Mended Hearts Open Forum

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  • 1.  rehab

    Posted 09-15-2019 08:27
    My husband had a quadruple bypass 9 years ago. It saddens me when I read
    that people "graduated" from rehab. My husband still goes 9 years later.
    There is always a doctor in the building as well as two cardiac care
    nurses. He has a "watch" that monitors him during exercises. Records are
    kept and he brings these to his regular cardiologist during his visits.
    Any problems are reported immediately to his doctor. It makes both of us
    feel more comfortable.?? I can not see how this can compare going to a
    gym. Are we lucky that we have this option ? Our Mended Hearts chapter
    fell apart two years ago so this is a type of support group also. We do
    pay for the rehab. It is $73 a month. Well worth it.

    Maria Feinman

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  • 2.  RE: rehab

    Posted 09-16-2019 11:24
    I have been going to Cardiac Rehab at my hospital for the past 11years, ever since my event.Plan to go for the next 11 years ,that way I won't miss all my friends..��❤️

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  • 3.  RE: rehab

    Posted 09-17-2019 20:50
    I had open heart surgery in January of this year. When I was able I to attended a series of cardio therapy sessions. The difference between when I started to when I "graduated" was amazing. I continue to go to the same place as they offer a "maintenance" rate that I pay independently. I try to visit every day and feel the benefits physically and psychologically. I don't wear any heart monitoring gear but I do have blood pressure checked before during and after. The staff are there to reassure and continue to push regaining confidence in myself . I also really recommend getting an Apple Watch. It monitors my heart beats and records the various sessions I choose. I cannot tell you how much my confidence in my heart and faith in myself has grown watching my heart accelerate to 120 beats per minute. Stay there more or less for a half hour while on the treadmill on a vigorous walk. Then after see it return to the 70's.
    I confirmed as well with my heart surgeon on a recent check up that my physical activity is ok. He laughed when I asked could I be wearing my heart out !
    Maybe one day I will be ok for being totally at a regular gym but for now I do not see any reason to leave the physio therapy group and the wonderful staff there.
    Thank you all, this group has been so supportive .

    Stephen Haygarth

  • 4.  RE: rehab

    Posted 09-18-2019 04:58
    Hello Stephan and everyone, I'm so happy to hear other people having similar positive experiences with cardiac rehab. Stephan, I had open heart surgery in February of this year and the difference between when I started rehab to now is phenomenal as well! My confidence in myself has skyrocketed. Everyone's  situation is different and I really appreciate this Forum because Rehab times and location are not convenient for my lifestyle.

    I was never able to exercise in this capacity because I would get very out of breath and was mis-diagnosed with exercise induced asthma in my 20s. As a result, I did yoga, dance, swimming and walking and my personal trainer believes this is what saved my life. I'm a very healthy person and I discovered that I had a very large hole in my heart ASD prime him after a heart attack in January.  I am a 49 year old mom of two middle schoolers and I work full-time as an architect. My life is very busy! I am one of those people that did graduate from the rehab program so that I could continue with my new (even healthier) lifestyle at a time and place that was convenient for me. I do miss my friends at rehab but I'm going to make new friends at the YMCA which is close to my work and home.  I also invested in the Apple Watch which was the best thing I could've ever done as well! The accuracy of this little machine is amazing. It has giving me great confidence and assistance in keeping track of my exercise. I highly recommend it to everyone!! It's not sad that I graduated rehab and am moving on, it's just what I needed to do for me. That's why having this forum is important so that I can continue the conversation with people similar to me.  Thank you everyone!

