Councillor anticipating full recovery after heart attack

City Coun. Stephen Blais says he's looking forward to getting back to his usual routine at home and at work after suffering a heart attack that has left him hospitalized for the past two months.

City Coun. Stephen Blais says he's looking forward to getting back to his usual routine at home and at work after suffering a heart attack that has left him hospitalized for the past two months.

Blais was transferred out of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute's coronary care unit and into a regular hospital room on Tuesday.

On Friday, he told Ottawa Morning's Robyn Bresnahan he now has a "better appreciation for the small things."

Coun. Stephen Blais says doctors have told him he should make a full recovery.

Blais spent weeks in a medically induced coma to allow his heart to heal, and once doctors took him out of the coma, he came down with a bad case of pneumonia and had to be put back under.

The heart attack happened on Jan. 7 at the Goodlife Fitness in Place d'Orleans.

"I actually don't remember anything about that day," Blais said, adding that witnesses have pieced it together for him.

He had just wrapped up a workout with the personal trainer he had been working with for six months, Blais said.

He started feeling strange, sat down on a set of chairs at the front of the gym, and went into cardiac arrest.

CPR lasted nearly two hours

The trainer noticed what was going on and started CPR, Blais said. Emergency responders were called and thankfully, Blais said, paramedics were already at the shopping centre on another call.

They took him to Montfort Hospital, where doctors performed CPR for about an hour and a half, Blais said. He was then taken to the heart institute.

Blais is just 32.

"The doctors have said that it's likely it is genetic," Blais said, adding that he doesn't drink or smoke, and eats fairly well. "It's something that runs in my family, in both sides of my family."

After coming out of the second coma, Blais said he was confused and couldn't speak because of the respirator in his mouth.

"I was very fortunate that both my wife and my mother were there to calm me down and describe what had happened, and kind of walk me through those very earliest of days to keep everything going in the right direction," Blais said.

"They've been the rocks of Gibraltar. I can't speak any more highly of my wife and my mom. They spent the entire first month and a half with me every day, and my wife is still here with me every day. They've really been the ones to help me stay focused on recovery, to stay positive about recovery and what's happened, and lead me to the successful recovery that I've had so far."

Blais said he's been doing some work for the hospital to keep in touch with staff and provide direction, and has no plans to leave city council.

He said he's looking forward to going home and back to work downtown.

"If I'm able, I think I'm going to play a game with my son. It's been very tough, not to be able to horse around with my little guy a little bit," Blais said.