Retired GM machine repairman, fitness enthusiast and pulmonary rehabilitation patient
"I feel so much better now. Revitalized, like a whole different person. Pulmonary rehab changed everything."
He Feels Revitalized Thanks to Pulmonary Rehab
Gerald Pelletier of Midland was in his 50s when he had pneumonia, developed breathing problems and discovered he had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“My blood oxygen content dropped low, I felt weak and was susceptible to colds and flu,” said Gerald, now 61 and retired from his job as a machine repairman at General Motors.
Gerald was on oxygen when his breathing problems became more severe in 2007. He had gone to a different pulmonary rehab program years ago, but this time his pulmonologist, Subramanyam Yadam, M.D., suggested pulmonary rehab at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland, convenient to his home.
Gerald was used to being able to fix things, but this time, he needed some extra help.
“When I started rehab, I was sick,” he said. “I wasn’t taking meds the way I should or using oxygen the way I should. I had to go to the doctor often.” In addition, when Gerald would occasionally use the gym, he would do things that weren’t necessary or things he shouldn’t be doing.
During eight weeks of pulmonary rehab, Gerald learned techniques to ease his breathing problems and manage his COPD, and he exercised three times a week in the on-site fitness center under the supervision of a therapist.
Gerald credits the MidMichigan program’s one-on-one approach with restoring his ability to work out and improve his physical condition. “The first program I went to was a group, but this one has a therapist for each patient,” he said. “It worked a lot better, because you work with a person who is able to track your progress. After eight weeks, they have a feeling of what you can and can’t do. They guided me in the right way to do things and it made a difference.”
About a year and a half ago, Gerald finished pulmonary rehab and began the maintenance program at the fitness center on the Medical Center’s campus. “I feel so much better now,” he said. “Revitalized, like a whole different person.”
“Rehab got me in good enough shape that I can work out every day and that’s something I enjoy. As long as I’m sensible, I can also do activities like shoveling snow and working in my yard,” he said. “I didn’t feel comfortable doing them before, but I do now.”
For someone struggling with breathing problems, Gerald suggests making a call to find out what pulmonary rehabilitation is all about. “I had one of those macho attitudes that I could anything, but I couldn’t,” he said. “I can now, though, just about. Pulmonary rehab changed everything.”
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 and 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.