Strength of Heart
Calvin Jackson and Joyce, his wife of 33 years, were enjoying a day at
Coney Island with some friends when suddenly Calvin passed out head first
on the boardwalk.
When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics checked Calvin’s vitals
and sugar levels – since he is a diabetic. They determined that
he was okay and he just needed to get something to eat. However, Joyce
insisted that Calvin go to the hospital, so she drove from Coney Island
to Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) in Livingston, an RWJBarnabas
Health facility. After a series of tests, it was determined that Calvin
needed a quadruple bypass.
“I was completely shocked and surprised,” says Calvin, 64,
of Irvington. “Aside from being a diabetic, I thought I was completely
healthy. My weight was right, and I exercised.
After Calvin had the surgery, he began his road to recovery with the help
of SBMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Center.
“I push myself through every workout – if they tell me to do
10 reps, I do 12 – and now I feel stronger than ever,” says
Calvin. “The program is top-notch, and I’d highly recommend
it to anyone with a heart issue.”
In conjunction with his new workout, Calvin met with a dietician to create
a healthy meal plan. His initial diet of barbecue, fried fish and other
high-cholesterol foods has transformed into a diet consisting of salad,
raw vegetables, baked fish and whole grains.
“Eating healthy and going to cardiac rehab has given me a whole new
life. Now, I can do 20 minutes on the workout machines and can lift up
to 30 pounds with weights,” says Calvin. “I’m glad to
still be here, especially since I have a new grandson – I want to
be around for him.”