I've learned so much since my heart surgery in October, but the most valuable lesson is that I CAN CHANGE. Of course, the fact that I HAVE TO CHANGE probably helped. No, actually, I do not have to change. I could return to the old lifestyle, and my grafts will last seven to ten years. That is not enough time, though, I'm thinking. Seems like the surgery should buy my family and me more time than that.
I have to admit to a stressful, sedentary lifestyle. In spite of my delusion that showing houses counts as exercise, I spend hours at the computer. In spite of the fact that I think I have everything under control, much of my real estate business revolves around deadlines, daily problem-solving, managing multiple properties, and shepherding often troublesome deals. Cardiac Rehabilitation has helped me learn new habits, and I needed that. Three times a week, I go to the hospital and work out. I graduated from the 36-session course known as Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 2 earlier this month (Phase 1 is when the patient is still in the hospital after surgery).
I set the phones to call forward, put my bluetooth in my ear, and head to the hospital where I hop on the treadmill or the stepper or grab the weights. Few customers or agents know what the background noise is (or why I sound winded) when they talk to me on the phone during those workouts. The cardio nurses and my fellow rehabbers now know that I multi-task and am not simply talking to myself. At first, though, I got lots of strange looks when it appeared that I was babbling into the thin air.
Hint to fellow agents--when I say, "I'm sorry but I'm not in front of the computer right now. Please drop me an email," I might be on the treadmill. Most of the time, I can answer a caller's question right then and there from the treadmill. Being able to dispense with the question lessens the stress I would feel about stacking up voicemail messages. I hate voicemail!
I participated in the local Heart Walk on Feb. 9 and raised over $700. I plan to continue to help the American Heart Association and my rehab unit in local education efforts. My story of odd symptoms, surgery, and rehab was featured in the hospital's full page ad on Feb. 10. I will, forever, be a heart patient, a fact that I have come to accept.
So how am I doing with the "Get Healthy in the Rain" goal that I set earlier this month? I haven't missed a single workout day, that's how. I did, however, sort of wimp out on the promise to transition to doing it on my own. When I finished with Rehab 2, I enrolled myself in Rehab 3. That means I am still going to the hospital, and I am still with the same support team, though most of the patients I started with have now graduated and are not returning for Phase 3. While I do visit the health club where I have membership, I find the small group atmosphere at the hospital's cardiac rehab to be important to me. On Friday, I will pay for another month there. I have decided that is the best way to "hedge my bet" against a return to my old lifestyle. For now, my "gym rat" sessions are still at the hospital, instead of the health club.
Though my insurance is no longer paying for rehab, I have decided that I'm creating my own insurance policy. I am in charge, and I'll be writing a check to prove it.