Courses get to the heart of the matter

Island Heart to Heart provides a series of two-hour classes on living with heart disease

Chuck Pusateri stands outside the Hillside Seniors Health Centre

When Chuck Pusateri had a heart attack, questions whirled through his brain.

The 41-year-old father of three had no health problems when the heart attack struck, leaving him wondering about changing his diet and how he exercised, how he could reduce stress, whether he should change jobs and just how much longer was his life going to be.

“There was just a whole myriad of things that went through my head.”

Pusateri found many of the answers through Island Heart to Heart, an organization he’s still associated with 22 years later.

“In fact, I did change jobs to some extent and I did start exercising differently and I did  start looking at food differently. I sort of started a journey over the last 22 years,” said the Saanich resident.

Island Heart To Heart operates out of the Hillside Seniors Health Centre attached to the Aberdeen Hospital, passing along information on the program to cardiac patients at Island hospitals.

“We know that there’s a lot of people who are missed because we don’t get to them in hospital or they don’t hear about it from their doctor so we’re trying to go out to the public and let them know it’s there,” said Pusateri, a director with Island Heart To Heart.

The program hosts a series of seven two-hour classes, offered 10 times a year. The classes feature talks from cardiologists, pharmacists, dieticians and others to help provide insight on living with heart disease.

“People learn things to help themselves,” said Pusateri, who underwent his third heart surgery back in October.

“After five days you leave the hospital and the hospital is very proud to have got you out in five days. But then you get home and you have a recovery – sometimes a long, painful recovery – and you start to look at, what do I do with the rest of my life, what’s the rest of my life going to be like, what can I do to help myself so that I never have to go through that again?”

Pusateri said the courses provide skills and coping mechanisms as well as answers to many of their questions.

“Some people have never done any physical activity, they don’t know one side of a rec centre from another,” he said. “How to eat, they’ve been eating the same way for 50 years, how do they become vegetarian? It’s just beyond them. But we kind of get them started through these classes, to pick out some things they can do to change their lives a little bit.”

He said the class of 30 or so people is also likely the first time many have been in a roomful of others who understood what they were going through.

The course costs $40 for an individual and $60 for a couple for the seven sessions.

“It’s not just for people that have had a heart problem,” said Pusateri. “We have some people in the class who know they have a family history of it and are trying to prevent a heart attack.”

 

For more information on the program, visit the website www.islandhearttoheart.ca.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langford boy wakes up from surgery to find stuffed puppy wearing the same cast

Hospital staff outfitted ‘Eddy’ the puppy to match the young patient

VIDEO: Annual artist studio tour goes virtual on Saanich Peninsula

ArtSea converts popular event to online format with personalized artist videos

Local Flavour: Youth take the lead in Victoria’s Pollinator Leadership Team

Guest writer Thompson Hygge, summer intern with Pollinator Partnership Canada

Flyover at B.C. Leg to commemorate National Peacekeepers’ Day

August 9 marks biggest single day loss of Canadian lives from peace operations

UVic political scientist wants B.C. pulp mills to help produce masks, gowns

Claire Cutler says Canada needs to become self-sufficient when manufacturing PPE

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read