In 2006, Greg Ramsey, a substitute teacher in middle and high school, had a quadruple bypass surgery. “My doctor said to pick which facility I would like to come to for rehabilitation,” recalls Ramsey, “and I picked Cardiac Rehab at DeKalb Medical because it is closest to my home in Stone Mountain.”
His rehab program started eight weeks after surgery. “Cardiac Rehab gave me structure to my workouts on the NuStep (recumbent stepping machine), the physical therapy machine where you circle your arms, the treadmill and the stationary bike. I warm up, stretch, then I do about 30 minutes on the treadmill.”
Like most graduates of rehab, Ramsey went on to be a member of The Wellness Center and has been exercising regularly ever since. “I have increased my speed over time. Mike Sisson, program coordinator, suggested I slow down, though, so I don’t hold on because you burn more calories if you don’t hold on. I get out of school and I come here, the same time every day, four times a week, 1-2 hours each time. I usually play golf a couple of days every week, too.
My favorite things about The Wellness Center and Cardiac Rehab is the convenience from work to gym to home, the variety of equipment, and the staff help you without it costing you extra money. It’s probably the best fitness center in town, price-wise.”
They have everything from swimming to an indoor track plus weights – both free weight and machines. I’ve never come here and couldn’t get on a machine.”
Ramsey recently shared his rehab experience with future cardiac patients at the Hillandale campus of DeKalb Medical. “I’ve lost about 17 pounds so far!”
“Two years ago, I was on oxygen 24/7 because of weak lungs,” says Norris Wilborn. “I couldn’t get out of the shower or tub. I couldn’t walk from the car to the door without stopping to rest.” That was before his doctor referred him to the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center at DeKalb Medical. At that time, he could do only three to five minutes on any cardio machine such as the treadmill or bicycle. Medicare paid for the first six weeks and then he became a member of The Wellness Center at DeKalb Medical.
“I saw the difference in only one week,” says Wilborn. Five minutes became ten; ten became 15. Then he could workout without oxygen. Up to 30 minutes; then he added weights to his routine. We are proud to announce that Wilborn is now working out regularly, three to four HOURS A DAY, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“I didn’t know exercise was so important. I believe I added ten years to my life. I don’t use any oxygen until absolutely necessary. I use CPAP (a constant positive air pressure machine) at night and sometimes I forget to even hook it up!”
Pulmonary Rehabilitation/Cardiac Rehabilitation is located inside The Wellness Center at DeKalb Medical, making it easy for people like Wilborn to graduate from their therapy sessions and continue to make fitness part of their regular lifestyle. Candice Andrews and Mike Sisson work as a team with patients who are referred from doctors around Atlanta.
According to Wilborn, “One woman said she didn’t think I was going to make it when I first started and now look at me. I tell you, Candice and Mike do a magnificent job. I thank them for giving me the courage to keep going.”