Cardiac rehab brings Jenny back to life
Jenny Volland is healthy and relatively young to have suffered from heart disease, especially since she had no prior symptoms and no family history.
One morning she woke up feeling a little “off”. “I felt like I had gulped too much soda,” Jenny says of the pain in her chest. “Both of my upper arms were hurting, and I thought it was from the way I had been sitting at the computer.” Jenny started to feel dizzy when she got up to move around, so decided to go back to bed. As soon as she got upstairs, she woke up her husband saying, “We’ve got to go, but I don’t know why.”
Jenny displayed a few of the classic signs of a heart attack. She was admitted to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center to have heart surgery, and had nothing but excellent experience with the staff and doctors at Sacred Heart, saying, “Dr. Branden Reynolds touched my heart and saved my life.” She was back at home eleven days after her heart attack and was cleared to begin outpatient cardiac rehabilitation at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Medical Center 30 days post-surgery.
“I walked in St. Luke’s and felt like a baby,” Jenny says. “Emotionally, it’s the weirdest thing ever. The thing about cardiac rehab is that it not only takes care of the physical piece - you start very slow and can’t even sit up - but it helps with the overwhelming emotional fare, which was something I wasn’t prepared to experience.”
Jenny says the therapists who helped her regain confidence and strength “were so amazing”, and she noticed “they tailored everything to what the patient needed.”
After three months of rehabilitation, Jenny returned home with the ability to run on the treadmill and with newfound knowledge of what it means to “be smart” about new eating habits. She knows she will use the tools they gave her for the rest of my life. She says, “the doctor at Sacred Heart touched my heart and saved my life, so did St. Luke’s cardiac rehab. He was the immediate fix, and they fixed it for all time.”
Jenny is back at work full-time and says she’s able to do everything that she was doing before her heart attack. She’s joined Mended Hearts, a country wide cardiac support group, to assist other patients and caregivers with heart disease.
“The first thing I’d tell women is to listen to your body,” Jenny advises. “One of the things they told me in the ER was that I very lucky because most women would just go back to bed thinking they had the flu, which is what I started to do. They don’t wake up. If your body tells you something is weird, don’t fight it.”