January 15, 2014. The day I completed Cardiac Rehab. Twelve weeks of it, sort of. I had a couple set backs and it lasted 16 weeks.
Attending was one of the best choices I could have made in my recovery.
The first day I walked into the gym for rehab I stuck out like a sore thumb. Here I was 36 years old in a room of men and women, mostly men who were 15- 20 years older than me. Once of these things was not like the others. It was then that it hit me a little more but also made me realize i had a chance to change everything or allow it to remain the same and potentially have a much shorter life.
You will notice that with this post I have a picture of a few beautiful women. The amazing women are the nurses at the Cardiac Wellness Centre at Talisman Centre. Each of these ladies have had a large impact on my recovery. They are some of the most caring, empathetic, funny, determined nurses I’ve ever met.
Each session I attended I was greeted with a warm smile and a hearty hello before I was about to get poked, get blood pressure checked and held accountable to ensure I was taking my meds before they put me to work.
I also cannot forget the many volunteers I met during my time there. Most were former Rehab patients who wanted to give back in any way they could. Every single one of them were so pleasant and seemed genuinely happy to see me when I arrived. I too am sad I cannot see them as much as I did.
To explain an average session is easy. I would do some sort of cardio workout for 45- 55 mins 3 hrs a week. Somedays longer. IN the beginning o f rehab I could not last more than 15 mins at a fairly easy pace on any piece of equiptment. My body tired easily and my mind was frustrated. These nurses were very encouraging and told me it would all come back but I had to be patient and listen to them and follow the advice given. There were days that I left feeling defeated and others I felt on top of the world because of the progress I was making. I had set backs and successes. There were so many days where I did have to dig a little deeper to get stronger and where the nurses pushed me to work a little harder. Not once did I want to give up but there were times when my body hated me.
Attending was a choice and not one I took lightly. I had my leave of absence from work extended to ensure I could attend each session. Getting better was my main priority and I would have given up anything in my personal life to be there.
So, how did this benefit me ? I went from not lasting more than 12 miutess of cardio at a light level to now being able to run solidly for an hour on a track or treadmill or the stationary bike at a level that challenges me and can be difficult. I lost 23 lbs and have gained more energy and feel better than I have in years. I made some friends in rehab, most who were 15-20 years my senior and one who was 11 years my junior. I made friendships and gained admiration for my nurses and loved seeing them each time I was there. I Was able to celebrate success with those around me and see them go from pain in their eyes to happiness as things got better and easier.
Since Rehab has completed I have struggled a little. I miss the people, the experience and the fun, yes the fun. One of my goals is to gain the time to be able to volunteer and help the Cardiac Wellness Institute in any way I can. My promise is to share the word on how great thief program is and what a difference it can and will make.