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Kresha returns to council in wake of near-fatal heart attack

January 8, 2019

Many people in Dennis Kresha’s current condition probably wouldn’t feel too fortunate.

In the wake of his September 2018 heart attack, he doesn’t move quite as fast, his voice is raspy because of some vocal cord paralysis and he still completes therapy at Columbus Community Hospital, strengthening his body and recovering heart.

But he’s alive, and returned to his Columbus City Council seat Monday evening to a round of applause from those in attendance and fellow members made him feel pretty darn lucky.

“It’s great to be back here on the city council again. I’d like to thank everyone for their cards, letters and prayers while I was in the hospital after my Widow Maker heart attack,” Kresha said at the brief meeting’s start. “I’d also like to thank God, and I do every day because if he wouldn’t have put me in the right place at the right time, I wouldn’t be here.”

Kresha was originally elected to the council in November 2014 prior to officially being sworn in on Dec. 1, 2014. The council member is part of the Public Property, Safety and Works committees, according to the city’s website. During November 2018’s general election, Kresha – running unopposed – garnered 1,090 votes (98.91 percent) to retain his current seat.

Immediately following his heart attack, Kresha was transferred to Nebraska Heart Institute Columbus, where one stint was placed in his heart to allow more blood flow.

“Well, it made more blood flow in my arteries and when that happened two more blood clots formed. So they had to put in three total stints and they had me in CPR for over a half an hour,” Kresha said. “And my son, he’s an EMT, and he said that he’s never seen anyone survive that was in CPR for that long.”

Even surviving, he wasn’t out of the woods. Following stints being placed, he was sedated for 10 days before awaking, unable to speak or use his hands to write for two weeks.

“Talk about the height of frustration,” Kresha said of relearning these abilities at Madonna Rehabilitation in Lincoln.

While Kresha was fighting his battle, though, he was still being kept in the loop – at least as much as he could be – about what was happening at the government level locally.

“It’s great to have him back being part of the family,” Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley said. “We kept him informed, but there was a point there where we weren’t sure how he was doing. It’s good that he made it back and is recovering. As you can tell, he’s a little weak, but doing fine. And we made a point of letting him know that the chair was waiting for him, and I think it gave him a little incentive to say, ‘hey, I’ve got things to do, I need to get back to work.’”

And that’s one of the nicest things for Kresha -- just getting back to his life. After being told by two doctors in the aftermath of his life-threatening experience that they didn’t think he was going to make it, that’s about all he can ask for today

“I proved them wrong, and I thank God every day,” he added.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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