Mended Hearts Open Forum

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Life Lessons in recovery

  • 1.  Life Lessons in recovery

    Posted 07-29-2020 20:23

    Cardiac Rehab makes you think about how bad you've got it -- obviously, you wouldn't be there unless something pretty crappy had happened to you, lol - but also how good you've got it. #1, you're lucky to have lived through the crappy thing and be able to attend rehab....#2, there are people in there recovering from even crappier things than you experienced.

    I was on the treadmill this afternoon when an older man on the sitting elliptical machine facing me signaled for a nurse. I heard him telling her that he was having pain around his incision.....he's diabetic, so it's been taking a very long time to heal. The nurse asked him if she could take a look....he said Sure...and she raised his shirt to check his incision. I nearly tripped and fell off my treadmill. It was horrible....the scar was red and purple and as big around as my little finger, there was mild bruising on his chest, the whole area just LOOKED painful. For the first time, it really occurred to me that some of the people next to me on the ellipticals doing only 5 minutes at Level 1 while I am doing 20 minutes on Level 6 are open heart surgery patients, and what is just moderately tiring for me must be absolutely excruciating for someone who had their sternum cracked open and wired back together. I had the deadliest type of heart attack you can have and an organ full of mesh metal stents, but at least my chest is still in one piece....which makes me feel pretty damn lucky in a rather messed up, morbid kind of way, lol.

    It's not easy getting used to this new life I have to live now, and there are a lot of moments that I feel depressed and overwhelmed....but I'm also learning to be thankful for the little things. From a song that plays in my head frequently these days, the words of the late/great Jerry Garcia...

    Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me
    Other times, I can barely see
    Lately, it occurs to me
    What a long, strange trip it's been.....

    Tracy Rhodes
    Charleston SC

  • 2.  RE: Life Lessons in recovery

    Posted 07-30-2020 07:32
    Tracy : your story about appreciating how well you are doing compared to others triggered a memory for me .
    7 1/2 years ago, I was in cardio rehab ( post open heart surgery and post op complications) and AFRAID to go on the treadmill. The therapist said “No problem, we have other exercises you can do” . the was a younger woman with an oxygen tank and other stuff attached to her and SHE was on the treadmill !!!! So I decided if she could do it, so could I. they started me at 1/2 mile an hour: like the conveyor belt walkways at the airport.

    Marilyn B. Rosenhouse
    Mobile: (214)850-0655

  • 3.  RE: Life Lessons in recovery

    Posted 07-30-2020 07:59

    The Jerry Garcia lyrics are great, and so true. I haven't had heart surgery (thank God) but I know what you mean about how seeing other patients whose situations are so much worse than yours puts things in perspective. I feel that way every time I visit my cardiologist and watch fellow patients coming and going. Keeps me humble (most of the time).

    Jean McMillan

  • 4.  RE: Life Lessons in recovery

    Posted 07-30-2020 11:37
    So true. I was very fortunate in my experience.

    Terry Martin
    Lexington, IL