Okay; so I had this heart thing, right? A couple of weeks ago I received a phonecall from Centerpointe, the hospital where I was recently a week-long resident. The caller was asking my permission to contact my insurance company to see what they would cover for Centerpointe’s cardio rehab program. The caller said that many times people were covered for example, 80% of the program and then the patient pays the difference. Or there is a co-pay each visit. Or a deductible…you get the idea. I told them it was fine with me and they assured me they would contact me once they had received an answer.
About a week ago I received a call telling me that 100% of the cardio rehab program would be covered.
1.5 hours each session
FOR 12 WEEKS!!
I have been a couple of times now.
Today, I was walking on the treadmill, looking out the wall of windows on the 4th floor at the beautiful weather outside and landscape down below when the same uneasy feeling rose again within me that’s been gnawing on me for awhile now…
Here I was:
* A heart monitor connected to me at all times.
* 5 nurses and/or physical therapists standing around the room and helping each of the 10 members of my 2:30pm class.
* After each exercise (pre-determined by the nurse based on my previous class and written on my chart that I pick up at the beginning of each session), I take my pulse and report it to one of the two nurses sitting behind the desk, monitoring each heart monitor on the computers.
* Some of the 1.5 hr sessions include a short instructional segment – today’s was about reading food labels
* arm “bicycle” machine
* rowing-type machine
* air bicycle
* climbing stairs
* walking laps
* exercise balls
Half-way through some of the machines, a nurse comes over and takes your blood pressure while you’re cycling to get your working heart rate and blood pressure. All of this is recorded on my chart.
As I’m walking on the treadmill, staring out the window (and not at one of the tvs mounted on the walls), I’m thinking to myself,
“WHY wouldn’t every heart patient be REQUIRED to do this?! This is the best preventative medicine possible. Why do I get to have the extra chance at a stronger heart while other people don’t?!” This just didn’t make sense to me. Is this healthcare?? Or selective healthcare? If I had a different healthcare program, would I have ever received that initial phonecall? Of course, with no healthcare……phonecall?! Doubtful!
My next thought was, “How do I do something about this discrepancy?” I don’t have a grand plan yet. Short of my voting voice, I am but one small person in the Midwest…etc., etc. I’m sure you’re familiar with the reasoning pattern.
So the only thing I can think of is: this blog. A series about heart disease. I can’t tell you I know much about it – except that it SUCKS to have your heart fail you due to family history (out of your control) and/or personal choices (ugh…I hate that part!)
But I’m learning.
And I’m wondering if anyone reading this blog would listen and benefit from anything I hear/read/learn. I will name it… (heart)2(heart) and if you’re not interested or heart disease doesn’t apply to you, then you don’t have to read entries on the days you see the (heart)2(heart) title. Deal?
Nothing too heavy. Just tidbits, really. Mostly – things you probably already know. But if there are any of you out there as oblivious to heart healthy choices as I was/am, then maybe it will help you when you’re making decisions about what to eat and what lifestyle choices to make. Maybe.
Today…we had a VERY simplistic session on label-reading. I have become very conscience of reading labels. My daughter, Hannah, was just diagnosed with Stage 1 diabetes and needs to watch carbs and calories (we are going on parallel journeys together!) She was told to have no more than 35g of carbs per meal and 15g of carbs per snack. It’s a good general thumbnail approach for everyone to consider before eating.
Remember that carbs eventually turn to sugar. And that will raise triglycerides; which is bad for heart and diabetes (to name two big things). High triglycerides will prevent your good cholesterol from rising. THIS is my problem. My bad cholesterol (LDL) is in great shape. But my good cholesterol (HDL) is too low and needs to be raised. It’s low BECAUSE of high triglycerides.
To make things a bit confusing (cause what is Health without confusion), fiber-filled carbs are better. For instance: whole grain pasta. Pasta = carbs. Whole grain = fiber.
Fiber serves no purpose in our bodies. We keep none of it. It only passes through our bodies – taking with it, lots of bad ‘gunk’ in our arteries. And THAT is a good, good thing!!!
Okay…I will stop and do more later. (Let me know what you think along the way)
I wish every heart patient had the opportunity that I am getting with the cardio rehab. No wait; let me back up…I really wish there were no heart patients at all! But for those of you with a tendency toward…”lacivious eating”…-ha…maybe we can help each other.
For those of you runner, bean-eater, i-only-drink-water obnoxious people out there – go ahead and skip this series. I forgive you…(but desperately envy your squeaky clean arteries.)