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Speare’s Cardiac Rehab Gets to the Heart of the Matter

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Sewing, it’s who Margaret “Peggy” Brown of Rumney is It is what she does . . . her therapy . . .her passion.  Daily she can be found in her sewing nook creating her signature pieces— colorful, reversible fleece vests, jackets and snowsuits for children.  At the same time she may be also piecing together her next “Hope” quilt.  Featuring inspirational word flower blocks, her quilts are quickly becoming as popular as her clothes.

However, things began to unravel for Peggy last December when she couldn’t breathe, let alone sew. Her son brought her to the Emergency Room at Speare Memorial Hospital late one evening.  While her EKG and other testing didn’t indicate any problems, she was kept overnight and scheduled for a stress test in the morning.  As Peggy puts it, “That didn’t work out too well.”

“We did a cardiac stress echocardiogram on Peggy first thing in the morning,” explains Craig Johnson, exercise physiologist.  “She only lasted a couple of minutes on the treadmill, so we stopped the test early but saw significant evidence of cardiac disease.”

Peggy was whisked down to the New England Heart Institute at Catholic Medical Center (CMC) in Manchester where she underwent a six-way cardiac bypass to restore blood flow to her heart.  A month later, she met Craig Johnson and Rachel Kindl again, this time at Speare’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

“A month after her surgery, Peggy was referred to us by her cardiologist from CMC,” says Craig.  “We worked with her and progressed her slowly so that she could get back to her everyday activities and sewing.  After two months she was ready to graduate, but decided to stay with us in our maintenance program.  We provide supervision to give patients like Peggy the confidence they need to design their own program.”

Six months after her surgery, Peggy was back to her sewing just in time for craft fair season. She credits having Cardiac Rehab and the cardiologists from CMC right here at Speare as key to her successful recovery.   “It’s easy to get to,” she says.  “I don’t have to go to Manchester.  I know I can see the cardiologists here at Speare when I need to . . . it’s close to home.”

Speare Memorial Hospital—nationally ranked as Top 100 Critical Access Hospital and 2014 & 2015 HealthStrong™ Hospital— is a 24-hour, acute care, non-profit community hospital and health care provider serving Plymouth and the communities of central New Hampshire. Visit online at and join us on Facebook and Twitter.

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