    Jill Farfan
    Lexington KY

  • 5.  RE: rehab

    Posted 09-19-2019 16:05
    Dear Stephen
    for 5 years i was on Maintainence at the hospital cardio rehab.  It is 2 miles from my house ( how convenient). Besides having the safety net of exercising with " supervision"and the hospital next door,  your Gym buddies are in the same  boat.  There is a comfort in that.  Also we wear anything and not  all these fashionable exercise clothes.  My husband also likes the "safety net of the staff" . ( not like being in a regular gym . )

    Marilyn Rosenhouse
    Dallas TX
    (214) 850-0219

  • 6.  RE: rehab

    Posted 09-22-2019 16:00

    I've been in the maintenance program for 19 years at our hospital-run HealthPlex following my 5X CABG in 2000.  I credit the exercise for saving my life 3 years ago while I was in MA from NC and started downing nitro.  I came home and saw my interventional cardiologist who did yet another (#7) on my heart.  I had no idea how bad I was until seeing my cardiologist 2 weeks later.  The first thing he said when he walked into the room was, "I'm surprised you're still alive.  You had a 100% block on the Left Anterior Descending Artery – widow maker!"  I firmly believe that the time spent in cardiac rehab helped grow the collateral vessels around all my blockages that really help the blood flow.


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  • 7.  RE: rehab

    Posted 09-16-2019 12:49

    Congrats to your husband's ninth anniversary.

    Your question on the continuing value of a formal rehab program is interesting.
    My experience after a quintuple bypass is that the steps in rehab are, in this order:
    1.physical, provided by the medical professionals.
    2. Safety and security, meaning achieving the necessities of life, like a place to live, etc.
    3. Social, meaning sharing feelings, and life, with others
    4. Self-worth, meaning feeling good about yourself which I believe includes taking responsibility for yourself
    5. Self esteem, meaning being proud of yourself.

    Continuing formal rehab: 
    The positive: It is working by providing the monitoring that makes him comfortable. Apparently you can afford the $73/month.

    The negative: One of the goals of formal rehab is assist patients to learn how to monitor themselves, which fits number 4 of my above steps. He may well be satisfied stopping at step 3.

    An extreme example I used in my book "One Heart-Two Lives: Managing Your Rehabilitation Program WELL" to illustrate the power of relationships of dependence is the Stockholm Syndrone." Several bank robbers, in Stockholm Sweden, held some captives for an extended time period during which they provided food and other necessities. After the captives were released, a significant number of captives felt a loss based on their dependence on their captors. 
    The FBI uses this example to indicate that even in the extreme example of being held prisoner, some feel a loss when separated form their dependence on others. With this in mind, imagine the potential sadness at leaving rehab? I felt a loss when  leaving Intensive Care where they kept me alive, but I knew to ever really be free I needed to assume responsibility for myself:  hence the title of my book where WELL is steps 4 and 5 in my model.

    Everybody, and medical professional, is different: I hope my experience is helpful. 

    Brent Zepke  

  • 8.  RE: rehab

    Posted 09-16-2019 17:14
    “Graduated” just means finished the prescription of cardio rehab exercises. What you are doing my hospital called “Maintenence “. Plus
    I was very good going for 5 years postop but unfortunately have slacked off the last two years. Your husband is an inspiration to me. !!!

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

  • 9.  RE: rehab

    Posted 09-16-2019 20:40
    Dear Maria,

    It is wonderful that you and your husband have gotten so much from cardiac rehab.  It has provided you with a level of comfort and support that you greatly value.  I will be forever grateful to my cardiac rehab team for bringing me from being unable to feed myself after my quintuple bypass surgery and two week medically induced coma to full physical independence.  I still communicate with my chief physical therapist, who I now consider a friend.  I nevertheless felt overjoyed to "graduate" from physical therapy.  My graduation included returning home to my family after six weeks in acute and rehab hospitals.  I kissed the front door of my home when I finally came home.

    I was a serious strength athlete from my high school days through the time of my heart attack.  While I was at rehab, it was my dream to get back to the gym and to start lifting and doing gymnastic workouts again.  I didn't mind at all that I was starting from square one again, as a rank beginner, having list 35 pounds of muscle.  I welcomed the challenge.  In fact, I simply was grateful to be alive, to be able to repay my wife for all that she had been through while I was close to death, and to watch my daughter graduate high school and start college.  I felt reborn, living my second life, a life lived on borrowed time.

    All of us in this group have our own stories.  For me, graduating from rehab and returning to the gym was a celebration of my return to life from the brink of death.  It was a time of joy.  Others may feel the same.  Either way, our graduation from or ongoing participation in cardiac rehab is a gift.

    Best of luck and health to you and your husband.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