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"Cardiac Rehab at St. Charles earns loyalty"

Ed, 84, suffered a heart attack 20 years ago. Today, he considers himself to be in excellent health for a man his age, and he says he owes his health to Cardiac Rehabilitation at Mercy St. Charles Hospital.

Following Ed’s heart attack in 1990, he spent almost two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Charles.

“I spent that time laying down flat, not even sitting up,” he said. “I ended up so weak, I didn’t know what to do. After they moved me to the Step Down Unit, Samantha (Samantha Christie, RN, BSN, Senior Clinical Coordinator, Heart Failure Clinic/Cardiac Rehab at Mercy St. Charles Hospital) came to visit me to talk about Cardiac Rehab, which she said I would need. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. But Samantha gave me a telephone call after I was discharged, and she said, ‘Ed, you need to get in here!’ And I said, ‘Well, OK, let’s go.’”

Despite his initial hesitation, once Ed began his Cardiac Rehab program, he committed to it fully.

“I think I went 28 times, and then they told me about their Phase III, for maintenance, and I decided to go twice a week,” Ed said. “I made the decision to make it a way of life. I had retired back in ’78, and after that had three part-time jobs. I made them all work around my rehab.”

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Ed spends 45 minutes exercising at Cardiac Rehab at St. Charles.

“I knew that I could do a lot of the exercises I do there at home, but I know myself, and if I didn’t come here to St. Charles, I would get out of the habit and just not do them at all,” Ed said. “As a musician (Ed played the trumpet for many years, performing with the Toledo Symphony and playing for operas, ice shows and circuses as well as in night clubs), I know that if you don’t practice, you get out of shape. You have to make exercise a way of life and dedicate yourself to it just like you would dedicate yourself to your wife or your children.”

Ed said that not only has the regular exercise helped keep him in good cardiovascular shape, but his regular visits to Cardiac Rehab have helped to catch problems early.

Not only does Ed attribute his excellent health outcomes to Cardiac Rehab at St. Charles, he said he appreciates the relationships he has had with staff as well as other patients there over the years.

“It’s like a family there,” he said. “All of us talk to each other and welcome every new person who comes to rehab. Samantha is tops. She catches every little thing that goes wrong, and she has such a rapport with the doctors. She is very professional but also friendly and caring – she is just a joy to be around. And, as for the other nurses, I don’t know where they found them, but they are just as nice as can be. If anyone from Cardiac Rehab is in the hospital they will come visit. They just don’t forget you. You aren’t going to find a better bunch of nurses anywhere. I love each one of them.”

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