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What Rehab Taught me

Testimonial from Ben Viccari

Previewing your arresting Cardiac Chronicles and learning of your change of name and mission, brought me back nine years to my choice of a rehab program after a triple bypass.

Never an eager participant in sports or outdoor pastimes, I seemed to be hearing just before that late January operation of so many survivors of bypasses able to become fully active in their favourite recreation (golf, tennis, swimming) mere weeks after the operation.

Came my bypass and reacting badly to morphine I demanded to be removed from its clutches and surprised to find that Tylenol kept aches and pains down, within days after the bypass, I sas stalking the corridors of St. Michael's cardiac wing walking slowly it's true, but nevertheless moving.

Back home, I began walking up and down the corridor of my my apartment floor, quickly graduating to slow walking outside. With the arrival of milder March weather and advice from my physician, Dr. C.T. Wang of St. Michael's Family Practice Clinic who also works in cardiac rehab, I began a serious walking program. With the aid of my Walkman and two discs of British and American military music I was soon able to keep step with the bands' tempi and then graduating to any kind of music from jazz to opera, keeping up the martial pace with long strides and arms swinging. I was eventually doing 2.5 kilometers in 25 minutes, five times a week.

Then in October 2006, disaster happened and I developed a serious balance problem. With an MRI, catscan, Xrays and interviews and examinations by neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, ear nose and throat specialists and others, I was persuaded to accept this disability as part of the aging process (I'm 91 in July).

With the aid of a therapist from CCAC I follow a set of gentle exercises, use a walker to shop locally and do corridor walking. Outdoors, I also use a cane, and mercifully find that once enclosed in a vehicle I can drive and still possess a license.

While it's not the same as my walking program, I turn my mental energies to maintaining two web sites and doing commentaries on OMNI 1 Television. Attitude is all-important

The newest of my web sites is losode.com with which I hope to stir some commonsense into the manufacture and marketing of low sodium products in Canada. Diets are a big part of the rehab process and low sodium programs just as important as low cholesterol, weight control and reduction of fatty foods. Your foundation and Cardiac Chronicles can play a telling role in promoting low sodium intake in the fight againat heart disease and strokes.

The articles, on the Canadian Cardiac Rehabilitation Foundation website, are presented with the understanding that the Foundation is providing information only and not rendering medical advise. Please check with your family physician, specialist or health care professional before implementing any of the ideas expressed in these articles.

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