News 12 at 6 o'clock, September 18, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Thomas Draper had double bypass heart surgery in May. He's now on week seven of the rehab program and says he's almost back to 50 percent. Along with his cardio workout, this week, he's added weights too.
"You gonna speed it up on me huh?" Asks Thomas.
69-year-old Thomas Draper is recovering from open heart surgery. His rehab at University Hospital includes time on the treadmill, stationary bike, and rowing machine.
"Always trying to improve each week," says Thomas's trainer Jeff. "Each week," responds Thomas.
Thomas is on an 18 week rehab program. His heart getting stronger, one week at a time.
"It is truly a team effort here at University and our patients are the ones who win," says Teresa B. Waters, the Director of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Services.
"We get to see the folks that have come in and are barely able to do anything and then when they walk out of here, it's like they're a whole new person," says Lorraine Thomas, one of the program's registered nurses.
"I feel like I'm coming back slowly but surely to my old self." says Thomas.
After his normal workout, Thomas moves on to the weight machines, and works other parts of his heart. "Keep your elbows up, now pull back," says his trainer Jeff.
Here, Thomas is able to get one on one attention. "We like to work with our patients on an individual basis and adjust their weights according to what they can do," says Lorraine.
"I felt the burn in that one," says Thomas. And feeling the burn isn't just for cardio patients. "Any weight training helps anybody at any age," says Lorraine.
Thomas is hooked to a heart monitor, so nurses know exactly how he's doing. "You couldn't be in a safer place than where you are right here," says Thomas.
So Thomas is safe and also having fun. "You better get a hold of them over there! That's what it's all about, if you're gonna come to it, have fun with it," says Thomas.
Have fun, and heal a heart.
In the last week, the cardio program at University Hospital has been nationally certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. They say this is a big deal, because there are only three other programs certified in the entire state of Georgia and it's the only one for about a 150 miles.