The Reese Perkins Story
“I didn’t retire to sit home in a rocking chair.”
The sun is barely up, but in the Cardiopulmonary Care Center at Island Hospital workout room 79-year-old Reese Perkins is already working up a sweat on the rowing machine. Around him are others who regularly exercise in an ongoing program for individuals recovering from heart-related illnesses or procedures.
“On workout days I get up real early,” says Reese. “It’s good to have a place to go and something to do that not only makes me better, but makes me feel better too.”
Reese has lived most of his life in Anacortes and worked more than 35 years in Pacific Northwest pulp paper mills. He and Virginia, his wife of 59 years, were enjoying retirement when he began to feel tired and short of breath much of the time.
“Then one morning I bent down to tie my shoes and I really gasped for air,” he says.
A Cardiologist’s examination confirmed that Reese was suffering from heart disease. He underwent an angioplasty and stent-implantation procedure to help clear his clogged arteries. After a successful surgery Reese’s doctor recommended the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Island Hospital to aid his recovery. Following 36 sessions of monitored rehab activity and instruction designed specially for him, Reese chose to continue his workout regimen.
“I wasn’t ready for the rocking chair and my rehab-program trainers showed me how exercise, what I eat and the medicines I take can work together to keep me healthier longer. My doctor says if I keep progressing, I may not need some of my current medications.”
After Reese finishes his workout he meets with exercise and rehab professionals who have guided his recovery program. He’s grateful for their continuing support, and he says he looks forward to exercising regularly as long as he can.
“Some of these folks have been working out here for six years or more. I’m one of the new guys, but I’m going to
keep at it.”
The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program is located at 2511 M Avenue, Anacortes. For information or appointments, call (360) 299-4242.