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From the hospital bed to the finish line


Last November, life took on new meaning for Knob Noster resident Kevin Butler. Though he did not have a history of health complications, Butler experienced at age 62 a sudden heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery.

“My life was normal,” Butler said. “I didn’t have any health issues or take medication for anything. I thought I was in relatively good health.”

The recovery process included frequent and intensive work with Bothwell Cardiac Rehabilitation. The program that Bothwell offers is a four-phase, medically supervised exercise therapy program designed to help patients return to a productive life by improving their health through physical activity.

“I just graduated from Cardiac Rehab phase two, which is an outpatient monitored program and have moved onto phase three, a more independent exercise and activity program,” Butler said.

It is important to participate in daily exercise after suffering from heart health complications to reduce the risk of another event taking place. Regular exercise can aid in recovery, restore physical function and reduce stress.

Butler recognized this and took on the challenge of participating in the Bothwell Foundation’s Lub Dub 5K/10K Walk/Run just six months after surgery. With a team of care providers, he was able to prepare in the months leading up to the event. On April 29, Butler completed his first 5K, alongside his 11-year-old granddaughter Mattie Kate, in a “respectable 54 minutes.”

“I realized how far I had come in the past six months,” Butler said. “It was a goal I knew I needed to meet.”

When asked if he plans to participate in more 5K walks in the future, Butler didn’t skip a beat before saying yes.

“Now that we completed one, Mattie Kate wants to participate in other events in an effort to beat our time,” Butler said. “My daughter just walked in her first 5K and beat our time by 14 seconds. Everything is a competition in our family.”

Butler gives praise and appreciation to Bothwell’s Cardiac Rehab team and their ability to not only walk him through the long recovery process but also prepare him for a 5K just months after his heart attack.

“The Cardiac Rehab team at Bothwell is amazing,” Butler said. “I know I can ask them anything and they will either get me the answer or help me find it. I am grateful for their constant care and monitoring throughout the program.

Butler’s biggest piece of advice, whether someone suffers from health issues or not, is to pay attention to your body.

“Listen and watch for the warning signs and take care of yourself,” he said. “Also, don’t be afraid to get regular checkups and ask your provider questions. Just because you’re not having issues doesn’t mean there might not be a problem.”