James “Daryl” Reed, 58, of Brunswick, Ga., is a role model
as to what’s possible for many patients attending pulmonary rehabilitation
on the Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick Campus. It wasn’t
that long ago that he was teetering between life and death.
After being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD,
in 2011, Mr. Reed was extremely deconditioned. Walking to town to pay
his bills, or routine chores such as cutting the grass, became impossible.
His health deteriorated even further when he suffered a ruptured colon
and a collapsed lung, and was in a coma.
“But Dr. Sudduth believed I had a chance,” says Mr. Reed of
board-certified pulmonologist C. David Sudduth, M.D., Southeast Georgia
Physician Associates-Pulmonary Medicine, a strategic affiliate of the
Mr. Reed began his journey from merely surviving to fully living again
when he started pulmonary rehabilitation in January 2016. Being on oxygen
24/7, Mr. Reed didn’t initially think he could do the exercises.
Terri Mauldin, R.N., CCRN, says that isn’t uncommon among new patients.
“The hardest thing for people to believe when they are tired and
sick is that they have to exercise in order to feel better.”
But Mr. Reed learned he could do it, and credits the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation
team with inspiring him to stick with it. “When you come here, they
give you their undivided attention and treat you like you are the only
person here,” he says.
And stick with it he has. After completing his medically prescribed phase
II outpatient program (phase I is for inpatients) last April, Mr. Reed
opted to continue with the phase III maintenance program. Now he works
out twice a week and is only on oxygen while exercising and sleeping.
Mr. Reed says he has built his body back up. “It feels great to be
off oxygen all the time, to have stayed out of the hospital and to be
getting out of the house regularly,” he adds. Another example of
how far he has come: he recently cooked a meal to share with his pulmonary
“The bonds that form between our patients are amazing,” notes
Ms. Mauldin. “Their health brings them together and connects them
in a way they wouldn’t otherwise experience given their lives don’t
intersect every day.”