On Friday, I graduated Cardiac Rehab. For those of you unfamiliar with Cardiac Rehabilitation, it was a program that was offered to me after my heart surgery this summer. It was a 36 session rehabilitation program that I went to 3 times a week that involved exercising while hooked up to monitors. Trained nurses and exercise physiologists were on hand to make sure that my heart was able to handle the workload without saying “See ya!” And it was in my local hospital so just in case my heart was like, “Nope” I could get the help that I needed quickly.
Congrats To Me! I Graduated Cardiac Rehab
Fortunately my heart was all about it. There was no drama [except for a bought of pneumonia that I had in October, thanks lungs] and I slowly worked my exercise level up to my being able to do more than what I could do pre-heart attack. We lovingly refer to this time as BC [as in Before Cut, bwahaha]. I can now do a full 20 minutes on an elliptical, yo! I am quite proud of that fact as you can tell. My 21 year old daughter can’t even do that. Yet. She’s working on it because we can’t let mama win!
So, I attended Cardiac Rehab Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a few months. We exercised on treadmills and recumbent bikes for an hour and on Wednesdays, we stayed a bit later and had an educational class that taught about many subjects. One of my favorites was on the use of a defibrillator. Since I was the only person in the class who got the pleasure of being cardioverted, I got to be the “expert” on the subject. FYI: cardioversion hurts whether you are passed out or awake. I know. I had it both ways. So don’t let anyone tell you different. However, it only hurts for like a hot second and there is no residual pain so, if offered the “shock” take it. You’ll at least have a cool story to tell. And you’ll be alive to tell it. 😉
I admit, I was kind of scared the first time I got on the treadmill at Cardiac Rehab. I mean, I just had a heart attack about a month earlier. My chest was cut open [what if I fell? You guys know I’m clumsy] and I had ventricular tachycardia, which is a crazy fast heart rhythm that can send you into cardiac arrest if not dealt with immediately [would having a fast heart rate from exercise kill me?] I also now have heart failure. Since my heart is weak, I knew I better try figure out a way to make it stronger. I decided to do Cardiac Rehab despite my initial fears. I sure wasn’t going to live the rest of my life on the couch, scared to death, waiting to die. Forget that.
You guys know how much I traveled before. You guys know how I went to to tons of concerts and covered really cool events pre-heart attack. That’s the core of who I am and I’m not ready to give that up.
So I started doing Cardiac Rehab 3 days a week around the beginning of September and then I started going to the local gym the other 4 days a week about a month after that. Because of Cardiac Rehab, I knew that I could work out at the gym and be fine. But just in case, I went to the one that is owned by the hospital, has a doctor’s office in the same building and has a defibrillator on hand, you know, just in case.
It was slow going at first. I could walk 1.4 mph on the treadmill for like 15 minutes I think the first time I tried it. Now I do 3.2 mph [generally for 30 minutes]. It’s crazy what our bodies can go through and come back from, don’t you think? I am still not all the way healed, and I have mastered a whole new level of fatigue, but I feel like I have come a long way in just over 4 months.
On Friday when I graduated, the Cardiac Rehab staff gave me a shirt and a certificate and had a cute little setup to celebrate my graduation. 3 of us graduated on one day, so congrats to Pam and Adele, too!