I don't know if I've ever blogged about Pulmonary Rehabilitation. I wrote an article for DiVine recently but it just gave a very basic overview.
Anyway, the local hospital that deals with all of my inpatient admissions classified me as a HARP patient in 2004 (meaning that I'm at high risk of taking up a hospital bed on a regular basis). Lucky me.
I was referred to the physiotherapy department and began a pulmonary rehabilitation program. At this stage, I had no idea why I needed a fitness / education program. I was working full time, travelling for work, living a fairly normal life. Luckily the medical professionals were a step ahead of me, and knew what was lying ahead.
The hospital gym program normally runs for 8 weeks, and then you have the option of joining a community run group. The sessions are run as a group of around 6-10 patients with 2 physios, and each person stays for the 8 weeks before moving on.
As I was always going to be heading towards transplant, I've been allowed to stay on within the hospital program under medical supervision. I'm extremely grateful because it's wonderful to be able to review my progress with the physio on a weekly basis. A small change in fitness can be an early indicator of a problem.
I started in the program at the age of 30, and I'm now 37. In the last 7 years, I've literally met hundreds of patients who have been through the program. I'd estimate that 90% would have been over the age of 60 and ex-smokers.
I can't really explain the experience much more than that tonight.... but I have a very special guest blog post coming up next from someone who explains so much more eloquently and more humorous that I ever could.