Jackie Walter was told that she was just days away from dying and was desperate for answers when she turned to the doctors at Campbell County Health. She had lost 62 pounds in three months, her heart rate was poor, and she didn't feel the doctors in Rapid City were taking her concerns seriously.
"I kept going downhill and I couldn't wait three months for an appointment," Jackie said. "It didn't seem to matter to them I was a death's door."
After working with Dr. Sameera Fareed and
Dr. Peter Fort, Campbell County Medical Group
Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, Jackie was diagnosed with Grave's disease, an immune system disorder that causes overproduction of thyroid hormones. Jackie was given radioactive iodine to shrink the thyroid gland and destroy the overactive thyroid cells.
The treatment was a success, but Grave's disease had already wreaked havoc on Jackie's body, including her lungs. With recommendation from her doctor, Jackie began pulmonary rehabilitation earlier this year.
During 36 rehabilitation sessions, Jackie participated in hour-long workout sessions two times a week to build her strength. From floor exercises to jogging on the treadmill, Jackie exercised while the team in pulmonary rehab monitored her progress.
"They built up my strength physically and psychologically," Jackie said. "There's no better care in the world than at Campbell County Health. The nurses really care. If it wasn't for them, I don't know where I'd be."
That care and attention is the focus for Campbell County Health's Pulmonary Rehabilitation and
Cardiac Rehabilitation department. The goal is always to help the patients regain strength and abilities in a safe environment.
"In the rehabilitation process, we help patients get back into their normal life," said Sherry Bailey, intensive care and cardiac and pulmonary rehab manager. "We offer that small-town feel in a high-tech hospital environment."
With registered respiratory therapists and cardiac and pulmonary rehab nurses on staff, patients receive the highest standard of care. In addition to skilled care, the staff is constantly completing additional training to stay abreast of the latest in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation.
Whether they're suffering from the effects of emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or recovering from a heart attack, patients are monitored and encouraged to slowly rebuild their stamina and strength. And the Campbell County Health staff is there cheering them on and giving them support every step of the way.
"Patients are family to the team," Bailey said. "They just take such personal, vested interest in them. They build life-long relationships."
For Jackie, the key to her recovery was returning to her quilting, crocheting and knitting. The pulmonary rehabilitation helped her achieve that goal and as a way to give back, Jackie now knits scarves for all of the respiratory therapy patients. Since she started, she's knitted 300 scarves, and plans on making many more.
"I started making them when I was in therapy," Jackie said. "It's a little I can do to give back."
Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer