On Wednesday, September 23, 2015, Mary rushed her husband Mike to the hospital because he was having difficulty breathing during the night and into the early morning.
Mary was shocked to hear the doctor say that Mike was given medication for atrial fibrillation and that he had congestive heart failure from pneumonia. They moved Mike to a critical care floor for further observation and tests. At that time, Mike’s heart was pumping at 10% and his oxygen level was low.
Mike ended up staying in the hospital for a week. The heart catheterization and echocardiogram indicated that Mike had a heart attack, at some point, in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, and that his collateral arteries had, fortunately, made their own natural bypass.
When Mike was sent home, he had to wear an Automated External Defibrillator Life Vest for 4 months so his doctors could continuously monitor his heart rhythm and, at the same time, allow him a safety cushion in case of sudden cardiac arrest.
As Mike had recovered from the pneumonia and adjusted to his array of heart medications and treatments, the doctors recommended walking as a good form of cardiac rehabilitation.
Finding a safe and inexpensive place close to home to walk on a regular basis was difficult for Mike who lives in the township where there are no sidewalks, only country roads. Small towns are limited in their resources in comparison to cities.
Mike also works in a local factory where there is no suitable place to walk, and lunch breaks at his shop are only 30 minutes long. Mary’s brother gave them his old treadmill, which Mike used down the basement. Unfortunately, the body is limited to only mundane walking in place.
In the winter of 2017, Mike and Mary spotted an advertisement for indoor walking in their Rural Urban Record newspaper. To their delight, the location for walking took place at the Keystone Elementary School, a mile from their home. At that time, the school was open to the public for indoor walking from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. every Thursday during the colder months. The indoor walking was sponsored by the Keystone Empowers You (KEY) collaborative and funded by the United Way of Greater Lorain County.
Mike and Mary took advantage of this wonderful opportunity and made the indoor walking part of their weekly exercise routine.
"It was a day out of the week where Mike could focus on exercising his heart in making it stronger and in keeping it in rhythm. Mike is also able to use the school stairs for further heart therapy. I also enjoy the exercise of walking and spending quality time with my husband."
In January of 2019, the KEY collaborative was able to add an extra day to the week and an extra hour to each day of the indoor walking. Mike and Mary have noticed an abundant number of community members joining the indoor walking this winter since the additional day and hour, and community members returning from the previous year.
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