Heart attack survivors attribute longevity to rehab centerFergus Falls, Minn. - For the past 20 years, Lawrence (Lorney) Pavek and Ken Hovland have been exercising at Lake Region Healthcare’s Cardiac Rehab Center.
By: Wendy Reuer, INFORUM
Fergus Falls, Minn. - For the past 20 years, Lawrence (Lorney) Pavek and Ken Hovland have been exercising at Lake Region Healthcare’s Cardiac Rehab Center.
During that time, they’ve been doing more than strengthening their hearts; they’ve also been building a friendship and a second family.
“It gets to be a family here. They come and go, but we get to know them, and we miss them when they’re not here,” Hovland said of others who pass through the cardiac center’s doors.
Ninety-year-old Hovland is a retired Fergus Falls fire chief. Pavek, 83, retired in 1984 from a Wahpeton, N.D., bank.
“I’ve been retired almost as long as I worked,” Pavek joked.
In 1991, both men suffered severe heart attacks, just months after the cardiac rehab facility opened its doors. They began attending the center to exercise as well as learn about taking care of their hearts.
Through the years, both men have undergone stent placement procedures and had open-heart surgery.
The center and keeping a routine of exercise is what both men now attribute to their longevity.
“I don’t think we would have stuck around very long if it wasn’t for this place,” Hovland said. “It’s kept us going. It’s amazing how much it helps.”
The two men are also occasionally joined at the center by their wives, Karol Pavek and Martha Hovland, who have exercised and learned more about heart disease with their husbands.
“Karol learned a lot; she learned how to cook health-wise,” Pavek said.
Although both men started with a routine of 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, they have now upped that amount to one hour three times a week.
“I can sure feel it if I don’t come for a while,” Hovland said.
Lake Region Healthcare’s Cardiac Rehab Center serves an average of 40 patients from Otter Tail, Wilkin and Grant counties at any given time. It is open to anyone with risk factors for heart disease. Hovland and Pavek were in the first group of patients to join the center.
“They were our 27th and 32nd patients. I still have my original log book,” nurse Nancy Nubson said.
Nubson said Pavek and Hovland are excellent examples of the center’s success as it celebrates its 20th birthday. Along with a place to exercise, the center also offers programs to assist with weight loss, medications, and illness prevention.
“The biggest risk factor for heart attacks is having had a previous heart attack,” Nubson said. “That’s why we encourage on-going diet and exercise regiments for prevention.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530