I finally began Cardiac Rehab, which will help me determine my limitations. The past few times I’ve gone walking in my neighborhood, I’ve had some pain in my chest and back when breathing. Cardiac Rehab will allow my heart to get stronger and will hopefully increase my stamina. I will start off with 18 sessions, and then they will reassess to see if I need an additional 18. My insurance covers it, but my copay is $40 per session, which is way more than I can really afford, but it’s something I have to do. I can do 2 or 3 1-hour sessions per week, so I’ve agreed to start out with 3, and then I’ll drop down to 2 per week for financial reasons.
My first session was over 2 hours long because the nurse wanted to go over my file with me, discuss my prescriptions, and review my cholesterol numbers. Then, I got to try out some of the machines. I wear a heart monitor and there are nurses and exercise physiologists in the room that monitor your heart rate and check your blood pressure. I started out walking on the treadmill for 5 minutes at a pace of about 2.1. I had no problems! Then, I tried 5 minutes on an elliptical-type machine where you are sitting down. Finally, I tried 5 minutes on a stationery bike. Even though everything was done at a slow pace, I still worked up a sweat. It really is a great feeling to know that if something happens, I’m surrounded by a team of medical professionals.
During my second session, they increased my time on the 3 machines to 7 minutes and increased the pace. I had no pain and worked up more of a sweat. My heart rate and blood pressure exactly what they should be for someone my age. In fact, I even went back on the treadmill a 2nd time for 6 more minutes and felt fine.
My goals from Cardiac Rehab are to ensure my heart heals, build up my stamina, and eventually get to the point where I’m healthy to run again. Years ago, I was a runner and would run 3-5 miles a day. I competed in 5Ks, 10Ks, and even completed a half marathon. I believe that running for so many years is the reason that my heart bounced back so quickly after the heart attack. The doctors are still amazed that my heart went from 15% EF to 40-44% EF in a matter of a few days. I attribute this to running for so many years.
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