Dr. Vincent Oriedo - Midland, MI
"With what I learned, I could overcome my weakness and doubt. It allowed me to do things that, up to that point, were impossible to think about."
It's Incredible What the Body Can Do
After research scientist and inventor Vincent Oriedo, Ph.D., survived an acute, life-threatening illness in 2007, profound physical challenges remained for the 50-year-old Midland resident. One challenge was breathing well enough to take physical therapy that would improve his ability to walk, and occupational therapy to better use his hands.
Vincent had been declared dead and suffered damage to major bodily systems. He was on life support for more than three weeks, with lung function less than a third of its normal capacity, and the ability of his circulatory system to deliver oxygen throughout his body severely compromised.
Pulmonary rehabilitation at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland enabled him to achieve his other therapy goals and more.
As a research scientist whose expertise includes people and project leadership, Vincent couldn’t help observing what was happening to him. Specifically, he noticed the way his respiratory therapist from pulmonary rehab effectively managed his expectations to support continuing progress.
“They helped me set goals high enough to inspire me, and yet low enough to be achievable and, most importantly, keep me motivated,” he said. “Goals that are too high might inspire you for a short while, but if you do not improve you can lose motivation. When you do become motivated, and have this kind of help, it’s incredible what the body can do.”
Vincent’s first try at pulmonary rehabilitation was thwarted by a relapse, but in 2008 he returned and completed the program at the Medical Center.
Vincent’s therapist started by educating him about breathing, and teaching him what to do if he began to feel that he was not getting enough air.
“Once I learned to ‘smell the roses and blow out the candles,’ I knew not to panic, because I could get out of the situation. I could overcome my weakness and doubt. It allowed me to do things that, up to that point, were impossible to think about.”
As Vincent took on strength-building exercises in the second part of pulmonary rehabilitation, the experience became even more valuable. “I could not have survived physical therapy effectively without the lessons and therapeutic treatment that I got from pulmonary rehab,” he said.
The program’s structure also created a natural comfort zone and informal support network. “It was very positive and not at all gloomy. I looked forward to going and felt it was part of my social life,” he said. “We shared experiences and leveraged the kinds of knowledge that allowed one person to drive and get the mail or another to go to a restaurant.”
Vincent now enjoys volunteering for the pulmonary rehabilitation program. As he talks with people who are considering it, they sometimes ask him how he is able to do as well as he does on the treadmill and in other activities, even though he is on oxygen.
“I tell them that the respiratory therapists from pulmonary rehab are highly skilled and the program is unique. They are not just going to cycle you through. They help each person individually,” he said. “Their goal is to enable you to do those things that you enjoy in life.”
While treatment results can vary by patient and condition severity, this program is designed to reduce the physical and emotional impact of chronic lung diseases and maximize each patient's breathing capacity.
Pulmonary rehabilitation can help you live your best life, even after a pulmonary diagnosis.
If you have been diagnosed with a lung condition or are perhaps on home oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation may help you return to an active life. To learn more about pulmonary rehabilitation services available through MidMichigan Health, visit www.midmichigan.org/pulmonary. For referral to a physician who specializes in lung conditions, please call MidMichigan Health Line at (800) 999-3199.