Cardiopulmonary Rehab Colleagues
at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Pocono
It would be impossible to single out one nurse from this list of Extraordinary Nurses who have been by my side since the beginning of December. I was not an exercise wonk. I hadn't been able to breathe very well for several years prior to the "valve job" as my husband calls it. I was scared. How much would I be able to do? How could I maintain any level of enthusiasm? Well, I found out.
At the intake, I was asked what my goals were. I hadn't thought of any, but with encouragement, I came up with a few. How impossible they seemed at the time. Then the machine! Wow, just like big people! Could I step for four minutes? Could I work my arms for four minutes? Could I lift itty bitty weights for four minutes? Could I walk for four minutes? Could I walk from the car park area? All this and actually breathe at the same time without stress? Impossible! That's how I faced these formidable women when I was admitted.
The fear fell away very quickly once I found that I had one of these nurses watching me at all times. They encouraged, smiled, responded, encouraged some more, patted me on the back, involved me in choices, cheered me on. It helped to know that one was monitoring me on the computer at all times. Each step along the way I felt a gentle presence guiding me through my accomplishments. When one nurse left me – another popped up. Concern left my face and was replaced with smiles, laughter, and led to camaraderie with my fellow patients. It was refreshing to look forward to rehab days; it was fun. Extraordinary.
Having something done to your heart is life-changing. It affects how you think of yourself, your confidence, your mental outlook. These nurses don't just recondition your muscles, they treat your entire person; mind, body, soul. They make you feel whole. They reteach you to like yourself. How I feel today is miles ahead of how I felt that first day. Only special people could have accomplished that.
I cannot imagine more deserving people because they didn't just do this for me. They did this for dozens of people at the same time. They physically work hard, they impact the health of dozens every week, they teach well-being, normalcy, the joy of being alive. All of this as well as administering tests and working with inpatients. I believe there are hundreds of patients who feel as I do.