Heart patients praise dedicated therapist
EXERCISE – Pete Smith, left, and Thomas Davis work out with weights as part of their cardiac rehabilitation. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 13, 2002
Her patients at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center call her "Sgt. Harris" and she earned the nickname.
Susie Harris is a registered nurse and directs the hospital's cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program, a 12-week schedule of exercise and education held three days a week for people with cardiopulmonary problems
Even after completing the program, some patients come back to work with Harris and her crew, registered nurses Joyce Mayer and Jo Carol Coulliette, in the hospital's Health and Fitness Center.
What to worry
about, what not
Reich, 54, said the program helps patients understand what is normal and what is not normal.
Reich is director of marketing and communications for East Mississippi Electric Power Association. He had a heart attack in January 1999. He said he did not go through the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program at that time, but he wishes he had. His second heart attack was in September 2000.
Dan Self, 72, of Meridian is an attorney. He joined the program after having triple bypass surgery last year, then he became a part of the Health and Fitness Center family. He said it has been a life-saver.
Self likes to fish. After his heart surgery, he could not push his 16-foot boat onto a trailer by himself.
Bobbie Morgan, 71, of Meridian, entered the program after having a heart attack in November 1998.
She said the program helped her regain her strength and that it was good to talk to other heart patients.
John McGirt, 73, of Meridian, had heart surgery out of state in 2000 and went through the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program after having some coagulation problems.
Thomas Davis, 67, of Meridian, had quadruple bypass heart surgery last year and joined the Health and Fitness Center after going through the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program but it took some coaxing.
Pete Smith is another graduate who is part of the fitness center family. He said he is 70, going on 25, and had heart surgery to remove blockage in March.