Mended Hearts program provides encouragement From Spotlight on Health - Fall 2011
Joe Kolstad has his blood thickness checked by
Sue Knese, a phlebotomist and ECG technician at the Central Minnesota Heart Center at St. Cloud Hospital.
The night before Joe Kolstad’s scheduled triple bypass surgery and mechanical aortic valve implant at St. Cloud Hospital, his mind was racing with fears of the unknown and who would take care of his family if he didn’t survive.
A visit to his hospital room by Denny Wintheiser, a Mended Hearts volunteer, helped ease his worries. Mended Hearts volunteers use their personal experiences with heart disease to help others prepare for the challenges of treatment, recovery and lifestyle changes.
Denny, who had a quadruple bypass in June of 1997, reassured Joe with his calm presence and words. Denny shared how within one year of his surgery, he ran a marathon -- and still is running them.
“Talk about relieving my anxiety. I really felt like I was doing the right thing. Denny’s visit instilled a great deal of confidence about the procedure I was about to face,” said Joe.
Following his surgery, Joe attended a Mended Hearts support group meeting. Joe hoped to meet someone in a similar situation. “Because I had a mechanical valve placed in my heart, I was told that I would have to take blood thinners for the rest of my life,” said Joe.
At the meeting Joe was introduced to a member who said she had a replacement valve and had been on blood thinners for 24 years.
“She explained to me many of the things that I would have to be concerned about, but that life can go forward in a fairly normal manner. I also want to thank the cardiac rehab staff at St. Cloud Hospital. They were terrific in everything they did. The physical exercises were great and the excellent classes aided my wife, Maureen, and me tremendously,” said Joe.
The Mended Hearts program, supported by Central Minnesota Heart Center at St. Cloud Hospital, offers services to heart patients through visits, support group meetings and educational forums. Its mission is to help people understand that there can be a rich, rewarding life with heart disease. The St. Cloud Mended Hearts chapter has monthly support group meetings at the Whitney Senior Center. For more information, contact Kellie at (320) 251-2700, ext. 57445.