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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Marshalltown)

1704 South Center Street
Marshalltown, IA 50158

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Patient Hits Ground Running with Cardiac Rehab


Lacinda Patterson was surprised when the doctor in the ER at UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown told her she was having a heart attack. Sure, she’d been experiencing some chest pain and mild numbness and tingling in her arms and fingers, but she attributed that to a past ulnar nerve surgery.

However, it didn’t match the level of shock she felt when she later learned something else – she actually likes cardiac rehab.

“I was hesitant about starting it, as I’ve never been one to enjoy exercise,” says the 55-year-old from LeGrand. “It’s only been a few weeks, but I absolutely love it. It gets me out of the house, and I meet new people in a non-judgmental, fun atmosphere, and I’m able to work at my own pace.”

In the rehab gym, Lacinda leans on Ashley Bonney, RN, who set up a customized program and goals, while introducing healthy lifestyle changes. During exercise sessions, Ashley closely and safely monitors Lacinda’s vitals, while doubling as her biggest cheerleader.

“She always comes to cardiac rehab with a positive, happy attitude, which is taken in by the people around her,” Bonney said. “She’s always willing to try hard and make herself better, and it’s a pleasure to work with her.”

When cardiac rehab was first recommended by her cardiologist, Lacinda wasn’t entirely sure what that involved.

“Then I did some researching and discovered it was doing exercises, and I thought to myself, “Oh no, I don’t know that I can do that,’” Lacinda said. “I mean, I tried doing a treadmill a few years ago and it was awful. But decided I needed to do this. So, I went, and it’s just been one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had.”

For Lacinda, developing an exercise regimen and making healthy choices has been a revelation.

“I just never pictured myself even making it 2 minutes, let alone 20 minutes, on a treadmill,” Lacinda explained. “One day, I asked if I could keep going, because I still had time left in my session.”

Recently, Lacinda purchased a recumbent bike for her home.

“It’s crazy to actually hear myself say that I’m enjoying exercising,” she said. “And I never would have if it weren’t for cardiac rehab giving me a push in the right direction. The staff is amazing. They truly care about you and your health journey.”

That’s just the sort of feedback that keeps healthcare workers like Bonney going.

“Health care is hard and stressful at times, especially the last 18 months or so,” Bonney said. “So, these kind words and all the appreciation from patients are reminders of why we do what we do.

“Seeing someone make improvements in their health and make changes in their life with the education and resources you have given them is what makes it all worthwhile. This makes me know that I'm where I'm supposed to be and doing what I'm supposed to be doing.”

Photo: Lacinda Patterson (left) and Ashley Bonney, RN