As 2013 started, middle school social studies teacher and former military man Fred Brown said to himself: “This is the year that I get fit.”
Little did he know that his vow wouldn’t involve intense training sessions; instead he’d have to first slow down, very much so, and with guidance from the cardiac rehabilitation staff at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.
Fred turned to them after suffering a heart attack on May 10, 2013. He had two catheterizations and three stints inserted, and was feeling better, but knew he had a ways to go. Although he doesn’t like hospitals, he immediately felt like he made the right decision.
“Sylvia at the information booth quickly learned my name, and everyone else’s, too,” Fred says. “She and the whole staff made it easy to be there. Each nurse was remarkably kind and attentive.”
He was so encouraged by their knowledge and friendly manner that he remembers many by name: Tara Jemmott, Pamela Rozmajzl, Kim Haney, Sharon Novak, Meg Spacek and Marie Hicks.
“We remember Mr. Brown, too,” shares the staff. “We really, really liked him. He worked hard and did well. Most of our patients do.”
Staff members strive to prevent future cardiac events, a serious matter no doubt, but they take an upbeat approach as they teach patients about exercise, good eating habits and stress reduction.