Jerry Pelletier, Cardiac Rehab Patient

Jerry Pelletier - Midland, MI

"This is a fantastic place to get your questions answered, build up your confidence and get back to what you want to do."

Cardiac Rehab Got Him Back Where He Wanted to Be

Two days before Christmas in 2014, Jerry Pelletier of Midland woke up with pain in his arm and chest, and felt like an elephant was sitting on his chest. He was having a heart attack.

At MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland, Cardiovascular Surgeon Robert Jones, M.D., performed triple bypass surgery on Pelletier. As the next month passed with several more trips to the hospital, Pelletier’s concerns increased. How would he recover? What would he be able or unable to do?

When Dr. Jones recommended cardiac rehabilitation, Pelletier did not hesitate.

“I had rehab for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at MidMichigan Campus Ridge in 2007 and the results were great,” he said. “It was such a wonderful experience that I’ve volunteered with the program for the last five years. When it was time to do cardiac rehab, I said, ‘I gotta do this.’”

Pelletier described the MidMichigan approach to cardiac rehab as “not textbook, more personal.” To start, he had an informal talk with one of the program’s exercise physiologists about his goals, experiences, lifestyle and habits. With that feedback, his MidMichigan team developed a program that met his needs as a person who enjoys exercising and being active.

“They didn’t force me to do anything,” he said. “They just asked if I was comfortable with this or that. They had answers to my questions and explained anything I didn’t understand. On days when I went in and didn’t feel well, their response was, ‘That’s okay. Just do what you can do.’”

Exercising built up Pelletier’s stamina and confidence. He walked laps on an indoor path and used a treadmill, NuStep® machine, arm bike and elliptical machine as a wearable heart monitor tracked his heart rate and rhythm. Rehab staff answered his questions and coached him about positive health choices.

“After cardiac rehabilitation, it was like my heart attack never happened. In 12 weeks, they got me back to where I wanted to be. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anybody.”

As a volunteer, Pelletier helps patients transition from rehab to regular exercise. “It’s very rewarding,” he said. “When I worked with machines at GM, I never thought I would do something like this. Some people are coming back eight and nine years after they finished rehab. We’re like a little family.”

From personal experience, Pelletier knows that people have questions after they experience a major health problem. “Rehabilitation at MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland is a fantastic place to get your questions answered, build up your confidence and get back to what you want to do,” he said.


MidMichigan Health offers a full array of heart and vascular services, including open heart surgery, vascular surgery, electrophysiology for heart rhythm problems and advanced interventional procedures. Those who would like additional information on the MidMichigan’s comprehensive cardiovascular team may visit www.midmichigan.org/heart.