After heart attack, Charlotte man, 39, rehabs at CMC's Cardiac unit

After heart attack, Charlotte man, 39, rehabs at CMC's Cardiac unit

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by Kellie Patterson / NBC Charlotte

WCNC.com

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 27 at 10:50 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --  Steve Dunn is an attorney in the Charlotte area and never imagined himself spending time at the Cardiac Rehab unit at Carolinas Medical Center.

"I was 39 years old, did not expect for anything like this to happen," he said

Three months ago Steve, who is now 40, said he started having chest pain while sitting at work.
         
"I knew something wasn’t right. I knew that I was experiencing something that I had not experienced before, so I made the decision to go in," said Dunn.

Once at the hospital, doctors confirmed Steve was having a heart attack.

"I made a lot of people feel like they're old because people my age didn't think that this was something that we really had to be worrying about," said Dunn.

He received a stent in his heart and after recovering from surgery he was sent to the Cardiac Rehab unit at CMC.

"People with heart disease come in after their heart event and we exercise. We have an individualized exercise prescription for them.  We teach risk factor modification, such as how to eat healthy, how to reduce stress in our life and how exercise," said nurse manager Shelly Smith.

Shelly works with patients in the Cardiac Rehab unit and says recovering from a heart event can be scary.

"We gradually increase their exercise and make them feel safe and comfortable so when they go out on their own they feel comfortable and confident that they are doing exercise right," said Smith.

"I was physically repaired on that day but it's an event of life that requires dealing with and the repercussions of that are not just something that go away in just one day or one week and there are people here who are knowledgeable about that and who help you know what to expect," said Dunn.

As for Steve now, he said, "I'm living the way I should have been living all along. I'm eating well. I'm coming here three times a week in the mornings to get cardio exercise. I've lost 15 or 20 pounds and I feel fine."

The lessons he's learned through this process are ones he says he hopes to carry with him forever.

"I really am grateful for the little things in life that I used to take for granted. I wouldn't say I'm thankful that I had a heart attack, but I am thankful for that perspective and I hope that doesn't fade away too quickly."

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