Patsy's Story

Respiratory Care
“It’s a fabulous program. I found no downside – very positive!”

Patsy Genz, 65, of St. Cloud has nothing but good things to share about the pulmonary rehab program through CentraCare Health. “It’s a fabulous program. I found no downside – very positive!”

Patsy has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and damaged lungs from years of smoking. She developed pneumonia a few years ago and became very weak. She wasn’t able to walk from the kitchen to the bedroom. Her physician told her she had only 10 percent lung capacity before she started rehabilitation with the Respiratory Care department at CentraCare Clinic – River Campus.

Respiratory Care recommended that Patsy try the pulmonary rehab program that requires two-hour sessions two days a week for six to eight weeks. The program focuses on one hour of education and one hour of exercise to work toward meeting patients’ goals. “It’s a gradual build with the exercise. We start with three to five minutes and by the end of the program you are up to 30 to 35 minutes,” Patsy explained. The program incorporates weights, stretches, and cardio including bike, treadmill or elliptical. After completing the program, Patsy was amazed by the difference, “Without the pulmonary rehab program, I would just sit there. My lungs don’t work how I would like them to, but I can do everything.”
Patsy has completed the program twice. “I lost a lot of family last year. My dad passed away from cancer, my uncle died and then I lost another uncle and aunt. I didn’t want to do a lot.” Patsy said the losses took a toll on her body as well as her emotions. “I had trouble with my legs; they were getting weaker all the time. When I would try and exercise it would become much worse.” The lack of exercise had an effect on her breathing as well so she returned to the respiratory therapy program. With their help, Patsy can now exercise again. “It feels good to have somebody there to support you.”

Patsy recommends the program to those struggling with respiratory problems. The pulmonary rehab program also discusses other options that are available, including those free of cost. “There are lots of resources for people – I got way more than expected.”