they tried to make me go to rehab; I said no, no, no


To be honest, that title is misleading. Because it's not true. They tried to make me go to rehab; I said yes, yes, yes. But hey, toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe right? Today I am having my first  one-on-one exercise and nutrition appointment to start the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program here in London, ON. Click here learn how my condition started.

For those of you who don't know what cardiac rehabilitation is, guess what? Today is your lucky day. This will be my third time participating in this type of program. (One of which I was not able to complete due to post-operative pain, from this annoying device I had implanted in my chest for 3 years. I named it Harold. And I don't miss him. I'll tell you more about Harold some other time.)

In my experience all of the programs are very similar. They include educational components that patients as well as family can attend. These are usually group workshops. Examples of these would be:

  • Heart, Mind and Emotions
  • Heart Basics
  • Heart Medications
  • Benefits of Exercise
  • Heart and the Family 

And they include individual appointments for the patient. These include appointments with:

  • Nurse
  • Kinesiologist 
  • Physiotherapist 
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Social Worker
  • Psychologist
  • Dietician

And they include exercise. That's the "best" part. So for me, after I had a stress test done (this is how they determine what my target heart rate should be while exercising), my last target rate was between 90-114 beats a minute. That's not very much. I think I go above that when I walk up a flight of stairs. Good thing there were no stairs in rehab. The exercise component starts out with work with a dyna band - you get to keep it, bonus. What this looked like was me, surrounded by 5-7 other older adults. Actually, it looked a little (as in a lot) like this, with me added in:

Courtesy of a Google Images search entitled "seniors with dyna bands" 

The next step was to hook me up to a special heart rate monitor. I would wet a rubber strap and tighten it around my chest under my shirt, and they would then be able to monitor my heart rate wirelessly as I exercised. While I had that on my chest, I would be walking on a treadmill or riding the recumbent bike. It was truly a beautiful thing: walking and riding, wet/itchy chest... until I was assigned to the "what the heck is this arm bike thing that everyone is loving?" machine. Honestly, the older adults loved this machine, and this is how every single older adult in my group looked while using it:

This is Stanley Hoover and he has a pretty neat story
I think it's called an arm bike? But I'm really just making that up on the spot based on how it looks. But let me tell you, this machine is a nightmare and should not exist. I know this is an extreme statement.... but I swear to you, this would be worse than doing the P90X workout in 30 days!!!! Even on the lowest setting, adjusted by staff because of what they saw on the monitor, it kicked my butt!! I really hope the new program I am starting today doesn't have one.  

In my most recent program, once a patient exercised enough and developed a decent baseline, they graduated to the actual gym. So cool. But not really. Although the gym had regular hours, cardiac patients were only able to use the facilities when cardiac staff were present. We also had to use a designated area - in the middle of the gym, with super sweet, underpopulated machines. Meaning all other gym members had their eyes on them and wanted to use them. In fact, my friend disclosed to me that sometimes, when it's not staffed, she uses them... Tsk tsk.

Not to mention that as patients we got the honour of wearing these God-awful lanyards (sidebar: I really can't stand those things, I don't care how practical they are) with a nifty little photo card advertising that we were indeed part of the Rehab Program.  Oh, and if working out in the "special" section and the lanyards weren't enough attention on the group, we also had to walk laps around the track, check our blood oxygen levels and heart rates after every 5 laps or so, and write the results in a bright green duotang. Yes, I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb at the gym.

Because I was at least 30 years younger than the rest of the group at the time, two funny-ish things happened fairly regularly. Often other patients/group members thought I was a staff member, which aaaaaalways lead to the conversation about how young I am and what happened and oh that's so awful...pity-pity-pity..... OR gym staff would "politely" ask me to get out of the reserved cardiac area. *flash lanyard* It was embarrassing.

I have no idea what the program will be like in London. All I know is that I am telling the staff that my goal is to be ripped, sans six pack of course because that's just way too much work. I'm wondering if they'll laugh, take me super seriously, or both; either way I will be pleased.  It's a six month program people, so be ready for me to get ripped. Ohhhhhhhh yeah. I wrote that in my Oh Henry commercial voice. If you didn't read it that way, just sneak back and try it - it really adds a nice emphasis.

Goodbye friends. I'm off to start my journey towards getting ripped. Oh and by the way, according to the online Urban Dictionary:
"Being ripped doesn't have to mean a lot of muscle - you can have a little muscle but have VERY low body fat, making your muscles look super defined."
So I'm already one quarter of the way there - I don't have a lot of muscle! I'm so proud. Man, it feels so good to be one quarter ripped. RAWR. 


  1. Great post! Aaaaaand, thanks for getting that song stuck in my head :)

    Hugs to you Mrs. Ripped,

    1. Haha! Anytime....
      Because you know .... "I saw th sign and it opened up my eyes and I am happy now...."

  2. Don't feel bad about the arm bike, it kicked my butt too!

  3. This is SOOOOO funny! Especially the photos :)

    1. Thanks. I'm happy you can appreciate the hilarity of what is my life :p

  4. That's how I felt when I went to aqua size for the first... Want a relatively cruel way to consider the scenario? At least all the work YOU put into rehab will have a longer term effects than your co-rehabbers.

    1. hehe. at first I was like - relative to what? but then this morning at rehab....the scenario did cross my mind and kept me going. Keep that motivation coming! :-)

    2. Ha ha! the cruel reality that you will (in theory) live longer than these people.... I still feel bad saying it but not enough to not say it. HA HA