And I said: yes, yes, YES!
Apologies for the LOOOOOONG silence on my end. It isn’t that I haven’t had anything to say, but rather I’ve been having trouble balancing my creative/communicative self with my work responsibilities. And on top of that, my energy reserves have been running low for a while now (more on that later).
When we last “spoke”, I was only a few months into my recovery. Physically, I was going on walks every day, each well a little longer than the one before. I was also doing physical therapy through the Visiting Nurses Association. Two to three times a week, my therapist would come to the apartment and put me through my paces. These visits were immensely helpful as they brought back my ability to lift and reach for things. Not to mention finally being able to open that damn refrigerator door. My therapist also had me start climbing stairs in preparation for returning to my own apartment in Queens, a three-story walk up. Believe it or not, my mom actually went to Queens to count the stairs in my building so I would know what I needed to work up to.
PT only lasted for about eight sessions though, and then it was time to take it up a notch. Enter Cardiac Rehab.
Cardiac Rehab programs are designed for heart surgery patients to get back on their feet. They normal run for 6-9 weeks depending on the individual. My cardiologist prescribed an eight week program for me which translated into three sessions per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each session started out with a 15-minute warm up with light stretching, then three 10-minute rotations on various cardio machines, rounded out by a short workout with exercise bands. Cardio options included: stationary bikes, recumbent bikes, arm bikes, rowing machines, ellipticals, and treadmills.
Rehab was amazing for several reasons:
- it was an incredibly supportive environment (both the instructors and the other patients)
- it made me work harder than I would have if left to my own devices
- it kept things interesting
Rehab was also great because it was a protective environment. Before beginning, we were each hooked up to a portable EKG, the output of which was monitored for the duration of each session. The instructors kept records of our progress from week to week, upping the resistance level of our machines accordingly. And during each of the 10-minute workouts, we reported on our exertion level. By the end of the program, I was up to 2 miles on the bike, 1.75 miles on the elliptical, 1.6 miles on the treadmill (for a 15:00 miles at a 5 degree incline mind you!), and 2000 meters on the rowing machine. Yes, I’m bragging. 😉
Huge thanks to Andrew and Angela for all their support!