Now my recovery has moved into the dull, repetitive, gym phase. I am dutifully going to cardiac rehab three times a week, taking the helpful courses, and working on strength training, which I have long neglected.
I have some observations. The people who show up are in very bad shape. They probably haven't exercized at all in their lives. This belief of the staff I learned when I offered to clean the chains on the rowing machines. The chains are rusty and probably haven't ever been lubed. I found this out when talking to one of the male staff, one of the guys who have taken on the task of keeping the exercise machines operating. He declined my offer, making it very clear that he was medical staff and not running a gym and that customers shouldn't be doing maintenance (although we are supposed to wipe down our sweat and hand germs when we finish on a machine).
The theme of us vs. them showed up in a New Yorker article by Adam Gopnick on Howard S. Becker, the sociologist/ piano player/ dope smoker and observer of how deviant 'outsider' groups do the same things as high-status 'insider' groups, only the insiders don't get studied. Jazz musicians talk about how they disdain the audience who might ask them to play Melancholy Baby. But nurses don't usually talk about how they disdain their patients. Now I understand how breaking the barrier of us-professionals vs. them-patients by trying to work as a team, might cause some tension. My own frustration at losing my competence -- aided by an anti-seizure drug that enhances crabbiness -- might bounce off the in-group / out-group barriers.
Even my case manager bristled when I sent a message to the hospital's electronic message system asking a question which she thought I should have asked her directly. What was it, now? Oh, about how she deals with angry patients.
Maybe my grumpiness is a sign of recovery. Probably not.
It seems to me that grumpy old men are common at cardiac rehab. I wonder if the ASEBA Older Adult Behavior Checklist Irritable/Disinhibited (Grumpy Old Man) Scale would predict success in rehab or even the likelihood of getting a hear attack in the first place.
The exception to the truism: There are plenty of athletes at cardiac rehap. One biker who rode the MS150. Another runner whose knees are not letting him run much. A guy who looks to be fit who talks about GMOs.