Dr. Oz discusses the widowmaker in the show “This is Us.”
INDIANAPOLIS – His old childhood friend Mac Engel was in town and Jake Query had a 6 p.m. date at the Blind Owl Brewery on Thursday to catch up. The two sat down with Query’s girlfriend, Shannon Walsh, and started in with the jokes, the jabs and the reminiscing.
“We’re sitting there and my whole arm felt like… the best way I can describe it is when your blood pressure is taken and the cuff is on,” Query said.
That point at the end where you just don’t think you can take the squeezing anymore. One hundred times worse than that. And Query said he was feeling heartburn, too.
“Finally I just spoke up. ‘I’ve been getting this tingling in my arm and it hurts,'” Query, 48, told Engel and Walsh. “And I have like an acid reflux feeling.”
And he was so hot, like burning up. And sweating. Engel looked at Query. “Do you want to go outside?” he asked him. Yes, Query decided, he needed to get outside.
Jake Query, 48, inside Community North Hospital after having a massive heart attack. (Photo: Jake Query)
“So we took one step outside and I was faint,” Query said. “And I knew. I am having a heart attack.”
What Query didn’t know was that it was a massive one. One of the heart attacks doctors call the widow maker.
He had 100% blockage in the left anterior descending artery, a major pipeline for blood. If blood gets completely blocked at that location, it can be fatal without emergency care, according to the American Heart Association.
At the hospital after emergency surgery to place a stent, doctors told Query — an announcer for IndyCar and co-host of “Query & Schultz” on ISC Sports Network — he was a very lucky man.
“The doctor said, ‘If you had not come in here when you did,'” Query said, “you probably would have not made it 30 minutes.”
‘I was in so much pain’
About a week ago, Query started getting a weird tingling feeling in his left hand.
“My family heart history is horrific,” Query said from his hospital room Friday morning. “And so I knew I’m approaching the age where my dad had his first incident and my uncle… I’ve always been almost neurotic about it.”
As the tingling repeated the next day, Query googled “symptoms of a heart attack.” Even though, he knew exactly what the symptoms were.
“I’ve known guys my whole life,” he said. “I was a junior in high school when my dad had his first heart attack so I knew it was a matter of time.” Query has often, only half kiddingly, told friends, “I won’t make it to see 50.”
Still, he has tried his best to avoid all the things they say could put a person at risk for a heart attack. Red meat, fatty foods. He takes his blood pressure almost daily, does 70 minutes of cardio workouts five to six times a week. He’s had heart scans.
Inside Community North Hospital’s emergency room Thursday night, Query walked to where it said chest pain emergency. “I said, ‘I’m having a heart attack.'”
Query was rushed back on a gurney and the tests revealed he was. A total blockage of that main artery.
“I said, ‘Am I going to die?’ I wasn’t afraid to die. I was in so much pain,” he said. “You hear people say, ‘Well he’s in a better place’ and I’m like, ‘My god I’ve never felt anything like that.'”
The chances of surviving a “widow maker” heart attack aren’t good. If a person experiences shock, the survival rate is about 40%. Without shock, the rate jumps to about 60%, according to healthline.com.
Query became emotional when Walsh arrived at the hospital. He just wanted to see her before he died, he said.
But soon after the stent was placed, Query was back to his rambunctious and hilarious self. He spent much of Thursday night chatting with his nurses Megan and Enrique. They were fascinated by his career and wanted to know all about different sports figures.
Query joked that what happened to him can’t be the widow maker. After all, he’s not married.
Hours after his heart attack, Jake Query said he felt good enough to go home. (Photo: Query & Schultz show)
He asked the doctor if his heart was an NFL quarterback who it would be. After the stent, the doctor said, Tom Brady at age 24.
“By 10 o’clock, I’m like ‘I can go home,'” Query said. “I felt totally normal.”
And so on Friday from his hospital room Query was using his time to do what he does best. Help out the city he was born and raised in. By the way, he says, it’s no coincidence his room number at the hospital is 317.
If people want to do something to make him happy donate in his name to the Children’s Bureau, Inc. Query is taking part in a celebrity challenge for the organization. All money raised goes to the kids living in the Children’s Bureau Children Shelter at 16th & MLK Streets.
Query said he doesn’t need anything. He is just happy to be alive and kicking — with a heart like a 24-year-old Brady.
Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via email: [email protected]