Husband, father and pulmonary rehabilitation patient
"If I had not gone to the program, I would still be on the oxygen. It made a huge change in my life."
He Loves Living Without an Oxygen Tank
“Well, Roger, we’re going to have fun doing this.”
Roger Skosich of Midland clearly remembers how he felt when Coordinator Jackie Evans, R.R.T., welcomed him to pulmonary rehabilitation with those words.
“I thought, ‘There is no way I am going to have fun, dragging this oxygen tank with me,” he said. “I’m not happy about this. I want it to go away.’ I was frustrated and irritated. I wasn’t convinced that going to the gym would make me feel any better.”
Roger had been hospitalized for pneumonia when he and his wife, Donna, were vacationing in Florida. After being on a ventilator for 11 days, he was released, and the couple made their way back to Midland and began seeing Midland Pulmonologist Subramanyam Yadam, M.D. In the days that followed, Roger struggled with breathing and doing even simple things like taking a shower.
In time, Roger decided to give rehab a try. Twice a week for two hours, he went to therapy at Campus Ridge, on the campus of MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland. There, he learned breathing techniques, exercised to build strength and endurance, and learned about his lungs, medication, nutrition and other topics.
“I found out that there is a wrong way and a right way to breathe if you have respiratory problems. There are huge mistakes you can avoid if you know what to do,” he said. “Being educated helps me know my limits.”
After several sessions, Roger began feeling better and, as Jackie promised, Roger’s therapists made the experience fun. “Every time I walked into rehab, I felt that I was the most important part of my therapist’s day,” Roger said. The one-to-one interaction helps patients reach goals they set. “Instead of not wanting to go, I was ready an hour ahead of time. Before I got out of there, I could do every exercise on my list without oxygen.”
Roger has now been off oxygen for more than two years, and continues to use medication and inhalers. He is able to go fishing, bowl twice a week, play golf and do yard work. He and Donna enjoy visiting their children and grandchildren in Iowa and Colorado. In fact, last summer he almost outran his 8-year-old grandson. “I stopped,” he said, “but it was the first time in a long time I’d done anything like that.”
“If I had not gone to the program, I would still be on the oxygen,” he said. “It made a huge change in my 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 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.