‘Beaten up, but I’m a survivor,’ McCarthy says after heart attack

SHARE ‘Beaten up, but I’m a survivor,’ McCarthy says after heart attack

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy looked out at the sea of men and women in blue Wednesday and told them they were not there to witness his funeral.

“Word of my demise was greatly exaggerated,” McCarthy said, addressing graduating police cadets and sergeants at Navy Pier Wednesday morning. “I’m here.”

Looking a little pale, but otherwise healthy, McCarthy was making his first public appearance since his heart attack.

The superintendent said he was overwhelmed by the cards, text messages, emails and “way too many flowers” from well wishers.

McCarthy even joked about feeling like the hard-living Rolling Stones rocker, Keith Richards. McCarthy said he’d attended a Stones concert a few years back at which Richards said he was simply glad to be alive.

“I kind of feel that way today,” McCarthy said.

That prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who sat beside McCarthy at the ceremony, to joke: “I thought it was all the stress of the work. It’s all the Rolling Stones concerts.”

The superintendent said he wouldn’t have missed Wednesday’s ceremony “for the world.”

“I’m pretty beaten up, but I’m a survivor,” he told Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed in an exclusive interview before the ceremony.

Top cop McCarthy, who had attended two events and seemed in great health the day before his heart attack, planned to be at the Navy Pier ceremony for “at least two hours and then go home,” he told Sneed.

Hit by a sudden heart attack last Thursday, McCarthy has been recovering at home under doctors’ orders since his release last week and receiving calls each day from Emanuel and his police team.

“I’m technically on medical leave until the end of the month but my doctors have told me to take it easy — so I’m not sure when I will be back at work full-time,” he told Sneed.

Rumors of McCarthy, a fit Bronx bulldog whose heart attack was sudden and serious, resigning soon and moving his career into a less toxic atmosphere to accommodate his medical issues “are not happening now,” he told Sneed.

“We are in election time and I’m am going to see it through,” he said. “I won’t let the men or the mayor down.

“Our murder rate is down. I hear a drumbeat out there for gun legislation. I still think we can do something to get guns off the street.

“We’ve already set up a functioning police department. I am also working with U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush and his group to deal with gang crime and keeping our streets safe.

“His group met Monday and I dispatched a representative to attend.”

“I am committed to this city and fully dedicated to getting the job done.”

McCarthy, 55, had a 100-percent blockage in one artery and 80-percent blockage in another. A third artery was clear.

He underwent an angioplasty, in which a thin wire is inserted in the artery allowing a balloon to pass through. The balloon is expanded to push aside the plaque or clot causing the blockage. Then a stent — a tube — is placed inside to keep the artery open.

The Latest
The second-year forward knows there’s a youth movement underway. Now that he’s healthy, he’s looking to see what part he’ll play in it.
The Illinois Republican has a lot going on at the convention because he wears a lot of hats. He’s a vice chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee — a House GOP political organization — and a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and the Intelligence Committee.
If the Cubs were good enough to go to Baltimore and sweep a three-game series against the playoff-bound Orioles, it’s too soon to dismiss them.
The Sun-Times’ annual season-opening test of fans’ optimism/pessimism is a little skewed this year. With Caleb Williams, DJ Moore, Keenan Allen & Co. and a defense on the rise, Bears fans have every right to feel good about this team. What can go wrong?