July 2023 edition


Pauline Bryant lives in Wauchope in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales.

She shares her insights and experiences as a 68-year-old cardiac rehabilitation patient and how value based healthcare has empowered her, by helping her to regain the things that matter to her through exercise and education.

Pauline BryantAfter previously visiting two cardiologists, in 2021 I requested an angiogram. The results confirmed the unease that I had been feeling about my health.

I went on the nine-week cardiac rehabilitation program which aims to help patients like me make long-term lifestyle changes to improve their wellbeing and health outcomes, reducing the risk of future heart or stroke events.

The program supports us to have better experiences through counselling and connecting with people in similar situations. The program usually has 10-12 patients in a group with a one-hour exercise session and a one-hour education session per week.

Focusing on the things that matter 

I always had an active lifestyle, enjoying activities like horse polo and gardening in particular.

Years ago I used to play basketball in the NSW competition and I loved the sport.

But about five years ago, I began really not feeling well. I had anxiety and was asking myself ‘Why am I here?’. I didn’t have much energy and wasn’t able to enjoy working outside.

I felt so weak, unable to breathe properly, woke up feeling tired and asking myself was it an age thing? I didn’t know what to expect.

The cardiology staff at Port Macquarie Base Hospital were absolutely sensational, and the cardiology area was a study in time and motion! Now I’m an advocate for the program and encouraging other women to do it.

It’s life changing. I’m definitely getting more fit. I love the exercises and movement and am breathing stronger. I now do 15 minutes warm up before I start.

I’m able to do my gardening on 15 acres and use all the tools and drive the tractor again.

Continuing the conversation

Regular conversations with my health professionals and having continuity of care are terribly important. My doctor can just look up what’s happening with me and doesn’t let things get too far down the line. Having your questions answered and knowing what is happening is as important as the clinical treatment. Specialists and doctors need to listen, not assume. Not all 50- or 60-year-olds are the same.

To others who may be in a similar situation I would say listen to your body and keep chasing what you’re feeling and what you need. Lots of people get scared about going to the doctor and finding out where they are on their health journey. I’d rather know and have the chance to fix an issue than be too late.

Current as at: Monday 17 July 2023
Contact page owner: Strategic Reform and Planning