Date: October 1st, 1999
Someone forgot to tell Ike Hager that adolescence ends at age 20. The 69-year-old says that his wife regularly tells him to "stop acting like a teenager."
He certainly has the energy of one...or maybe several. Besides his position as office administrator at the Alliance for Aging Research, the New Jersey native volunteers with St. Charles Catholic Elementary School and Community Health Charities of the National Capital Area. He has also amassed a collection of 340 Beanie Babies, which he plans to donate to Washington area children's hospitals in December. And during the last "Apples for the Students Plus" program - in which register tapes from participating grocery stores are put toward computer equipment for local schools - Hager collected $306,040 in tapes, half of the entire amount that volunteers collected for one school.
All this from a man who has to watch his activity level: Hager has had two heart attacks.
The first one happened in April 1988, while he was helping with the March of Dimes walkathon in Washington. "[The heart attack] happened at about 5:30 in the morning, and . . . one of the nurses drove me to the hospital at about 6 at night," says Hager. "I was really sick - [waiting so long] wasn't a smart thing to do."
Hager, who worked at the March of Dimes at the time, left there in February 1989. The next day, the Alliance for Aging Research asked if he would work on a project.
"I was supposed to stay 90 days," says Hager. "I've been here ten and a half years."
Before the March of Dimes, Hager spent 22 years in the U. S. Navy. His assignments included embassies in India and Denmark, and a stint as deputy director of administration for the Secretary and the Staffing Undersecretary of the Navy.
In June 1989, Hager had a second heart attack, "at home in my La-Z-Boy." This one required quadruple bypass surgery. He had started cardiac rehabilitation after his first heart attack, and continues it to this day.
Hager's dedication to staying in shape stems, he says, from his personality. "My cardiologist and the nurses at the rehab center say I'm not a Type A personality--I'm a triple-A plus. I go above and beyond what they ask of me; I try to beat my own records. Part of it is my personality, and part of it is that I follow my cardiologist's recommendations."
"My advice to anybody who has a heart attack, he says, "is to follow your cardiologist's recommendations to the letter."
"Every Tuesday and Thursday I'm at Alexandria Hospital at 6 a.m., and we exercise from 6:30 to 7:30," says Hager. "The rehab program is outstanding." He also walks two miles every evening, weather permitting.
Hager is on medication, but "I feel great . . . I don't feel that I'm 69 years old. I went to my high school reunion recently, and I'm the only one in my class still working - everyone else has either died or retired!"