Angels in Nurses’ Clothing

Angels in Nurses’ Clothing James Harding was a typical, active 12-year-old boy when he was diagnosed with type-one diabetes. While the disease did present its challenges, Harding managed to stay in excellent health through exercise, diet and insulin shots. He led an active and full life, and, to those around him, Harding was the picture of health. However, when he was 56, Harding experienced a heart attack while at work. At the time, he didn’t even realize he was having one. He popped a few antacids and went on with his day. “I remember thinking I just had bad heartburn,” he recalled of the experience. “But when it didn’t go away, my wife insisted on taking me to the ER.” When Harding arrived at Adventist Medical Center (AMC) in Portland, his diagnosis was bleak. Not only had he suffered from a heart attack, but physicians told him that if he went back to work it would kill him. Within minutes, Harding's entire life was turned upside down. At his doctor’s urging, he enrolled in AMC’s cardiac rehab program. “That’s when I met Sandi Dykes and the other wonderful nurses that I call my angels,” said Harding. “The rehab program and the advice and support from the nurses put me on the right track and helped me acclimate to my new lifestyle.” AMC’s cardiac rehab program provides training sessions on exercise and proper breathing techniques as well as stress reduction, pacing skills and energy conservation, proper nutrition, and medication use. The program helps patients like Harding to exercise at safe levels after experiencing cardiac events. “The program acts like a security blanket because the nurses keep an eye on you during your workouts and make sure you’re not going overboard,” Harding explained. “It not only mentally got me in the right frame of mind, but it physically got me to a point where I could workout and not hurt myself.” After suffering a second heart attack and having quadruple bypass surgery, Harding's kidneys have shut down as a result of his diabetes. Although he undergoes dialysis treatments three times a week, he is still an active participant in AMC’s cardiac rehab program. He also has become a mentor and inspiration to others in the program and volunteers his time to talk with new patients about life after a cardiac event. “I think it is important for people to know that life isn’t over after you suffer a heart attack,” Harding said. “AMC’s cardiac rehab program is a wonderful tool in helping people achieve balance and a new outlook on life after experiencing cardiac problems.” Harding and his wife, Julie, are at AMC a lot these days. She works in the facility’s patient business office so she can be closer to her husband during his time at the hospital. “I have a big place in my heart for the cardiac rehab program and the doctors and nurses at AMC,” said James. “Thanks to them I am still alive. Now more than ever, I strive to enjoy every day and get the most out of each moment.”

Angels in Nurses’ Clothing

James Harding was a typical, active 12-year-old boy when he was diagnosed with type-one diabetes. While the disease did present its challenges, Harding managed to stay in excellent health through exercise, diet and insulin shots. He led an active and full life, and, to those around him, Harding was the picture of health.

However, when he was 56, Harding experienced a heart attack while at work. At the time, he didn’t even realize he was having one. He popped a few antacids and went on with his day.

“I remember thinking I just had bad heartburn,” he recalled of the experience. “But when it didn’t go away, my wife insisted on taking me to the ER.”

When Harding arrived at Adventist Medical Center (AMC) in Portland, his diagnosis was bleak. Not only had he suffered from a heart attack, but physicians told him that if he went back to work it would kill him. Within minutes, Harding's entire life was turned upside down. At his doctor’s urging, he enrolled in AMC’s cardiac rehab program.

“That’s when I met Sandi Dykes and the other wonderful nurses that I call my angels,” said Harding. “The rehab program and the advice and support from the nurses put me on the right track and helped me acclimate to my new lifestyle.”

AMC’s cardiac rehab program provides training sessions on exercise and proper breathing techniques as well as stress reduction, pacing skills and energy conservation, proper nutrition, and medication use. The program helps patients like Harding to exercise at safe levels after experiencing cardiac events.

“The program acts like a security blanket because the nurses keep an eye on you during your workouts and make sure you’re not going overboard,” Harding explained. “It not only mentally got me in the right frame of mind, but it physically got me to a point where I could workout and not hurt myself.”

After suffering a second heart attack and having quadruple bypass surgery, Harding's kidneys have shut down as a result of his diabetes. Although he undergoes dialysis treatments three times a week, he is still an active participant in AMC’s cardiac rehab program. He also has become a mentor and inspiration to others in the program and volunteers his time to talk with new patients about life after a cardiac event.

“I think it is important for people to know that life isn’t over after you suffer a heart attack,” Harding said. “AMC’s cardiac rehab program is a wonderful tool in helping people achieve balance and a new outlook on life after experiencing cardiac problems.”

Harding and his wife, Julie, are at AMC a lot these days. She works in the facility’s patient business office so she can be closer to her husband during his time at the hospital.

“I have a big place in my heart for the cardiac rehab program and the doctors and nurses at AMC,” said James. “Thanks to them I am still alive. Now more than ever, I strive to enjoy every day and get the most out of each moment.”

May 01, 2006 / Adventist Health
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