Keith's Heart StoryJan 25, 2024
In the Birmingham community, Keith Mims is famous for his voice. You have probably heard him as the Voice of Legion Field for the last 23 years or while catching a game with the Birmingham Barons. While Keith is a local celebrity because of his voice, his heart truly sets him apart. And in 2021, Keith was sent to Brookwood Baptist Health to save that heart.
That summer, Keith was sitting at home when he noticed the signs of a major heart attack. “I noticed that I was sweating and had shortness of breath, so I called 911,” Keith said. “The ambulance brought me to Brookwood Baptist Medical Center.”
When Keith arrived at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, his physician team noted that his heart was beating at 2% capacity. Immediately, Keith was sent to surgery, where his care team performed a quadruple bypass procedure to save his life.
“My cardiologists told me that they had never seen a heart that weak before,” Keith said. “After that surgery, I spent two months in and out of intensive care.”
Keith reflected that it is a miracle he is still here. “After my surgery, I spent two months in and out of intensive care, and it got way too close a few times,” Keith said. “Even my doctors have said that I’m a miracle. They said that what got me through was an incredibly strong will to live.”
Following his quadruple bypass and an extensive recovery period, Keith faced a six-month rehabilitation journey where he had to re-learn how to stand, walk and speak.
“The therapists here at Brookwood got me back on my feet. After my recovery, I wasn’t able to walk or talk. The team here helped me get back to that,” Keith said. “I would not want to go to any other hospital ever for cardiovascular care. It has been amazing what Brookwood has done for my life and the care they have given me to get me back on my feet. I’m so thankful and grateful to all of the people and the staff here. There are so many I remember by name that took care of me.”
Keith mentioned that another highlight during his stay was the daily encouragement and scripture that was shared over the intercom every morning. “I’ll never forget every morning across the intercom, there’s a scripture and a word of encouragement. That was so inspiring to me during my stay here. I was in a walker for over a month. I had no strength, couldn’t hold my legs up in the bed. To think of where I was then, and where I am now… It’s incredible.”
Keith finally returned home in October, regaining his independence and his voice. He continues to work with his Brookwood Cardiologists to maintain his heart health and had a defibrillator placed in 2022.
When it comes to maintaining his cardiac care today, Keith is incredibly diligent. “I work out six days a week, I lift weights three days a week, I do cardio work on the treadmill six days a week,” Keith said. “There are three things to staying healthy. I eat properly, I medicate properly, and I exercise properly. Those are the three things imperative to my heart and cardiovascular health.”
Keith also advised others who are working to maintain their cardiac health. “To other people trying to maintain their cardiac health, there has to be consistency. As far as taking your medications, having the proper diet and also exercise. Consistency is key. You can’t work out for two weeks and take eight months off. You can’t eat properly now and then. It has to be a continual healthy diet. As far as your medications are concerned, take your medications on the regimen that has been prescribed to you by your cardiologist and physicians.”
Looking back at his experience, Keith shared the most significant word that describes his mindset – grateful. “At this point in my life, going on 67 years old, there’s so much peace in my life. Every day is a good day, regardless of what the circumstances are. I use the word often ‘grateful’ and if there’s any word that describes my relationship with Brookwood Baptist Medical Center -- it’s grateful,” Keith said.
“I’m so grateful that I came to Brookwood Hospital when I first started having my heart attacks. I live eight minutes away from here, and I’m grateful to be so close by,” Keith said. “I would never go anywhere else for cardiovascular care, and I’m grateful to be here. The people at Brookwood have continued to grow this hospital and take care of our community.”