TROY — Lori Seman and her mom, Penny Kissinger, have always been close but never dreamed they’d be sitting side-by-side on exercise equipment at Upper Valley Medical Center’s cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program.
The Bradford residents, though, both experienced heart problems and underwent procedures at UVMC’s Level II Catheterization Lab within a month of each other last winter. They continued their participation in the rehabilitation program after its to a new home on the hospital’s south side this spring.
“We were known as double trouble when we came in,” Seman said with a laugh of the mother-daughter rehab visits three times a week.
Seman, 50, was the first to experience problems suffering a heart attack in mid-December while working as a cafeteria worker at the Bradford school. She first went home because of chest pain and shortness of breath, then summoned her daughter-in-law who lives nearby and called the emergency squad.
At UVMC, things moved quickly.
“They ran me down to surgery because the artery to my heart was blocked 100 percent,” Seman said.
After she received three stents at the cath lab, Seman’s cardiologist, Ristenka Prnarova, DO, recommended the cardiac rehabilitation program.
“At first I felt like I was out of place because of my age. Once I got talking with everyone we are here for a purpose,” Seman said.
Kissinger, 72, is retired from Emerson, a Sidney manufacturer. She called her only daughter in January, telling her she was having heart palpitations. “She felt like her heart was going to beat out of her chest,” Seman recalled. “I told her to get to the hospital ASAP.”
Kissinger was in Troy and went to UVMC for a stress test. Kissinger, too, was found to have a blockage. She received one stent in the same cath lab visited by her daughter just weeks before.
Soon, Kissinger’s provider, Susan “Sue” Hoying, Certified Nurse Practitioner with Premier Cardiovascular Institute, Troy, also recommended rehabilitation and the two began their treks to Troy together.
“It is very different and very unexpected,” Kissinger said of participating in the rehabilitation program with her daughter.
They try to work out on the same type of equipment at the same time so they can compare progress. “We have so much fun,” Seman said.
Kissinger is taking some time away from the rehab program to address another health issue but hopes to return along with Seman.
They enjoy the roominess of the new rehabilitation center’s larger amount of space as well as the windows from which they can watch the geese that visit the pond.
“Those windows and pond are so beautiful,” Seman said. “I love it here. The people here are just awesome. It doesn’t feel like something I have to do. It is something I want to do.”
Women may not identify their initial symptoms as a sign of heart disease and might not seek medical advice promptly, Hoying said. “Women with heart disease are generally 10 years older than men at time of presentation and carry a greater burden of risk factors,” she said. “However, women younger than age 45 also develop heart disease.’
Hoying said she often sees numerous family members with similar cardiac issues. “There can be a family connection (including mother/daughter) when it comes to coronary artery/vascular disease. A variety of lifestyle factors impact the risk of CVD,” including diet, smoking, and sedentary lifestyle, she said.
To learn more about cardiac and pulmonary rehab at UVMC, call 937-440-4675.