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Positive Feedback for SMH During Cardiac Rehab Week

Care locally is something that is close to Paul Thornfelds'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 recover mentally 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 of this week is "Cardiac Rehabilitation: The Pulse of LifeThis 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 207-743-5933 x780 for more information, or ask your physician for a referral.

Health Information

181 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268 | (207) 743-5933, TTY (for the hearing impaired): (207) 743-1597