. “I was living a good life. This is the punishment.”
That type of lifestyle, though, is coming to an end.
“(It has) to, there’s no question. I just got married, I can’t be dropping dead on my husband now, can I?”
He calls the incident a wake-up call and plans to take better care of himself.
Those looking for his return to the airwaves, though, will have to wait until earl-2023, he says, as a 4-to-6-week recovery is expected.
Thankful for the medical system
After he’d recovered somewhat Drex tweeted about the incident, expressing gratitude to those who’d saved his life.
He says part of the reason he wanted to get that message out is he feels the medical system is often under attack, but the people on the ground are doing amazing work.
“There were four firefighters and three EMTs to save one life. That’s astounding to me, that’s amazing,” he says.
And in the hospital, he says it was less than 30 minutes between arriving and getting surgery.
“I cannot fault these people, they made sure I stayed alive,” he says.
At the same time, he’s had to deal with an international anti-vaccine crowd jumping to conclude his heart attack was due to a vaccine; he’s quick to point out his family history, diet and a lack of exercise as the real reason. He’s gone on to block hundreds, many not from the area.
The facts are that my family has a history of heart disease. My grand mother and my father have both had triple bypasses.
— 𝘿𝙧𝙚𝙭 ⚡ (@drex) November 19, 2022
At the same time, he’s had many well-wishers as well.
“I got messages of support from people I don’t even know,” he says. “It was very kind of people.”
And he has a message for those like him.
“Look after yourselves, get moving more; choose to move,” he says, adding, “this is the wake-up call I needed.”