I started pulmonary rehab over a year ago at St. M's hospital, and I really feel that I've benefitted from it so much. I've enjoyed going for the exercise part, but I have also really become attached to the people I workout with. I'm the youngest one there! There's a man who will be 92 soon (I soooo admire his determination to be there, not to mention the fact that he walks on the treadmill at an 8% incline!!), another in his mid-80s (and hilarious!), and several other people ranging from 40s-70s. It's a wonderful group to hang out with. We laugh and joke while we are working out, and share stories. I learned that the 92yr old guy built the first house on the street I lived on! I can't even imagine what my street looked like with just one house and apple orchards compared to how it is today. Stuff like that just makes me glad I'm going there!
Lately, however, I've been having a very hard time paying for the rehab classes. It's $36 for 8 sessions, which ends up being about a month if I keep going both times each week. I did ok paying for it for awhile, but by the time this summer rolled around, it was getting difficult. I wouldn't go just to stretch the sessions (thankfully if we don't go, we don't lose the session), and try to exercise at home. So finally, I found out on Tuesday about a cardio/rehab center in Another hospital that I wasn't aware of. After talking to one of the RT's there, I learned that there is a financial assistance program at Another that could possibly help pay for my rehab for a year. I went to the rehab gym on Wednesday after I got my labwork redone. I walked from the main hospital all the way to the heart center, and let me say, that could easily be rehab for me!! The 2 RTs in the gym were wonderful ladies, and I spent about 20 minutes talking to them, explaining my situation, educating them about PH, and my low o2 sats. I thought I sensed fear in their eyes, but I could've been wrong. LOL I told them I'd figure out my situation and if I needed to apply, I'd let them know. I hiked myself back to the other side of the hospital and into my car, and wow, was I tired!! There were 2 things that bugged me the most about having to make the visit to that rehab gym: 1) I didn't want to leave the people I was already working out with!! 2) The parking is horrendous for this gym!! No valet like at the hospital I go to now, and nothing but luck trying to get a close spot. Even though the possibility of free rehab was there, I really really didn't want to have to end up switching.
So, Thursday, I get to rehab, determined to ask one of the nurses in the gym whether they had a similar financial assitance program at St. M's. When I did ask, she said yes, but not for rehab. I told her my situation, and about the possibility of switching to Another, and she felt bad about it but said there wasn't much they could do. I was bummed. So I walked with my chart to the table to start exercising, and my one friend there asked me how I made out with talking to Another. I told her about it, and I told her I had just asked if St. M's had financial assistance, but they don't. She said that was too bad, however, Sister M. (who also exercises with us) was going around the hospital finding people to possibly help me with my situation. I thought that was very sweet of her! My friend also told me that if nothing could be worked out with St. M's, then she'd help pay for my rehab, and so would a few other people. I told her absolutely not! Of course, she scoffed at me and said she could do what she wanted because she wanted me to stay there. She kinda waved her hand at me as if to say, Be off with you now, I will do what I want! I just didn't know what to say. So I walked off to the treadmills to start my routine.
Sister M. came into the room about 15 minutes later, and came over to talk to me. She had a very serious look about her, a stern look on her face. She showed me a name on a piece of paper she had, and told me that I MUST go speak with so-and-so in the ER, and I MUST tell her my situation, and I MUST keep coming to rehab because she just KNEW it was helping me! She was adamant about it. I told her I would, and I thanked her for the info. I hurried to finish my exercises, mainly because I didn't know whether this lady was going to leave at noon for lunch, but also because someone came in to exercise and was wearing a ton of perfume. UGH!! My lungs wanted to take off and run. Anyway, I got finished, went down to the ER and asked for so-and-so, and waited for about 20 minutes to see her. When I did, I told her my story, educated her a little on PH (hehe), told her how much rehab has made a difference in my life, but if I couldn't get any help, I was unfortunately going to have to switch to Memorial to continue rehab there. So-and-so asked me about my income, which is SSD, asked if I had any other monies coming in (ok, come on, if I did, I wouldn't be asking for help!!), and proceeding to complete an application for assistance with St. Mary's programs for a year. A year of free rehab, was what this was amounting to! She printed out a copy of the letter, which I am to show the cashier's office when I need to pay for rehab again, and I told her how much this meant to me!!
I left so-and-so's office with tears of happiness, because I just felt soooo very relieved to be able to have rehab free for a year. I was tremendously grateful for Sister M.'s persistance, and I really think she was my angel for the day. I do believe God answers prayers in ways we never would have imagined, and when this worked out, I felt mine had been answered with the help of a nun who was determined to keep me in rehab one way or another!! So now the only things keeping me from going to exercise with my friends is a cold, or freezing cold temperatures!! I don't really have another other excuse to put it off!!