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Incredible Journey

Posted on June 22, 2017 in Cardiology

FSRMC’s cardiac rehab unit encourages Corryton man

Mike Patty wasn’t surprised that he would one day be a heart patient. After all, heart disease and diabetes run in his family.

But when that fateful day came last Nov. 18, the 63-year-old Corryton man was surprised to see that the quality of care he found at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center (FSRMC) also extends to its outpatient cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program as well.

The indigestion he thought he had turned out to be 12 blockages that required four bypasses – the 43rd bypass in a family plagued by bad cardiac genetics. “The doctors explained very calmly, ‘You can’t outrun these genes,’” said Patty. The surgery went so well that Patty was discharged nine days later. On Dec. 9, he went to FSRMC’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center for his first of 36 sessions of rehab. “From there, I started one of the most incredible journeys I could envision with those folks,” he said.

On that first day, Patty says Brenda Leuthold, a critical care nurse and supervisor of the cardiac rehab program, explained to him the advantages of cardiac rehab and how they would tailor his workouts to accommodate his needs.

“She explained to me that you increase your chances of not having repeat heart problems [by nearly] 50 percent if you pursue the rehab,” said Patty, a heavy equipment service coordinator and an associate pastor who volunteers as a chaplain for the Knoxville Police Department. “She said it not out of trying to ‘sell’ something but from the side of compassion, and I picked up on that real quick. They greeted you with a smile, they greeted you with words of encouragement and they literally checked on you moment by moment. It did not take long for me to see those folks sincerely care about you.”

Three times a week for 12 weeks, Patty reported to FSRMC’s spacious and gleamingly new cardiopulmonary department where he walked stair steps and treadmills, pedaled on stationary and elliptical bikes, lifted weights and an arm ergometer . Each step of the way, staff members were watching him and tracking his vital signs via a heart monitor he wore around his neck.

 As the weeks passed, Patty gained strength, lost weight, and grew more energetic. “The healthcare I received got me back quicker, and I’m convinced it’s because of the therapy,” he said. “I know guys that have had open heart surgery – three, four, five guys – none took therapy and it was a long road for them to go.”

Patty works out now at a commercial gym closer to home, but misses the monitoring and his friends at FSRMC. The hardest part of his rehab experience? His last day.

“I cried all the way home,” he said. “I was glad I was finished, but I was so overwhelmed by their compassion. There’s not a question in my mind – God healed me, but He put so many different people around me, and I will NEVER forget those four people, their care for other people and the sincerity with which they do their job.

“One of these days soon I’m going back over to the rehab and I’m going to chit-chat with my friends because they are friends – they wanted me to get better. They really care about other people. That is the difference.”

You can learn more about our cardiac rehab services at fsregional.com/cardiologyservices/.