A Tribute to Joplin’s St. John’s Hospital Pulmonary Rehabilitation

The Joplin tornado of May 22, 2011 brought to an end my regular trips to pulmonary rehab on the ninth floor of Joplin’s St John’s Hospital. I began attending this pulmonary rehab on August 12, 2000 and have continued three times a week through May 21, 2011, the day before the destructive tornado. I did have a break of six months while I was in St. Louis attending rehab at Barnes Jewish Hospital where I had a double lung transplant on June 15, 2004.


I had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a deadly disease, which has no known cause and no known cure. A lung transplant is the only way to survive this disease. Exercising at St. John’s pulmonary rehab contributed greatly to my surviving long enough to receive a lung transplant. Since returning home in October, 2004, I have faithfully continued my exercise program at St. John’s. This program has been a major player in enabling me to maintain relative good health in these seven years since my transplant.


I want to express my appreciation to the respiratory therapists, Christine Barnes, director, and her assistant, Tina Williams, and other therapists. They have conducted themselves in a professional yet personal manner. They are competent, friendly, and encouraging. Over the last almost eleven years I have seen many people greatly improved by participating in pulmonary rehab.


St. John’s Pulmonary Rehab has made a significant contribution to my life and I am grateful. I do not know what the future holds for St. John’s. I did not want to lose the well-being I have gained so I wanted to continue in an exercise program. On June 6, 2011, I will begin physical therapy for my pulmonary health at McCune Brooks Hospital in Carthage, Missouri. After one week I was dismissed from the program because McCune Brooks does not provide maintenance. As of June 23, 2011 I am going to pulmonary rehab at Via Christi Health in Pittsburg, Kansas.

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