After surviving two heart attacks that happened within months of each other, 82-year-old Bernard Devaney says the cardiac rehab program is bringing him back to his old self one day at a time.
I had the first heart attack at the doctor’s office. I couldn’t have been luckier in that sense because, of course, I was right at the AAMC campus and they rushed me to the hospital. I had a valve replaced and two more surgeries for a blockage in the main artery.
After a couple of weeks healing, I went into rehab and, on my third visit, the heart stopped again. That had never happened before but the medical staff knew exactly what they were doing and they were outstanding. Of course, I was transferred to the hospital and the ambulance EMT watched the whole thing and said it was a miracle how well and how efficient the hospital staff were. They saved my life.
After several weeks of healing and a couple more surgeries, I’m back in rehab and it’s a great program. When I go in, the nurses put a couple of wires on me to monitor me on a screen and take my blood pressure at least four times. I have a defibrillator and a pacemaker that keeps my heartbeat at 60. So if it drops below that, the defibrillator kicks it back up. The nurses at the cardiac rehab center watch me the whole time and tell me what to do.
I do 30 minutes on the bike and lift some weights and they are gradually working me up. The difference in just a month is almost a miracle. At first I was walking with a walker. Now I don’t need the walker. It is amazing how the energy and strength at first were gone, but they are both coming back.
I’m not back 100 percent but I’m almost there. This past weekend we drove to Ocean City and spent a few days up there. I’ve already signed up for a golf tournament there in a couple of months.
But you know, it’s not only that it’s a great place and they know what they’re doing, they are basically the nicest people and they are so good to me.