Message from Sheriff Kaelin: Don't Ignore Chest Pain

Anyone who knows Nueces County Sheriff Jim Kaelin knows he seems to be the picture of health, but on Thursday, he was at home recovering from a heart attack.

The shocking revelation came from the sheriff himself on Thursday, when he told Kiii News Anchor Rudy Trevino that he wants to urge others with symptoms similar to what he experienced not to ignore them.

"It was an eye opener," Kaelin said. "I did something that men should never do. Women should never do it."

Kaelin ignored his chest pain.

It was last Wednesday night when the sheriff first felt something wasn't right.

"Pressure," Kaelin said. "Something that I'd not felt before."

He and his wife, Sharon, were on their way home after attending an evening event. The sheriff said his wife told him they should go to an emergency room, but he instead decided to just wait and see.

"She could recognize that something was wrong because of my usual mannerisms, and she said we need to go to the ER, and I said I don't think so," Kaelin said. "I said, lets just sit here for a little while and see how this thing progresses."

The following day, the sheriff went to work, but soon after lunch the pain returned.

"One time, two times, three times, you're out. Let me go on the second time. You don't have to knock on my door three times," Kaelin said. "Next thing you know, they're running with me down the hallway in a desk chair. They didn't even want to wait for the wheel chair... and they say, 'you've got about 99-percent blockage in the artery that's often referred to as the widow maker.'"

Sheriff Kaelin was quickly taken into Christus Spohn Hospital Shoreline's cath lab, where heart specialists placed a stint in the blocked artery, saving his life. He said that because of his brush with death, he has decided to speak out.

"Sure, it's very personal, you know. I certainly, this is you and I are talking, but it's not something I'm trying to get more face-time on television. That's absolutely not the goal here. I wasn't going to share all this, and you know, if other people get like-minded like me and a little stubborn," Kaelin said. "you have chest pains, get yourself to the doctor. Get yourself to hospital immediately. Don't wait."

The sheriff hopes his story will, if nothing more, get someone thinking twice before delaying going to an ER to get help.

"My creator gave me a, quote, second chance," Kaelin said. "A second chance to continue what I'm doing. A second chance to spread this message to others."


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