Before improving his health, Don Siddons loved slathering butter on everything he ate and needed a cane to walk.
He was suffering from pain in his hips and his family doctor, Dr. Don Korzenowski, at Mill Woods Family Clinic first suggested taking cortisone injections. When the injections didn’t work, Dr. Korzenowski recommended physical therapy and that in turn lead to enrolling in the Supervised Transitional Exercise Program (STEP Forward) offered through Alberta Health Services Allied Healt – Edmonton Zone at the Central Lions Seniors Recreation Centre, an eight week program.
Don, 76 at the time, found exercise helped and continued looking for other programs. He registered in the Corrective Exercise class through the Rehabilitation Outreach Program at Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
Another referral from Dr. Korezenowski introduced Don to Rhiannon Quintilio, a registered dietitian from Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network (PCN).
“I was never a fast food person. However, for supper, I might slap together an onion cheese sandwich grilled with lots of butter. You can’t believe how much butter I used to use. You almost couldn’t see the bread,” says Don.
With Rhiannon’s guidance, he’s switched to eating more vegetables, doesn’t fry his food and looks for low fat content.
“I watch very closely when I buy food at the store. I read the labels. I never did before. If I do plan some meals, I package them up individually for ahead of time and freeze it for future use,” he adds.
Rhiannon suggested Don register for Moving for Health, an eight-week supervised exercise program at the PCN. Tye Babb, an exercise specialist, and Kate Masters, a primary care nurse, helped him learn more exercises to benefit his health.
They transitioned him to the Terwillegar Recreation Centre where all Moving for Health participants are taught how to be physically active in a gym setting.
“If it wasn’t for these types of exercises, I would be nowhere near where I am. Over the last two years, I have made use of these programs to improve my physical functioning, which has allowed me to move from having to use a cane to being self-sufficient at 78 and I am not going to stop now,” says Don.
He’s lost 40 pounds in the last seven months and is enjoying how good he feels.
His hips still bother him and he realizes there is no permanent cure for his arthritic pain.
“It’s just the case of being mobile through daily physcial activity. You have to get those joints loosened up a bit,” says Don.