In 2017, Don Roeder of Waverly learned he had high blood pressure in the arteries of his lungs. The health term for his disease is pulmonary arterial hypertension. He received the diagnosis at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. His doctor told him he needed to be active and exercise. Joining a pulmonary rehab program was a good way to get started.
Pulmonary rehab is for people with long-term lung issues, such as:
- long-term bronchitis
- pulmonary hypertension
- interstitial lung disease
Don commented, “Iowa City didn’t know Waverly Health Center had a pulmonary rehab program so they referred me to Allen Hospital in Waterloo. The staff members at Allen told me about WHC’s program so we chose to stay in Waverly instead. It is so handy for my wife Barbara and me.”
Don started pulmonary rehab in July 2017 and has been coming two days a week ever since. “Krista Behrends and Katie Willenborg are the main rehab staff I work with and they are the best! When I first started, it felt like I ‘had to go’ and now I look forward to going.”
During his sessions, Don walks on the treadmill and uses other equipment to build and keep his strength, endurance and lung function. The staff members check his blood pressure, heart rate and the oxygen (O2) saturation in his blood. They work with him to set goals and to make sure he’s comfortable while exercising.
Barbara stated, “Katie and Krista are very caring and they know us personally. Don’s a big sports fan so they will talk with him about recent games. They are always positive and encouraging and we can ask questions. I go with Don each week and when it’s time to go back to Iowa City for a doctor’s visit, I can take the data from his sessions so the doctors can see how he is doing.”
Don recommends the program for others who may have lung issues. “I am healthier now than before I started rehab. I’m able to do more and I have more energy. The program has made a big impact on my overall health and quality of life. My doctors in Iowa City are very happy with my progress and my persistence with my pulmonary rehab therapy.”