The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Hanging Out At The REAL Happiest Place On Earth

On October 21st, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

I’m calling foul. I’m starting to find out that many of the claims made by advertising agencies on behalf of their clients just may be over exaggerated. As an example, I don’t believe that Disney parks are “the happiest place on earth.” After much thought, consternation and a couple of visits, I’m convinced that the “happiest place on earth” is Cardiac Rehab.

Think about it! People are smiling ear to ear, and why not? There is one reason and one reason only for ending up in Cardiac Rehab: me and my fellow attendees have dodged a bullet. The ticker was in need of a rewinding and, before the clock stopped, God’s healing hand (working through modern medicine) kicked into gear. Voila, everyone in attendance is happy, happy, happy!

The whole world, especially those who have never been in Cardiac Rehab, have heard the salutation “good to see you.” A nice gesture, but not usually intended to be taken literally. When those inside the walls of Cardiac Rehab say “good to see you,” they mean it LITERALLY. Quite frankly, they’re happy to see anybody. Being seen makes it the “happiest place on earth.” I’ll let you in on a little Cardiac Rehab humor: when someone tells a heart survivor that it’s “good to see you,” the appropriate response is, “it is better to be seen than viewed.” Get it?

Cardiac Rehab is busy. Bikes are humming, tread mills are grinding, stretching is a big thing, and monitoring everything is in high gear. A lot of us have a lot to live for. Nurses, physical therapists and a variety of bystanders are all very interested in heart rates and blood pressure. The nature of the location and why a person is there pretty much dictates that everyone pay attention. No quick moves toward the floor are allowed. And if you reach for your left pectoral for an itch, you’ll create a considerable stir – one that will involve much more attention than you would ever get at a Disney Theme Park.

Cardiac Rehab resembles a boot camp minus a drill sergeant. Actually, there is a nurse/physical therapist calling the shots and busy herding everyone to the right place at the right time. There are rules, procedures and lots of discussion about ones’ meds and how often they are taken. It is essential conversation. In a cute, not mean-spirited way, it’s a little like the steely, unyielding Nurse Ratched’s heavy hand on the patients found in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” There’s someone calling all the shots, and it’s not the patients. Just like the characters in the movie, everyone is lovable and kind – and very, very happy.

In a curious sort of way, it’s also like prison. Everyone wants to know why everyone else is there. Generally speaking, the reason is pretty obvious, but what about the details? One guy asks the other “what are you in for?” and a story breaks loose. Stories are big in Cardiac Rehab. It’s like a “my dad can beat up your dad” conversation. Scars, stents and hardware are compared among those in the room. Nobody’s story is discounted, and everyone wants to share. There is a sense of power in numbers and support for one another. It’s actually a beautiful scene among people who care.

Disney is not the happiest place on earth. I’ve been to both. I enjoyed Disneyworld and Disneyland, but I’ve never been happier than in Cardiac Rehab. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about!

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