Opportunity knocked for Rob Thomson… UHN’s Cardiac Rehab Centre answered

Rob Thomson.
Rob Thomson.

Every now and then opportunity knocks. Sometimes we heed the call, but sometimes we are tone-deaf. Rob Thomson is grateful he was listening and was all-in when the University Health Network’s (UHN) Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program – Rumsey Centre was offered to him. In fact, as Rob commented, “I couldn’t wait to be well enough to immerse myself in the program and take full advantage of everything that was accessible within the centre’s program.”

Rob’s history

Like many active Leasiders, on the May 24, 2018 weekend, Rob was enjoying a long bike ride. He described the aftermath. “Arriving home I experienced some indigestion and pain. Then soon realized the pain wasn’t going away, so I got myself to Sunnybrook Hospital. There, I was told I’d suffered a cardiac event.”

Rob credits the hospital’s quick diagnosis, subsequent medical care and the Rumsey Centre’s cardiac rehab program with restoring him to health after that heart attack six years ago. He’s not alone. According to the UHN’s website, the program graduates 1,800 patients annually.

Describing his experience, Rob said, “I was enrolled in August, just two months after my event and joined a group of about 15 others once a week for six months. During the second half of each of those visits, I was on the track. I wanted to start running right away, but they did a really good job of getting me to start with walking and incrementally get my heart back to a spot where, after the six months, I was able to run comfortably. By the end of the year, not the initial six months, I was up to running seven kilometres.

“I credit my progress to this fantastic program and the team’s knowledge, experience, and their firm yet kind responses, whenever I asked a silly question about what I should or shouldn’t do or eat.”

Rob’s degree in kinesiology made him an excellent choice for learning from the program. “The UHN rehab program was a great refresher and updated my knowledge and commitment to healthful living. The educational part really grounded me around diet, exercise, and other key factors. This helped me get back to feeling healthy and not broken,” he said.

Asked if he ever compromised on the program’s guidelines, Rob smiled. “Oh, I think we all occasionally bend the rules a bit. However, I am very dedicated to my health and wellness and so appreciative of the six months in the program. Plus, after graduating, there is an annual stress test, which is so reassuring.  A member of the clinical team provides the results, offers advice, and we discuss any potential issues. And throughout this journey, my family was so supportive in normalizing the situation.”

A self-confessed private person, Rob mentioned that a persistent Leaside friend encouraged him to share his story, a wise and generous act that may encourage others experiencing pain, to see it as a valuable opportunity, and quickly present their symptoms to a medical professional.

Thanks in great part to the program, Rob is back enjoying full-time work and relishing his regular runs.

About Suzanne Park 62 Articles
Suzanne Park is a leadership and conversation coach and writer who enjoys bringing to the pages of Leaside Life the unique experiences and community contributions of her Leaside neighbours. Her daughter Zhen, a student at Leaside High School, is also a contributor to Leaside Life with a fresh perspective on her community.