I FINALLY started Cardiac Rehab this week. Unfortunately, when I went to fill out my paperwork last week, I learned that my cardiologist is moving away at the end of the month. This is VERY sad! After all, this is the person who diagnosed my SCAD and literally saved my life. I briefly contemplated making the 90 minute drive to Springfield, IL to continue seeing him, but (rightly so) am going to hunt down a new doctor here with the assistance of my cousin's husband (also a cardiologist). The conversation took a humorous "It's not you, it's me" tone when he stated "I was planning to call you..... your mom told me I could never leave the area." I do recall my mom making this statement in the hospital, once I was out of the woods, and quite frankly, I can't promise that she isn't going to hunt him down and drag him back here. Oh well... this was an unexpected bump in the road, but the road's already been very bumpy to begin with!
Cardiac Rehab takes place in the basement of the hospital. I am required to attend three times a week for at least four weeks and up to three months. It's sort of like going to the gym, but you're hooked up to heart monitors and supervised by cardiac RNs. Oh, and everyone working out around you is at least 60 years old. When I walked into my first class on Monday, there were about nine other people. Two were wheeling their oxygen tanks from station to station and three were using walkers. I checked myself in, picked up my monitor and started my warm-up. The warm-up includes sitting in a chair and kicking my legs straight out in front of me and moving my arms in tiny circles. Once the nurse checks your vitals, you are free to start your workout.
Getting my blood pressure taken.
On the treadmill for the first time since my 3rd trimester!
It's funny how old(er) people talk really loud to each other. As I was doing my cool down, the next session's participants were trickling in the door. This is the conversation that took place about three feet away from me (as I'm doing my arm circles):
Eloise: How ya been, Harold?
Harold: You know Eloise, same old same old.
Eloise: Who's that young thing over there?
Harold: I don't know, but she's pretty cute.
At this point, I am struggling so hard not to laugh that I had to turn around and face the wall. It gets better:
Eloise: Harold, don't talk like that. I wonder why she's here.
Harold: Well. She must have had a heart attack. That's why we're all here.
Eloise: Oh that's sad.
Eloise: I bet she's wondering how she got stuck with a bunch of old farts.
I can no longer stifle my giggles and start to laugh. The two of them, realizing they've been caught, quickly look around innocently. It does not occur to them that while they can't hear each other very well, they've been talking SO loud that anyone with a normal range of hearing have heard everything they've said. Eloise gives me a little wave and then scurries away to put her monitor on. And Harold winks at me.
I can tell that rehab is going to be a journey all on its own. I definitely want to push myself harder than the nurses will let me and they gently remind me that I'm still a stroke risk and need to ease in slowly. Once I get the hang of it, I'll be able to push harder. But, I'm actually a little excited to get to know some of the "old farts" and glean some bits of wisdom from them.
"So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter." ~Gordon W. Allport