Wife, Mother and Cardiac Rehab Patient
“People who have heart surgery definitely need to go to rehab. They can help you get better.”
Cardiac Rehab Rebuilds Confidence as Well as Strength
When Luzviminda Salgat had surgery in 1998 to repair her heart’s mitral valve, she knew it was not a permanent solution. “At the time, they told me it would last for five years,” Luz said. “I managed for 12 years instead.”
However, physical symptoms, such as having trouble breathing, were beginning to frighten her. When Luz was hospitalized for a severe respiratory infection in January, she knew it was time for action. “Dr. Genovese told me ‘Luz, it’s time to fix this; if you don’t you’re going to die,’ so I knew I could not put it off,” she said.
In April, Cardiothoracic Surgeon Robert N. Jones, M.D., replaced Luz’s damaged mitral valve with a prosthetic valve. She also had a pacemaker implanted.
While the surgery was successful, Luz did have to deal with pain and complications involving her gall bladder and pancreas. She was hospitalized for 11 days.
She admits that after surgery, she was scared. “I was afraid to do anything and was feeling very sad,” Luz said.
Despite her fears, Luz was brave enough to heed her doctor’s advice and take advantage of cardiac rehabilitation at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland a few weeks after her surgery.
Cardiac rehab includes exercise and education. Luz started her sessions slowly. While exercising, she wore a monitor that continuously reported her heart rate and rhythm so the staff could customize her exercise routine for maximum effectiveness and safety.
Luz walked on the treadmill, rode on the exercise bike and used other equipment for upper-body strengthening.
“It was very nice there,” she said. “I was scared at first and I thought, I can’t do this or that, but they helped me.” Luz appreciated the staff’s knowledge and expertise. “I could ask them anything – how do I do this, why does this hurt? – and they would show me how or explain things to me.” As Luz gained physical strength, she also gained confidence. As her strength and confidence rose, the sadness began to lift.
After finishing 36 sessions of rehab, Luz was able to carry on at home. While not yet up to her full potential, she knows she’s getting stronger and is confident of regaining her full strength.
Luz is grateful for the care she received at the Medical Center. “God is with me,” she said. “I had good doctors caring for me, and I am very thankful for all the people at rehab.”
She believes that cardiac rehabilitation helped her heal physically and emotionally. “People who have heart surgery definitely need to go to rehab,” she said. “They can help you get better.”
Throughout MidMichigan Health, doctors have access to advanced tools and resources for better patient outcomes. By recommending cardiac rehabilitation as a tool for their patients, MidMichigan doctors see recovery from heart surgery differently. Learn more about how MidMichigan doctors see things differently at www.midmichigan.org/difference.