After having a heart attack, I had to spend a few weeks in cardiac rehab. The point of this was to get me used to exercising without having another heart attack. I’d already asked “How do I know if I’m exercising too much?” The answer was “When your chest hurts and you can’t breathe.” I pointed out that the last time that happened, I was told that I was having a heart attack.

I was never too happy with the name. “Rehab” makes it sound like I’m trying to quit heroin instead of exercising. 

I went to rehab 3 times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, starting at 4:00pm. I had to leave work around 3:30 to get there on time. As I got into fitness garb, I had to stick electrodes on my chest so that they could attach a portable heart monitor.

Then I’d exercise on treadmills, elliptical bikes, rowing machines, et cetera while they watched the ticker monitor. They’d also sometimes take my blood pressure before, after, and during the exercising.

The other rehab attendees were either much older, much heavier, or both, than me. There were also one or two guys who were my approximate age and shape and only one girl (college age maybe?).

I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen (and some who didn’t want to) that I didn’t deserve this heart attack. My rant is usually along the lines of “Eat right, exercise, have a heart attack anyway,” usually followed by an expletive. Keeping company with these overweight couch potatoes didn’t change my mind.

The rehab did do some good. I’ve gotten to the point where I can get my ticker rate up to where they want it without me calling for an ambulance.

I went to rehab for the last time recently. I talked about celebrating with cigarettes, liquor, and cheesecake as I lay on the couch. I didn’t have the cigarettes or liquor but I did have the cheesecake.

It’s not all couches and Bon-bons though. I still have to get my ticker rate up to 140-150 BPM 5-7 times a week. I’ll be seeing a lot more of the fitness center  

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