Guy Tober
Guy Tober

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one of a series leading up to the 2018 Sanibel/Captiva Heart Walk on Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. Island residents are urged to sign up for the walk and join a team at www.sanibelcaptivaheartwalk.org. For further information, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Kelly Glewa at (239) 340-2407 or Sandy Teger (973) 420-3233. The social media hash tag for the walk is #sancapheartwalk.

When you are running a company, it’s hard to slow down. Sometimes your body needs to find a way to get your attention. In 1995, Guy Tober had some chest pains, so he took an aspirin and went to bed. When he still had pain in the morning he decided to see his doctor who sent him directly to the hospital where he had an angioplasty. He was told to come back to the hospital in a few weeks in order to have a stent put in. Although that sounded like an excellent plan, it didn’t work out. They were unable to insert the stent, so the day which had started with a relatively simple procedure suddenly became a much bigger deal. That same day, they performed a double bypass at his hospital in Bethlehem, Pa.

Guy started rehab and did it religiously for three months. He knew that he couldn’t go back to his old habits, so after the rehab period he continued his exercise by walking six mornings a week, something he continued for years. He also changed his diet, avoiding red meat and eating a heart healthy diet. In addition, he understood the importance of having a yearly heart checkup.

Things went well until this August, when he noticed that he started getting more tired and had times when he was dizzy. When he experienced a pain in his chest, Guy decided to take action and asked his wife Tina to drive him to Health Park. The doctors did a thorough work up and discovered that although he did not have any blockages, his heart was not working hard enough. He stayed at the hospital for four days while they tried an interim solution. It involved fitting him with a vest which included multiple defibrillators and kept records of his heart function. After six weeks they determined that they needed to increase his medication and after another period of stabilization they were ready to implant a combination defibrillator/pacemaker.

The IV had been started and he was all set to go into the OR for the procedure when his doctor arrived to tell him that they could not perform the procedure that day. This was after Hurricane Irma and although they had disinfected the operating room multiple times, after all the people who had come through Health Park, the doctor determined that it wasn’t sterile enough for the planned procedure. Rather than getting upset about the 11th hour change in plans Guy was actually grateful that they decided to avoid the risk of infection.

The second try took place subsequently at Gulf Coast and this time all went as planned. The implanted device keeps records of his heart function which can be transmitted to the hospital and doctor. Through the excellent medical care Guy received he is now back to walking and playing golf. He feels very fortunate to live in an age where treatments are more available than they were for his father, who died of a heart attack.

Guy is planning to join us at Community House on Sunday, Jan. 28 for the Sanibel/Captiva Heart Walk. Festivities for the walk begin at 2 p.m. and the non-competitive, family-friendly walk starts at 3 p.m. at Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. Walkers enjoy a safe, closed loop, and may do as many as laps as they wish to complete a 3.2-mile 5K or optional one-mile course. To join a team or donate visit www.SanibelCaptivaHeartWalk.org. Entertainment will include a photo booth and Thank You For The Dance Entertainment is providing Face Painting, a strolling magician and an event favorite, great music from Dan Confrey.

The Sanibel/Captiva Trust Company and Il Cielo who are the walk’s Platinum sponsors. If you are interested in becoming one a sponsor or for further information regarding the walk, contact Lee Heart Walk Director Kelly Glewa at (239) 340-2407 or Sandy Teger (973) 420-3233.