Cardiac Rehabilitation for LVAD Heart Transplant Patient at Helen Hayes Hospital Part 1


I had been diagnosed eight years ago
while out of town with congestive heart failure. And at that time all all that
was prescribed for me was medication and to change my diet, less salt, less fat, no
alcohol. You know anything that was fun I cut out
of the diet. I also had a defibrillator implanted into my chest about a year
after that. Some months ago, just prior prior to Christmas, I had noticed the
symptoms returning of congestive heart failure and I knew something was up. I
did go to my cardiologist for an appointment and she examined me and
immediately put me into the hospital. This time the symptoms were so severe
that it was explained to me that I would have to have, eventually, I would have to
have a heart transplant. Until a heart would become available, the
procedure for me would be would be known as an LVAD procedure. An LVAD is
a small pump that was surgically implanted into my chest
attached to my heart that would help my heart pump more efficiently. That my
heart was not efficiently pumping out. It’s what’s called a low ejection
fraction. With my heart not operating efficiently, eventually that caused the
problems of all of my organs not operating efficiently. So when I went in
to deal with the congestion that was in my chest, first of all that had to get
drained, but then we had to, the doctors explained to me of what would have to be
done to help my heart work efficiently, and that would be to have a small pump,
it’s about this, it’s the size of I don’t know a walnut.
Of course they cut me open, and implanted this small pump to my
heart, to the valves that would help help the pumping process. And then it has to
be powered. So there is a cable that runs
from the inside of my body to, there’s a there’s a portion of my abdomen where
the cable comes out. And that cable is connected to this controller which is
also connected to batteries which I have to charge and change every day. Kind of
like if ever used a cordless drill or a cordless screwdriver it’s pretty
much the same process only instead of that it’s my heart. Before we
started the rehabilitation part of it, we had a one-on-one meeting with Michelle,
who’s the head of the cardiac rehabilitation. I did a questionnaire to
just sort of see where I was at, both mentally and physically.
The mental is very important, you know. If I’m not, if I’m depressed, if
I’m not feeling it, you know, I’m not gonna be coming regularly, I’m not gonna
be doing the things I need to do to take care of myself, but I think I’ve been
doing a decent job of that. So anyway, and Michelle agreed, and so we went
over what what the program would be, and I’ve been coming here three times a week,
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I love it. It’s nice to see other people every
once in a while, and to come into here with other people both Michelle and and
Jennifer, the nurse, who are both fantastic. It’s a physical activity which
is which is wonderful and and just some very very sweet people to have met.

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