"Recovery Phase"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, November 18, 2017

After major medical events conclude and patients arrive home, they may still be reeling from what they have just experienced.

Fortunately for Pat and I, a very nice thing occurred. Our doctors had ordered Home Health Care. It arrived from McClaren Home Care out of Bay City. We had a great nurse who was so thorough, cheerful and encouraging - we just had to begin healing. She brought a big ray of sunshine with her each time she visited.

The system used by Home Care is sophisticated and completely digital. Our doctors had a full report minutes after we were examined. In addition, if we had any questions regarding our health status, the answer was just a click away. It was an easy transition to begin to feel better with the guidance we received. Our nurse soon became a family friend and we all looked forward to seeing her.

After a few weeks, we were ready for the next step: Cardiac rehab at Scheurer Hospital.

Some patients who are referred to the rehab program decline thinking they can do it on their own. Some probably don't want to spend the time, traveling to the hospital and participating. We had an hour's roundtrip travel time but knew it was going to be a benefit and looked forward to participating. We each met with one of the people at the hospital for an interview to review the doctor's orders and set up a schedule. Our doctors had emphasized the importance of rebuilding stamina so we were set up for three days a week.

I was really impressed when I arrived for my first session. There were numerous types of equipment that offered exercise for various muscles and stimulation of the heart. Before beginning, one of the team members wired me up with a heart monitor that would record my vitals as I moved from machine to machine. After doing a list of warm up exercises, I was invited to use any type of equipment that appealed to me.

When I began my first session a timer was set for five minutes at each of the three different machines I chose. The time was increased as I progressed until it reached a maximum of 15 minutes on each one. Halfway through the time period on each machine, one of the staff would visit me with a rolling blood pressure cart and record my vitals. She would call them out to the person who was manning the computer and gathering all the participants' data. Each patient's advancement was being compiled so their doctors could receive a progress report at any time.

Although it seemed difficult at first, very soon I became comfortable with the routine and the hour of rehab passed quickly. My team of three specialists -- RN, exercise physiologist and respiratory therapist -- were so easy and enjoyable to work with. I noted many of the patients would stick around after their work outs just to chat with each other and the team members. Some days it was tiring but as the session numbers increased, I found myself becoming stronger. I was working and loosening muscles up that I had not used for a long time.

Another benefit of the three days a week attendance is just getting going to do something you know will improve your health and well-being.

I may sound like a commercial for the program but once a person gets involved and committed to it, they become a fan. As I see it, a statement in the pamphlet I received about the program is true. "Cardiac Rehab can be the missing puzzle piece to getting your heart back to great health."

Speaking of great health - turkey day is fast approaching and it's the day we look the other way and enjoy all the wonderful food that surrounds the big bird. It's also a day of thankfulness for all of our blessings which begin with family. I sincerely hope all of my readers will be surrounded by them this Thanksgiving.

I was fortunate to see many of my family before I headed south. We all gave thanks for the recovery Pat and I have made. They gave us a great send off as we headed south to enjoy the annual feast in my temporary home with my daughter in Florida.

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