By Ralphine Major
We first met them only days after our mother’s heart attack. The place was St. Mary’s Cardiac Rehab East Towne location. It was the next step in the recovery process as heart attack patients were guided through exercise routines and equipment to strengthen their bodies. A nutritionist held classes explaining diet and nutrition as it relates to heart health. I thought the program would be over and done in about three months. But that was before we met Dr. Niles Lundt, director of the program, and his competent crew of nurses and technicians.
After mother completed the requirements of Phase I, she opted to continue in the maintenance phase. Because heart disease runs on both sides of our family, my brother and I joined her in rehab activities. St. Mary’s would became Mercy and later Tennova. For seven years we were blessed to be in the care of some wonderful people we still call friends. An unexpected benefit was the comradery among patients. We met new friends at rehab and reconnected with “old” friends. Eventually, the East Towne facility closed and moved to the hospital’s main campus. Many had been coming to rehab for 20 years or more.
Recently, I learned that Cardiac Rehab at Physicians Regional (the old St. Mary’s) is now closing. I am saddened that patients in the northeast area will be left without a cardiac rehab facility. I say “thank you” to the retired staff and the remaining staff for their dedication to their profession and to the patients. My family was blessed to be under their care during a critical period in our lives. Their compassion and kindness will not soon be forgotten. I am sure I share the sentiments of many patients in wishing themhe best. God bless and good luck!