Jimmy McClure’s journey to and through BSA cardiac rehab has taken its fair share of twists and turns. He initially began the program in 2010 to help with congestive heart failure. With medication and current treatment, “I just wasn’t getting any better,” Jimmy shares. That is when he met cardiac nurses Theresa King, RN and Susan Hunter, RN. “They are top-notch people. They did everything to help me and encouraged me to get the exercises done. Plus, the education I received - I learned about medicines, food, exercise, and signs to look for when I did start to get a little bit sicker.” He graduated from the program after completing 12 weeks of monitored exercise three times a week.
When Jimmy’s condition worsened, he tried cardiac rehab for a second time, now wearing a cardiac LifeVest, or wearable defibrillator, to help regulate his heart rhythm and help prevent sudden cardiac death. However, his cardiologist recommended that he wait until he received a pacemaker and left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Returning to BSA cardiac rehab to finish the program gave him the added strength and mobility he needed to face his biggest challenge to date.
“I had just about given up that I was going to get the transplant,” Jimmy says of waiting to get a new heart. “I was okay with that. I was still here.” His optimism carried him through 14 months of waiting until he finally received a heart transplant in July of 2013. All the while, his two friends, Theresa and Susan, were just a phone call away. “They are great to call and check on you. Out of the blue they will check on you.”
Following his recovery from surgery, Jimmy returned to cardiac rehab for a third time. He was happy to see Theresa and Susan. “They were kind, but persistent,” he adds. “I went in there with the attitude that I’m going to get better.” When he graduated in October of 2013, he was able to do just that with their help. “The exercise had become a habit. It helped me build on good habits, like what I eat and what I do. They are there to push you and make sure you do something to get better. You’ve got to decide that you want to get better.”
Today, Jimmy says he has traded his sweet tooth for reading food labels and eating a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and the right portion sizes. He joined a gym and makes sure to go five days a week, getting his heart rate up on the treadmill and bike. Today, he encourages others needing help to seek out programs like BSA cardiac rehab. “It’s a very good program - a great resource for someone who has problems that they can get to here in Amarillo,” he says.