Donna Buss had a heart attack on January 3, 2017. Waverly Health Center’s (WHC) Ambulance staff transported her from her hometown in Allison to Unity Point Health – Allen Hospital. “The paramedic visited with me the whole way. His care and skill helped calm me down during a very scary time,” said Donna.
After Donna left Allen she began cardiac rehab at WHC. It was a closer drive for her than Waterloo. On her first day of cardiac rehab, WHC nurses sat down with Donna to review her health history and gave her an introduction and tour of the cardiac rehab program.
“I was angry and upset about my heart attack. The nurses understood and told me it was normal to feel that way. Each nurse took a personal interest in me and answered any questions I had. They each had their own way of showing compassion and communicating.”
Donna’s main symptom during her heart attack was heartburn. She was worried because she continued having heartburn. “The nurses called and talked to my doctor about my concern. I appreciated them taking me so seriously.”
“They never pushed, letting me feel the challenge to increase.” Donna had exercised regularly before her heart attack, so she thought she was in pretty good shape. She was pleasantly surprised to see a comparison report showing how much stronger she had gotten throughout the program. “I had definitely increased my exercise level. I am thankful for the support I received from the WHC team. I became a part of their large family.”
What is cardiac rehab?
“Cardiac rehab” is short for “cardiac rehabilitation.” It is a special type of care people get after having a heart attack. In WHC’s cardiac rehab program, nurses teach patients ways to keep their heart healthy. This includes ways to:
- Exercise safely
- Improve diet, stop smoking, and control other health conditions
- Cope with feeling sad or worried after a heart attack
Heart attack symptoms
This picture shows the main symptoms of a heart attack. People who are having a heart attack often have only some of these symptoms. The pain and pressure caused by a heart attack mostly affect the left side of the body (shown in darker red) but can also affect the right. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. Do not try to get yourself to the hospital.
Photo: Donna with her brothers at a recent family get-together