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Background Image: Cardiac Rehab Patient

Jon Erwin grew up in northeastern Oregon, and that’s also where he plans to spend most of his time when he retires. For Jon, 1977 was a big year - he graduated from Oregon State University in civil engineering, moved to Lebanon and married his wife Connie. Jon enjoys the outdoors, hunting, fishing and raising a few head of cattle. Despite his active lifestyle, he has struggled with his weight and had a heart attack in the late ‘90s.

Recently on New Year’s Eve, as Jon and Connie were ringing in 2016, he knew something was not right. Jon was having pain across his low chest, and eventually found himself in the emergency department at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital.

Jon went from the emergency department to the intensive care unit where he learned that he was suffering from multiple pulmonary embolisms, a condition where the arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot. He also had clots in his lower legs. Fortunately, his local care team had access to all of Jon’s medical records and was in close contact with his cardiologist at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis.

When he was ready to start the recovery process, Jon’s first thought was that cardiac rehabilitation wasn’t for him. However, by April of 2016 Jon had begun to see the benefits of the closely monitored, supportive environment and he was sold. He was participating three days per week, spending an hour on the elliptical and gradually improving his heart function. Jon also lost 50 pounds and was shocked to learn that he no longer had atrial fibrillation, a condition where the heart beats irregularly.

For Jon, the caregivers and other participants in the cardiac rehabilitation program are really what have kept him going.

“The people are tremendous. It’s like a family,” he explained. “We even had a special Thanksgiving dinner together – with healthy foods, of course.”

Jon looks forward to catching up with everyone and appreciates the wide range of people, from all walks of life, with a common goal of improving their health and establishing healthy behaviors.

As an engineer, Jon is fascinated by tracking his improvement and test results via the online electronic health record MyChart. He also uses MyChart to manage prescriptions, physician communications and other important aspects of his health care.

“When I started, my heart function was 20 percent, now it is 45 percent,” he said.

Connie retired this spring after working 47 years at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. Jon beams about the house that they have built in northeastern Oregon and the wildlife he and Connie enjoy on their trips there. He looks forward to watching his young granddaughters participate in sports competitions. And, of course, he looks forward to keeping up with his daily workouts.