Mary Britt's Story
Following a heart attack, with two stints installed, I came home very weak and apprehensive about my future. Since my retirement I had worked for nearly 14 years as a volunteer at Johnston Health. It had become an important part of my life, but I no longer had the energy to be involved and I was afraid to push myself because I didn’t know what I could safely do.
My cardiologist prescribed cardiopulmonary rehab but allowed me to choose where I enrolled. Years ago I had driven a family member to the Raleigh Durham area for Cardiopulmonary rehab.
The drive itself was long and stressful and I knew would be even more so now, plus I certainly wouldn’t be able to drive myself there. That fact moved me to explore Johnston Health’s Cardiopulmonary Rehab Center right here in Smithfield, my hometown.
I toured their very nice facility in the Medical Mall across from the hospital and quickly decided this was where I wanted to go. It was a very good decision - the staff was wonderful. They were very comforting and understanding of our feelings. Every staff member believes in what they do and are very good at what they do. They were a physical and emotional support. There was always a physician with us which gave us peace of mind as we worked to push ourselves. There were exercise specialists and a nutritionist. Classes on nutrition and breathing were helpful and made a big difference. Educational classes and handouts were especially helpful. In fact, I still refer to my handout information frequently. I’m sure not everyone buys into rehab and exercise, but I wanted to get better. I wanted my energy and health back, and I wanted to get back to my job as a volunteer at Johnston Health.
Beyond the staff at Johnston Health Cardiopulmonary rehab, we patients were good for each other. We really bonded because we were all connected by similar conditions and the same goals. We encouraged each other and had the comfort of knowing we were not alone in our struggles. The atmosphere at the rehab center fostered that feeling.
I was out of work for nearly 3 months, but looking back I think that is a remarkable time frame to go through what I did and also make a recovery to the point I can comfortably return to my normal life. Now I am back, working as a volunteer at Johnston Health’s Gift Shop in Smithfield and enjoying life being back to normal.
I am a charter member of Johnston Health’s HealthQuest Fitness & Wellness Center. I still go there but now I apply what I learned from my rehab, using the equipment at HealthQuest. I am grateful to the staff and to Johnston Health for this wonderful resource - but, most of all, I am thankful to have it here, so close to home.