Jerry Payne

"The team I trusted for cardiac rehab"

"The day that I had my heart episode I went to see my family physician first. It took him just a few minutes to realize that I was having unstable angina. He called the hospital and I was sent straight over to the hospital. Direct deposited, as I call it. Immediately, they started working on me and doing all kinds of tests. The next morning I was scheduled for a stress test, but after wiring me up, Dr. Banerjee's nurse practitioner Jennifer Epperson sent me straight to the cath lab.

Everything happened so fast, but there was nothing to it. It was a piece of cake. 

I spent one night in the hospital. The next morning, Dr. Banerjee came to see me and then sent me home.

I had had 99% blockage in one of my arteries, but Dr. Banerjee fixed me. 

My family physician told me that I was a candidate for the hospital's cardiac rehab program, and that's when all the good stuff started. I met Susan Henderson and all of the great staff that helped me. It was upbeat. It was fun. They played music. They worked with each person as an individual and never forced anybody on any machine that they weren't comfortable with. It was at my own pace.

It was 36 trips over there. 12 weeks, 3 times a week. 

It was life changing. I am still doing the exercises.

When you start a program like that, you don't know what the future holds. First, you have to deal with the emotional side of having a life-changing episode like a heart problem. Cardiac rehab helps you with that first by saying you're going to be okay."

The exercises taught in cardiac rehab helped Jerry become independent again. 

"I can mow my yard. I can go play golf. I can do whatever I want to do. By the time you graduate from cardiac rehab, your confidence level is through the roof."

Cardiac rehab instilled in Jerry a new love of exercise. 

"You don't want to stop. They teach you how to exercise, how to monitor your heart rate. Today, the best I feel is when I'm exercising. I feel young again. Your blood is pumping. You're sweating. You feel good and you feel like you can take on the world.

People need to take advantage of programs like cardiac rehab and realize that the number one enemy you have against your heart, is yourself. 

I have seen so many positive changes happening here in the hospital. The ER is fantastic. When you are admitted with something life threatening, they are hustling and know what they're doing. I know there's a set protocol when you come in with a heart attack [chest pain accreditation] and they follow it. It saved my life.

Everyone at the hospital is friendly. They take time to talk to you. I've never had anything but good experiences at this hospital. People think that they need to drive 50 miles one way or 30 miles another way for care. They are doing themselves a disservice.

I'm so grateful for the heart doctors that we have here and that we have the cath lab here."