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John W. Pinkerton


Okay…I hate rehab.  Every time I go to a session, I think back to a friend who came by one day years ago and said, “Let's go workout.”  I knew he was using bad judgment, but I went along.  When we arrived at the gym, each of us picked out a station and began to push steel.  I chose, of course, a station on which I could lie down.  After a short time, I didn't hear steel clanging at my friend's station.  In the silence, I asked him if he was okay.  “Yeah…now I know why the kids don't like doing this,” to which I replied, “Let's go get a beer,” which we did and lived happily ever after.

Before releasing me after three weeks from the hospital in Houston after my valve replacement, the docs wanted to send me to a rehabilitation center.  Nope, I want to go home and drink coffee on my front porch.

They saw that I wasn't having it and released me.  My nephew poured me in his jeep and got me home.  Lord, I was in horrible condition.  Linda hung in there with me, and I survived the first couple of weeks.

My mother had a similar operation when she was 87.  I was 77.  We both hated rehab and she pretty much refused it.  I was very critical of her decision, but when my time came, I found out why she hated it.  She lived for another ten years in spite of the fact that she refused therapy during her last three years at a nursing home.

First we got some folks to come to the house.  There were three of them that took turns.  One fellow thought he was Knute Rockne and gave rah-rah talks.  Another played patticake with me and the third was a good conversationalist.  They were all nice folks, but I can't say they improved anything.  My time with these folks played out, and I was on my own again.

While visiting my heart doctor in College Station, I suggested cardiac therapy while I knew I actually needed pulmonary, but when in Rome.  I did it for a couple of months in Bryan while waiting for an opening in Brenham, half the distance from our home.  There were usually from three to four people for me to torture in Bryan, but I think they appreciated my humor.  I followed this up with a couple of months in Brenham that only had one cardiac therapist.  I liked her fine, but she was a little hard to cause to laugh.  Once again, I don't think there was any improvement.

After finishing my cardiac rehab, I suggested to my pulmonary doctor that I might benefit from pulmonary rehab.  Linda found one in Caldwell, another nearby town.  They're nice folks, but I still hate it.  I only have about four visits left…thank Gawd.

I've told each of my therapists the same thing: “As long as you go on telling me that you can improve my condition, I'll continue to pretend to believe you.”

My philosophy about exercise has always been that a man should do enough in his work each day that he shouldn't have to add what to me are pointless movements.  I haven't changed my mind.