This morning was my 476th exercise session at the Delpit Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center. I started there about 3 months after my open heart surgery in August, 2004. After Phase II (the 33 visits paid for by Medicare), I moved into Phase III (paying for it myself) and I like to refer to the Center as my “health club staffed by cardiac nurses.” Over the past 3½ years I have made some good friends while exercising. In fact, some of the conversations with others while walking on the treadmill help make the time go by more quickly.
Occasionally, after my workout, I will join some of my cardio-friends downstairs in the cafeteria for a cup of coffee and more talk. This morning, as a couple of us were comparing notes, one of the guys said, “You know, everyone who exercises at the Center has an interesting story to tell.” And he’s right. We all have faced some form of heart disease or malfunction; that is our common bond. But we all got there by different routes and that is the source of the many stories. In sharing our stories with each other, we form a strong support group of people who have flirted with death but have survived to regain our health and live active lives. There is at least one in our group who is in his 90’s and still exercising regularly.
The results of my exercise regimen that started with the recovery from triple-bypass surgery are amazing. I am about 40 pounds lighter than I was back then and have better muscle tone than at almost any period of my life. I lost 4 inches from my waistline and my jacket size dropped from a 54 to a 48. And, I am not an exception among those who have survived cardiac “incidents” and decided that there was a lot of life still to live.
I truly value my cardio-friends and the time we spend together. For me, they are as much a part of my ongoing treatment as my cardiologist. They are a truly inspiring group of men and women.
Added Note: I can't figure out why the spacing of this post turned out as it appears above.