Rusty Rehab

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Well, I survived the first day of Cardiac Rehab. Barely.

After proudly parking in the furthest reaches of the parking lot, I entered the Cardiac wing of the hospital and walked the entire length of the building to the entrance of the dungeon lab. I was greeted by the head of the unit, who knew who I was as soon as I walked in the door.

“Your cardiac pouch is waiting on the table, Mr Armor. Take it to the back as you were told last week.”

“You are that sure I would be here today?”

“Yes, Mr Armor. We know these things.”

In no time, one of the therapists had the tail of my t-shirt up and swiped a spot with a cold swab of alcohol and placed a telemetry sticker on my side, then snaked the leads down from the neck and snapped them onto the stickers. Then she tied on the pouch with my name on it and dropped the device into the pocket.

First off was the recumbent bike. Fifteen minutes and a very low setting. I was a little nervous at the thought of fifteen minutes, but actually it was not so bad. My legs were a bit wobbly and weak afterwards, and I wasn’t too sure I was going to be able to stand very long when the session ended, but I managed to walk across the room to another machine that you cranked with your hands, and sat down.

The therapist set it up, again at a low level, showed me how fast I needed to crank it, and I started cranking … I was glad that it was only five minutes. My arms still ache an hour and a half later.

Without pause, it was onto the treadmill. The therapist set it up for an easy pace, but failed to note that it was on an incline from the previous patient. “Fifteen minutes” she said, and pushed [START] about thirty seconds into the walk I knew I wasn’t going to make fifteen minutes. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make five.

The therapist came over and noted the incline, and reduced it, and allowed me to reduce the pace a little. I still wasn’t certain I was going to make fifteen, but they asked me to try for twelve assuring me assured me that my heartbeat was in the target range, and I wasn’t dying. Cool. I hate dying.

My butt hurt. My hips hurt. My knees threatened to give out. Almost imperceptible after images of angina made my teeth ache. Breakfast sloshed around my jiggling belly and made me nauseous. But I stayed the twelve, and maybe, I could have made fifteen without collapsing.

And I was done. The expertly ripped of the telemetry stickers, retrieved the wires and sent me to the front with my little pouch where I pinned it onto the cork board. Waiting for me was the therapist. She assured me that they weren’t trying to kill me, and that merely being winded is not abnormal. Perhaps I could work just a little harder Wednesday? I dunno. I just barely made it today, but I said …. “maybe”.

The walk back to the car was precarious. I reeled down the hallways on rubber legs looking like a drunken sailor, and on out to the car, barely hanging on to my keys with my shaking fingers, and gratefully plopped into the waiting car seat. I had plans to stop at the hearing aid people for some minor adjustments, then down to the grocery for next Sunday’s breakfast fixings, and stop at the synagogue for a little bit. But they quickly got canceled. I was going home. Period.

The drive wasn’t so bad, and other drivers were probably happy that I wasn’t my usual aggressive self. Pulling into the carport, and staggering into the house kicking off my shoes as I went, I started this little journal. A few words into it, and I see Snookums car pull into the drive from her morning of foraging. Damn. Grocery day. It is a tad over a hundred feet from the kitchen to the car. And a tad over a hundred feet from the car to the kitchen. Snookums is preparing for Passover, so she had lots of stuff, and I am not feeling Sherpa like today, so it is going to take me six trips to unload her finds. I got the groceries, but the angina really started in, so I missed muscling the usual fifty pounds of dog food into the kitchen and let Snookums do it. I usually don’t permit her to do that.

Anyway, I slipped the suspenders off, and plopped down in front of the glowing Cyclops again to finish this post off. It is going to be a long 35 weeks.

~r

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