Being on a ventilator for almost 3 months, the doctors were surprised that her heart remained strong. Despite the fact that her medical crisis began with a severely suppressed immune system whereby she became the statistic who developed a life-threatening secondary infection, a part of her was strong enough to fight her way through.
At one point, Nava had eight chest tubes as her lungs kept popping holes. They were that fragile.
The doctors were worried about her heart giving way at any point while in a coma on the respirator. Upon hearing of Nava’s years of exercise and walking, they felt that her cardiovascular fitness was a big plus in a heart that continued to beat.
Years ago, I decided Nava needed to do something more than simply the physical therapy she received at school. So I took her to the local gym and enrolled her with a personal trainer.
At home, I was very frustrated with her couch potato life-style. I figured that instead of sitting for hours at a time vegging out in front of the boob-tube, she could at least be walking some of that time while watching TV. And so the treadmill entered our lives.
Walking on the treadmill became a part of Nava’s daily routine; and to this day she continues to walk one hour a day. She holds onto the handrails for balance and walks at a brisk pace of 4.5 miles-per-hour. She now also incorporates interval training for weight control.
By the time she got critically ill, Nava had been engaged in this exercise routine of cardio and strength–building, using machines and weights, for about 5 years.
It didn’t prevent her from getting sick, but it may have contributed to her miraculous survival.
When she finally began walking at the rehab hospital, first with a walker and then with a cane, the popular comment of encouragement from the staff was, “you’ll be back on that treadmill soon.”
And so she was, after her one year hospitalization.
Moral of the story: start exercising; it could save your life.