The Hockadays' Cardiopulmonary Rehab Story

Ronnie & Barbara Hockaday at the gym

“You never know where life will take you – especially when it comes to health. A few months ago I was telling a friend that I had decided to come out of retirement and go back to work making signs. I said to him, “I enjoy the work, I feel good, my health is good, the money would be good and as long as I can I want to work.” Ironically that very evening I was taken to the hospital with chest pain, the result of heart blockages. The next day I had quadruple bypass surgery. I was so thankful to have Barbara, my wife of 50 years, right there with me.

In our fifty years of marriage we have always been at each other’s side. We raised three great children, built a home and business. For years we even performed side by side in gospel groups and later as “The Hockadays” with our children.

But we have faced our share of challenges as well. Caring for parents and an aunt who were in declining health, the loss of parents and friends, some health issues, including a fall off a billboard that broke both of my legs and an ankle. And the toughest thing – our son Neil being in a terrible wreck that nearly took him away from us. But we have always leaned on God and each other through whatever challenges we met.

We never imagined that one of the challenges we would face would be near simultaneous recovery from heart attacks. Two months to the day from my attack, Barbara would be there with me, in a very different way, as a heart patient herself. Barbara was treated with angioplasty, having a single stint installed.

Fortunately she had helped me along to the point I was then able to help her. We were still there side by side but needing someone else to lean on for recovery. She soon joined me at Johnston Health Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation in the Medical Mall in Smithfield.

The wonderful staff there worked along side us, encouraging and building confidence every step of the way. They helped us help each other throughout our recovery. Staff members worked with us as a team, coaching and supporting us.

Our fellow patients were helpful as well. We all drew encouragement from each other’s successes and bonded much like a family.

Barbara and I are doing very well. I completed rehab in December and Barbara finished in March. I feel the best I have in years! I am back working, enjoying my classic cars, playing bluegrass music and taking care of yard work.

Barbara and I celebrated our 50th anniversary in December, with a whole new appreciation for our time together and our marriage vows, especially the part about being there “in sickness and in health.”

We also wake up each day with a renewed appreciation for life and health and a deep gratitude for the wonderful professionals at Johnston Health Cardiac Rehab, and the healing path they have guided us on.”

Ronnie & Barbara Hockaday
Four Oaks, NC
Cardiopulmonary Rehab

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a referral from your doctor to participate in cardiopulmonary rehab at UNC Health Johnston. Call our staff at 919-938-7127 if you have questions about the program.