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Hospital's cardiac rehab department honors "graduates"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Photo by Richard Irby Administrator Tony Thompson, artist Kristy Worthen and Dr. Jim Bozeman show off a t-shirt Worthen designed to recognize "graduates" of the Fulton County Hospital's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Dr. Bozeman and his wife, Gail, made a donation to allow the t-shirts to be made, to thank rehab patients for working hard to increase their strength and stamina through cardiac rehab.
"I know one thing, it really takes you down when you have something like that," Jim Schilleman said, referring to the quadruple by-pass surgery he underwent last May. "I've always been real active. I was working on a house and playing golf three times a week when a doctor told me he thought I'd had a heart attack."

Schilleman, a Horseshoe Bend resident, remembers having no strength or energy after his surgery, and he was not looking forward to nine weeks of bi-weekly cardiac rehabilitation visits. He chose the Fulton County Hospital's program after a friend "highly recommended the place" to him.

"It has actually been very good," Schilleman said, as he used a Cardio-Glide machine to build up his upper body. "The women around here force you to work out and get stronger."

"He has improved greatly," Cardiac Rehab Assistant Director Bethanie Young said, as she monitored Schilleman's work out.

As Schilleman wraps up his rehab stint, he will receive reminders of the gains he has made through rehab exercise. He will be one of the first to be awarded a Fulton County Hospital Cardiac Rehab graduation diploma, and a specially designed T-shirt of "congratulations" for finishing stronger than he started.

Seeing the progress that patients make over the weeks of cardiac rehabilitation, supervisor Rhonda Moss has wanted to do something to recognize her "graduates."

"Gail had been through cardiac rehab at another hospital and, when she went through rehab here, she thought it was top notch," Dr. Jim Bozeman said, referring to his wife.

Knowing Moss' desire to honor those who finish rehab, the Bozeman's offered to pay to have some T-shirts printed up to give to cardiac rehab grads -- and not just any T-shirt. They contacted Salem artist Kristy Worthen to design a special T-shirt.

Worthen likes drawing and painting hearts. Not the red, romantic heart-shaped hearts with Cupid's arrow sticking through them that most of us draw. She draws real flesh and blood hearts. The heart Kristy created for the T-shirt is a big red muscle with aortas and ventricles sticking out. But it is kind of cute, especially since the heart is wearing a graduation cap. "Congratulations!" is spelled out above it. Below it, it says, "Fulton County Hospital Cardiac Rehab".

"The T-shirts turned out great. I think our patients deserve a pat on the back when they finish rehab," Moss said. "After a heart attack and surgery or stents, most people are down and out. They feel like they just aren't gong to get any better, but we work with them and they do. When they leave here, they have increased stamina, and, hopefully, realize the benefits of continuing to exercise on their own.

Thompson is on a mission to let more people know about the hospital's cardiac rehab program.

"I know people here are very proud of our cardiac rehab program, and we get a lot of compliments on it," hospital administrator Tony Thompson said. "We are working to get the word out about it. We want people to know that you don't have to go out of town, out of the area, post-surgery. We can take care of your cardiac rehab needs right here, close to where you live."

Jim Schilleman said he is looking forward to proudly wearing the T-shirt, and he plans to sing the praises of FCH's cardiac rehab program.

"After all the work they've made me do here, I earned that T-shirt," Schilleman laughed, as he worked at a weight station. "That was a nice thing for Dr. Bozeman and his wife to do."

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