It was the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend 2016, and Mark Borten was not feeling right. “I slept on the couch that night since I was having major discomfort in my upper chest, right palm and the tip of my ring finger,” he said.
Mark knew something was not right, but never thought he was having a heart attack. “Now I look back, and I was having these symptoms weeks before it happened.”
Still not feeling well, his wife took him to the urgent care center not far from their home in Merrick. There, Mark was given an EKG which showed some heart abnormalities and his blood pressure was 260/130. The urgent care staff immediately advised him to go to an emergency room.
Upon his arrival at South Nassau’s Emergency Department, he was transferred to the cardiac catheterization floor for monitoring, and spent Memorial Day weekend through June 2nd in the hospital. During his stay, it was determined he had experienced a minor heart attack and needed to have an angioplasty and two stents inserted to unclog blocked arteries. Dr. Jason Freeman, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Director of Interventional Cardiology and Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at South Nassau, performed the procedure on Mark, and by June 2nd, 2016, he was released from the hospital and off to start cardiac rehabilitation at South Nassau’s Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Center, located at 440 Merrick Rd. in Oceanside.
“At first, I didn’t want to go to rehab, I was reluctant as I had no idea what I was in for,” said Mark. “I was not sure what they were going to make me do. I was afraid they were going to push me too hard, too soon.” But all his fears were alleviated on day one of cardiac rehab upon meeting his rehabilitation team – exercise physiologists Arthur, Michael, Dan, and Nicole and nurse’s Lori, Delores, and Mary, who were by his side every single minute of every single session at the center. “These are caring, dedicated and diligent professionals that will guide you through your rehab,” says Mark. “They start you out gradually and you steadily progress at your own pace, improving week to week. They also observe everything you do; there is always a registered nurse monitoring you while you are there.”
Today, having completed the prescribed 36 sessions of rehabilitation, Mark’s heart is fully recovered, and filled with gratitude and encouragement. “I had a very positive experience at cardiac rehab and highly recommend the program to anyone. It had a profound effect on me, I saw people who were significantly worse off than I was get better, and go on to live productive lives.”