MedWatch- CCMH Cardiac Rehabilitation program

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Heart attacks take a hard hit on your body, and often times can leave you with pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty with movement. Thanks to Comanche County Memorial Hospital's Cardiac Rehabilitation program, patients who suffer a cardiac episode can get their lives back on track.

"I start on the treadmill. I do 10 minutes on the treadmill. Then I go to the max machine and lift a few weights on the max machine." Rob Rooker suffered a heart attack back in 2011, and has been coming to the CCMH Healthy Heart Center since 2013. "It's strengthening not only my heart, but also my movement, my leg movement and my arms. And it's helping me with my breath."

After his heart attack, he had a pacemaker put in, and struggled with shortness of breath. Since he's been coming to the Healthy Heart Center, his breathing has improved, and not to mention he's lost 15 pounds.

"My cardiologist said I needed to lose weight, and I still need to lose more. So I'm going to keep coming."

Patients are monitored by trained nurses during their rehab. Denise Thompson, one of the nurses at the center, says they are there to help the patients get strength back in their heart.

"It's a lifestyle change for them. And that's what we stress very, very much to them."

Each patient to commits to 3 days a week, for at least 30 minutes. A small price to pay, to stay healthy.

"You got to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes, more than your normal activity every day because that opens your blood vessels so your blood flows and your plaque doesn't build up."

"I get up and come early in the mornings so I can get in and get it over with, and get it done. And I look forward to coming. Not only just for the staff but for the fellowship with the other patients as well."

Nurse Thompson says she loves getting to know the patients, and they always have fun with rehab.

"If they are bored, or they dread coming to the gym, most people don't like it. They're not going to make the commitment and keep doing it even after their program is done."

Rooker says he would recommend the healthy heart center at CCMH to anyone.
"The monitoring that you get, and it's a lot safer. You're not pushed beyond your limit. It's not more pain and gain. It's we want to watch you and make sure you're okay."

"It's very true that once we get to know them, we get a feeling that when they walk in we're like 'hey you're not so chipper today.' or 'What's wrong?' Sometimes we can see things before they really notice that something's really bothering them or they just don't feel good. Once you get to know them, they're family is what it is," said Denise Thompson, the Cardiac Rehab LPN.

The nurses at the center are also trained to respond to cardiac emergencies and can provide the immediate care needed if a patient were to go into cardiac arrest. To find out more about the options available at the healthy heart center, you can call them at 585-5424.

In other health news, CCMH's annual Heart Healthy Luncheon is February 23rd at 11:30 a.m. in the Maple conference room.  You're invited to attend the lunch and presentation "Aspirin, Friend or Foe?"  Lunch is $10. Seating is limited so please RSVP by calling 580-585-5406.

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