Nearly two months ago, 49-year old Jim Miskimins suffered a heart attack. After surgery, Jim decided it was time for a change in lifestyle. Nurses at Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell helped Jim make that change and start down the road to recovery.
The treadmills and stationary bikes make it look like 24 hour fitness, but this is not your average gym. After suffering a heart attack at an early age, Jim is working to regain a healthy heart.
It's called "Hearts on the Mend" a three phase cardiac rehab program at Avera Queen of Peace. It's a program that requires a lot of exercise and changes to both lifestyle and diet.
"This is phase two, they are home from the hospital and coming back for visits and every time they're here they're on the heart monitor, the whole time they're here." Said Cardiac Rehab Nurse Ann Temple.
The bib-looking pouch around Jim's neck holds that heart monitor. While Jim exercises, it's sending information to a nearby computer. Cardiac Rehab Nurses like Temple are then able to see how Jim's heart is recovering while he safely works up a sweat.
"It's nice to have Ann to guide your efforts and build your confidence and watching you, telling you you're doing ok because that allows, it allowed me to push myself." Said Miskimins.
Jim is lucky that he reacted to his symptoms quickly enough to limit the damage done to his heart. After 8 weeks in the program he's about ready to graduate to phase three. He'll continue to do the work at home.
Ann says for every patient like Jim unfortunately there are people who don't stick with the program. Many end up back in the hospital.
"The studies show that those who participate in Cardiac Rehab especially those with a comprehensive program which includes exercise and education, they just do better, they have fewer heart attacks and they do better." Said Temple.
Temple has been mending hearts for the past 23 years. The work may be hard at first, but the goal is to get people back to where they were before their heart attack, and have a life without any pain and without any limitations.
But this is not just a monitored workout, it's a complete re-education. Patients learn about nutrition, relaxation and stress, and most importantly adopting a healthy lifestyle.
"By the time you leave here you've learned something about your heart, you've progressed in your exercise to the point I'm comfortable saying carry on at home or Rec center and you've got the habit of regular exercise." Said Temple.
The tack board says "take the information to heart." Jim has done that and more. With each step on the treadmill he continues down his road to recovery.
"I've got a family at home with my wife and two kids, that's really all the motivation I need to eat better and get some exercise, follow doctors advice, take my medication and hopefully that combination of things will lead me to be healthier and be there for them for a long time." Said Miskimins.
Each "Hearts on the Mend" workout is custom-made for every individual. This allows them work towards their strengths and help ensure every patient graduates and doesn't end up in a hospital bed again.
For more information about "Hearts on the Mend" and other Cardiac Rehab programs just call 877-AT-AVERA