Age Is Just a Number

Age Is Just a Number

Cardiac Rehabiliation Patient 99th Birthday
Even though they make him work, Michael (center) is a big fan of the exercise physiologists in the Cardiac Rehabilitation department at Hendricks Regional Health. “I’ve heard some people talk about stopping their cardiac rehab,” he said. “This team is so good at encouraging them to continue. They are a credit to this hospital and our community for the number of lives they save.”

Michael, Danville, has lived an extraordinary life. Give him an opportunity, and he’ll gladly share his stories. “My friend complained I didn’t get her anything for her birthday,” said Michael. “She was right. I didn’t get her anything because she hadn’t used what I bought for her last birthday.” And what was that gift that had gone unused? “A cemetery plot.”

If you’ve been to Hendricks’ Cardiac Rehabilitation department since Michael started with us three years ago, you’ve likely heard a few of these. He quickly became a favorite with our staff. When they learned he would celebrate his 99th birthday this past January, they worked to make it a special one. They invited patients with whom Michael exercises and treated everyone to lunch and birthday cake.

“I like to think that if I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself,” said Michael. “But I’ve had so much fun here I wouldn’t change anything. I can’t thank this team enough.”

Michael’s journey to Hendricks started in 1993. His wife passed that January. Michael underwent open heart surgery four months later and had five bypasses performed. A few years later, his doctors determined he needed a pacemaker, and he had one placed at Hendricks. Michael’s son suggested he start attending Cardiac Rehabilitation at Hendricks.

“He has great stories to tell,” said Amy Larkin, a Cardiac Rehab Exercise Physiologist who often works with Michael. “We all like hearing them because there aren’t many people with stories like his. My favorites are when they turn into jokes – I love it when he cracks himself up!”

In addition to bragging about his son, granddaughters and great-grandchildren, Michael shares memories of his time serving in World War II. “I graduated from high school on June 6, 1943,” said Michael. “Exactly one year later, I was fighting at Normandy Beach.” Michael served in four more major battles during the war and recalls many good times with his company. “In France, we came across three barrels of wine in a basement. By the time our company commander found us, we were scooping wine off the floor with our helmets.”

Upon reaching his 99th birthday, Michael says one birthday is his most memorable. “In 1950, I got married on my birthday,” he said. “That is my favorite, but celebrating with this Cardiac Rehab team is a close second!”

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