Dec 15, 2017

Crying, Cardiac Rehab, and Joy

At first my insurance denied coverage for cardiac rehab. Woohoo!!! More time to watch The Crown.***

Even though I was secretly thrilled at dodging rehab, the lawyer in me couldn't stand for my insurance to reject anything, so I looked into the rules and figured out a way for my insurance to cover rehab. I learned a lot taking care of my Mom....

Last week I started cardiac rehab. I go 3 days a week. The first session was an assessment -- 2 to 3 hours of sitting with a nurse answering a million questions, and being told how great exercise is. I started crying before I even left the house and cried throughout most of the assessment. The rehab folks wanted to call my doctor, but really, what would my doctor do other than add a note to my file "patient nuts," so I said no.

I showed up for my first day of actual rehab and burst into tears when I walked into the room. They brought me back to the assessment room and I sobbed for 15 minutes. It took 3 sessions for me to completely stop crying and wringing my hands. The staff was very patient with me. I'd make them some of my chocolate peppermint bark to thank them, but they are all about Heart Healthy Everything so that it seems like a bad idea...

Why the crying and the anxiety?

I'm not sure. It could be that, even though I'm on a heart monitor during exercise, I worry that my heart will go into an arrhythmia again. Or maybe it's that rehab is located in the heart unit of our local hospital, where I spent hundreds of hours with my Mom. Just driving into the parking garage makes me nervous. Or maybe it just reminds me that 2017 was not my favorite year.

Whatever the reason, I've stopped crying and, shockingly, now look forward to going. I'm still a little anxious, but yesterday I did the bike for 30 minutes and the treadmill for 20 -- that's 50 minutes of exercise, or 49.5 minutes longer than I've done in years.

The surgery did its job. I don't get out of breath when my heart rate goes up. I had no idea how limited I was before the surgery. I'm grateful to be better. I'll have to live with heart issues the rest of my life, but that life should be much better for, hopefully, many years. Any tears I shed now are tears of joy for my improved heart. This came at a cost -- and not just the money, but the toll it took on Mike. He went through a lot and I hope to make it up to him by being able to accompany him while he does some of the things he loves -- roaming around cities and checking out museums.

Now it is time to get off the sofa and finish my Christmas cards. And then, later today, walk on Mike's treadmill. Yes, I'm even exercising at home on the days I'm not at rehab. Now that really is nuts!

*** Are you watching The Crown? I love this show, particularly the guy playing Prince Philip. Such an interesting portrayal.


  1. There is a correlation between heart incidents and depression. I suppose there is all sorts of clinical literature about why;I just think our hearts break in more way than one. You are good at finding bright spots. Maybe those spots are truly ways to find control when it seems we have none. You are a bright spot all by yourself.

  2. I get the feeling of going where mom was. It clenches at my heart every time and starts the thoughts rolling. It can all be just a bit too much sometimes.Keep taking care of you. Tears are ok! And how exciting to feel up to traipsing around with your hubby

  3. Good luck with your rehab, Joan. The actor who plays Prince Philip is Matt Smith, who was the former The Doctor.

  4. Joan, I am so happy to hear that you and your beautiful heart are working together to make your life full and rich. Fun times with your Mike are a great incentive. I wish you joy even through the tears.

  5. This is as JOY-filled as it could get, JB... congratulations!

  6. Those associations can wreak havoc with your emotions. I'm glad to hear you got past the hard spot - whew! I gorged on The Crown and just finished Season 2.

  7. You are an amazing woman. ❤️

  8. Glad you cried your way through it. I tend to get angry before I've even heard what they want of me. Keep up the good work at home. Can't wait to read where you and Mike head off to.

  9. You are so brave Joan. Way to go!!! You are also an inspiration and you share such a great sense of joy so freely with all of us. Tears seem to be my response to many things too... I just have to keep showing up and work through the tears and it sounds like you have done a great job of that too. Keep up the hard work! I look forward to hearing about the new adventures you and Mike can take now.

  10. You managed to get through the hard bits of adjusting to cardio rehab. I would have wept too. There must be an association between cardiac rehab, time spent at the hospital with your Mom and also just knowing it is possible to get stronger and have a healthier heart. Many adjustments.
    So glad you are exercising now. Way to go. The exercising itself will do wonders for your energy and disposition. Things can only keep improving! 😃 Now you'll have lots of energy to make your fabulous cards.


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