Sixty-year-old Jeff Zeiger considers himself fairly well informed about health. He earned his doctorate in health, physical education and leisure science and served as a professor for 25 years. Jeff lived a healthy lifestyle and was mindful of what he ate because of his family's history with heart disease.
"I did everything right and this still happened to me," he says.
Two years ago, Jeff had a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery, which restored blood flow to four obstructed coronary arteries. He suffered from heart failure and low ejection fraction (measurement of how well your heart is pumping out blood).
To help recover from the procedure, Jeff went through cardiac rehabilitation at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute.
"I was scared and anxious. I wanted to get better," he says. "The toughest thing for anyone is getting your mind around it. I'm two years out and I still struggle with it every day. You're constantly wondering when your next episode is going to happen and cardiac rehab is the best thing that can help you through it. I would make it mandatory for anyone who has a heart issue."
The camaraderie between the patients and therapy staff significantly impacted Jeff and it made him enthusiastic about each session. To spark inspiration in each patient, he tried to get each of them to reciprocate his daily mantra, which was to scream, "I LOVE REHAB!" each time he got on the treadmill.
"Being in the cardiac rehab program at St. Luke's made me feel like I was part of something. Like someone cared about me and was watching me," says Jeff. "Pray that if you ever get sick with heart issues, that you have access to a facility like St. Luke's, because it stands second to none. We are lucky that we have this facility in our town."
If you would like to learn more about our Cardiac Rehabilitation services