Family. Beloved pets. Trips across the country. For retired Santee resident Steve Roberts, his life is full of this and more. Thanks to his care team at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, he now has even more time to enjoy the things that matter most.
As a father of four and a grandfather to 12 grandkids, Steve has no shortage of excitement in his life. Whether it’s hiking the Sierra Mountains at 10,000 feet with his family or spending quality time road-tripping with his wife and dogs in their RV, Steve has never been one to slow down. A man with many interests, talents and skills, this competition-winning woodworker and classic rock fan enjoys cranking his favorite tunes and creating works of art in his home workshop.
Steve’s full life was nearly cut short after experiencing what he describes as “a ticking time bomb” in his chest: limited blood flow to his heart.
Out enjoying the fresh air and tending his yard, Steve was suddenly struck by pressure in his chest. Assuming he just needed to call it quits for the day, he thought little of it. The very next day, while back outside doing yardwork, Steve described a terrifying feeling – the same chest pressure, but even more intense.
“I had to lie down right then and there. I called out to my wife that something was wrong. Fortunately, I was able to see my primary physician right away on that very same day.”
Steve’s primary care doctor conducted tests and referred him to Dr. Nassir Azimi, an interventional cardiologist affiliated with Sharp Grossmont. An angiogram determined that Steve had blockage in his artery and would need three stents placed in his heart. Steve’s care team informed him of what the procedure entailed and what he could expect from recovery, with what he describes as compassion and kindness.
As he was preparing for the procedure at the Burr Heart and Vascular Center, the operating room team asked him what his favorite genre of music was. After sharing his love for classic rock, a familiar sound came flowing through the speakers.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Steve says. “It’s my favorite band, The Dire Straits. It gave me so much comfort in that moment, because that’s the music I listen to at home. There is no way that they would have known that, and yet it still was the first song that played.”
Post procedure, Steve found joy in the little things while recovering – such as a hospital staff member finding him his favorite turkey sandwich and the communication from nurses when they changed shifts to ensure he knew who would be at his side. Steve credits their cheerful nature during his overnight recovery stay as meaningful and comforting as he bounced back from his whirlwind experience.
“The team at Sharp Grossmont Hospital that took care of me were amazing, not to mention how incredible the facility is,” he says. “It was just a super experience from top to bottom.”
By his side through it all was Steve’s wife and best friend, Pat. He reflects fondly on their relationship, which began at age 16 as high school sweethearts. While life took them in different directions, they reconnected only 12 years ago and have been adding pages to their love story ever since.
In addition to more time to experience life’s special moments with Pat, Steve looks forward to his future, sharing, “I think about how I have more time. I think about how now I’ll get to see my grandchildren grow up and get married. That’s amazing.”
“I tell my family that now is the time to make changes and that we need to take our health seriously,” he says. “I quit smoking, I eat food that is more nutritious, take my medication without fail, and I walk 30 minutes a day. I know that I need to take care of myself because I was given this second chance. Without this facility close to home, I wouldn’t be here now.”
For Steve and his family, there are more memories to be made and life to be lived – more trips, more art, more hugs and more magic to be found in the everyday.
“I don’t take a single day for granted now,” Steve says. “Every morning when I wake up, I see it as a gift.”