Local Cardiac Care a Plus for Patients
Care locally is something that is close to Paul Thornfeldt's heart, he had a blockage in an artery a little over a year ago, which was caught by Dr. Brian Nolan during a stress test at Stephens Memorial Hospital; Paul was sent to Maine Medical Center for cardiac surgery, ended up with a stent, and was back at Stephens Memorial Hospital a short time later for Cardiac Rehabilitation Program (Vital Connections).
Now, he follows up with his cardiologist, Dr. Dietz, right next door to the hospital at the Stephens Memorial Specialty Cardiology Clinic. He commends physicians, "Coming to the area and staffing the clinics here (in the Oxford Hills) takes such a weight off patients having to drive to Portland, it allows them to have all of their care in one place."
JoAnne Reynolds, from North Bridgton, was alone with her thoughts. Wondering what she could lift, if she should walk here or there, wondering if it was safe. You see, JoAnne had a heart attack at the end of October 2008
10 weeks later she was anxious to get moving again, her cardiologist said she was ready to attend the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at (SMH). She enrolled in the Cardiac Rehab program at the hospital 3 days a week. She graduated from the program at the end of January.
Talking with JoAnne, you quickly learn that she feels attending the Cardiac Rehab program at SMH was by far the best things she could have done after her heart attack. She met other people in the same situation, some that were ahead of her in recovery, people whose similar goals she could aspire to achieve. She bonded with people, they cheered each other on.
JoAnne shares, "The instructors (Penny York, RN, Kelly Townsend, Exercise Specialist, and Dave Boyer, Respiratory Therapist) are very calming, caring, you go into this program not sure of what you can do without pushing yourself, and they make you feel at ease. You learn the progression (of your recovery)."
She explains that the staff takes your blood pressure before and after the session, and monitor for problems during the work out. They pay careful attention to warm up and cool down, and as JoAnne says, "they really take good care of you!"
Seeing the turnover in the group and watching people move forward helps the motivation JoAnne says. The group environment is very important - it helps you mentally recover as the exercise helps you recover physically.
"I feel really good about myself. I know I can go home from this class and do things, and that I'll be OK. Where I just graduated it's kind of bittersweet, I'll miss the camaraderie of the group. It really helps keep you going."
Paul and JoAnne's stories are ones of success. They are like over 100,000 other Americans each year who are helped to recover from heart attacks or heart surgery through cardiac rehabilitation. February 8 - 14 is National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week. The theme on the AACVPR website is Cardiac Rehabilitation: The Pulse of Life. This theme highlights the role of prevention in the treatment of heart disease. Health professionals involved in cardiac rehabilitation programs throughout the United States will be sponsoring activities to help people learn about preventing heart disease. Call the Cardiac Rehabilitation department at Stephens Memorial Hospital at 207-743-1562 x6030 for more information, or ask your physician for a referral.
Stephens Memorial Specialty Clinic Gets Rave Reviews
The pressure in her chest and shortness of breath when walking her Siberian Husky caught Beulah Ayer off guard. It was a warning sign.
When she went to see her primary care physician, Frank Kieliszek, M.D., he recommended that she visit the Stephens Memorial Specialty Cardiology Clinic. Before long, she had appointments with Dr. Michael Field and Dr. William Dietz at the clinic, she liked them both immediately.
Soon she was on the operating table at Maine Medical Center and received a stent. She was home the next day.
After 6 weeks of rehabilitation with the Cardiac Rehab program at Stephens Memorial Hospital, led by Kelly Townsend, Mrs. Ayer feels as good as new, and walking her dog is a pleasure again, but for the slipperiness of snow underfoot! She was well enough to accompany a friend on a planned trip to Ireland in September.
While chatting with Barbara Allen, Director of Community Relations and Development at Stephens Memorial Hospital, Mrs. Ayer had nothing but positive statements about the Stephens Memorial Specialty Clinic. The physicians took good care of her and she says, "The best thing is that you don’t have to go all the way to Scarborough to see great doctors. It is so nice of them to come up here."
The Ayers have been in the Oxford Hills area since 1983 and Mrs. Ayer is pleased with the developments regarding health care. "Almost everything you need is right here; a wonderful hospital, doctors, and rehabilitation therapy."
She encourages everyone to pay attention to what their body is saying, take care of themselves, and don’t be afraid. She doesn’t hesitate to refer anyone to the clinic, sharing that the staff and physicians are very friendly, approachable, and professional. They "fit the bill when I needed them."
That’s high praise.