Unless she’s out of town with her family, Patricia Enerson of Morris doesn’t miss a day of her exercise program at the Diagnostic & Rehabilitative Center at Morris Hospital. She enjoys the workouts, and even more, appreciates the benefits.
When she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) five years ago, Patricia thought she might be facing a future of inactivity, until her physician directed her to Morris Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program.
She began the program last February.
“I feel 100 percent better since I’ve been here,” she says. “I go every time. I don’t miss it. I can walk farther, and I can keep up with everybody. I have a little granddaughter who’s three, and one who’s five, and I can keep up with them. I would not have been able to do that without pulmonary rehab.”
Patricia says several things had contributed to her lung problems. She was a long-time smoker, for one, and credits Dr. Dana Howd, an internist on the Morris Hospital medical staff, for helping her kick that habit.
She also said breathing paper dust for 30 years while working at a carton factory likely also contributed to her COPD.
As her condition progressed, Patricia went from being able to walk for hours along the river and I&M Canal tow path to having trouble making it from her car to her house. Even tying her shoes caused her to lose her breath.
“I just couldn’t breathe,” she says. “My lungs wouldn’t give me the air that I needed.”
It was frustrating and scary, until she found Morris Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation team. The program involves physical reconditioning using such equipment as the treadmill, walking track, recumbent stepper and elliptical, arm ergometer, stationary bike, weights, and bands and balance exercises designed to improve endurance and muscle strength.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation also incorporates education, breathing strategies and techniques to help patients better carry out their daily lives.
“It’s about building your lungs up,” she says.
After completing the 12-week Phase II pulmonary rehab program, Patricia opted to continue with Phase III, an ongoing maintenance program designed to keep her lungs functioning well.
Her breathing improved so much that over the summer, she was able to attend her granddaughter’s wedding in the Dominican Republic and take a vacation to Florida with her son and his family. She’s planning a trip out east to see the Chicago Bears play this season.
“I would never have made it without this program,” she says. “This is the place to go. I don’t know what it is about the program, but it works. If you put yourself into it, it works.”
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