(Pictured) Cardiac Rehabilitation nurse Tonia Collins helps Jack Coffman, 74, with his exercises.
The new Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Miami County Medical Center (MCMC) is a medically-supervised program designed to provide patients with healthy lifestyle education, a closely monitored exercise program, diet and nutrition counseling, and encouragement and support to recover from heart disease or surgery.
Seventy-four-year-old Jack Coffman was one of the first cardiac rehab patients at MCMC earlier this year.
Jack considers himself to be one very lucky man. His luck began with one very unlucky accident in 2010, when he fell through a hole in the subfloor of a home he was fixing up. The fall injured both of Jack’s shoulders—but before he could have surgery to repair his rotator cuffs, his doctors discovered an underlying heart problem while they were running pre-surgery tests.
“We may not have discovered my heart issue early on, had it not been for that accident,” Jack said. He soon had surgery to implant a heart defibrillator and followed up with cardiac rehabilitation at Olathe Medical Center (OMC). (The MCMC location was not yet open.)
Jack’s health improved and he enjoyed his retirement, including traveling with his wife, Crystal, and family. It was during one of these trips in late 2015 that Jack noticed some new symptoms appear.
“I was feeling winded, even after a short walk down the street,” Jack said. “Then I started having some chest pain, almost like indigestion. I didn’t think much of it until we got home from our trip, when the pain worsened.”
Jack woke his wife up one night in early 2016, soon after their trip, and told her it was time to go the emergency room. Crystal drove him to MCMC, just down the road from where the couple lived in Paola. The emergency doctors quickly realized that Jack had something serious going on and decided to transfer him quickly via ambulance to OMC. Doctors from both hospitals consulted with each other along the way to figure out Jack’s diagnosis.
Jack’s symptoms were due to a serious blood infection, called sepsis, which had originated in his gallbladder and was quickly becoming life-threatening. His medical team decided to remove his gallbladder, while treating him with many powerful antibiotics and closely monitoring his heart function.
Jack slowly recovered from surgery, but the infection had damaged his heart’s ability to pump blood. His cardiologist, Dusan Stanojevic, MD of Olathe Health Cardiology Services, treated Jack for congestive heart failure at MCMC, and then prescribed three months of cardiac rehabilitation to help him regain strength.
This time, Jack was able to attend cardiac rehab at the new location in Paola at MCMC.
“I am so glad to have been able to do my therapy so close to home,” Jack said. “I thought rehab was going to be dull and painful and hard, but the team at Miami County made it pleasant, even fun. They encouraged me every step of the way and paid a lot of attention to each individual and our specific issues.”
With his health scare behind him, Jack is feeling good and looking forward to celebrating his good fortune with a Caribbean cruise.