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Thanks to rehab, Denny is blooming again.

Denny with rehab therapists, Emily and Stacy.

The first week after open heart surgery was physically and mentally challenging for 74-year-old Denny Bleess. As he looked out his window at the seven backyard flower gardens covered in snow, he told his wife they would have to sell their house, “I’ll never be able to keep up with this gardening.” She responded, “Just wait.”

Earlier that fall, Denny had scheduled a screening with his Alomere cardiologist—even though he felt fine. He did it because his brother recently had heart surgery and they learned that heart disease ran in their family. Denny was glad he scheduled that screening. It revealed four blocked arteries. “I couldn’t believe it!”

One week after his surgery, Denny was back at Alomere receiving rehab three days a week for 36 sessions. “I always start out with the treadmill. It was hard first couple of times. There was this younger guy there, a 57-year old. I’m competitive, so I was going as fast as him. The therapists would tell me to, ‘Slow down, Denny. It’s not a race.’ I’d say, ‘No pain, no gain.’ ‘Not here there ain’t,'” they’d say, recalls Denny. “I’d do bicycling and the elliptical. We’d do the arm machine and I’d lift weights. I started with three pounds and I got up to six pounds pretty quickly.”

Denny did get back to tending his flower gardens. That spring, he returned to rehab to deliver a bouquet of his tulips to the therapists.

Those ladies down there are awesome! They're always smiling and talkative. I looked forward to coming every day. I'd gone longer if they'd let me.

Denny Bleess, Cardiac Rehab Patient

Much more active now, Denny rides his bicycle and can spend the whole day in the garden. At the end of the day, he and his wife sit on the patio and look out over the flowers—thankful to be doing what he loves. “Life is good.”

If you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, talk with your doctor about yearly screenings. Curious about Alomere’s cardiopulmonary services? Click here to learn more.