The recovery process had started. The transplant program focused on a fast rehabilitation process, with lots of vigorous conditioning, preventing the body from getting used to being in bed and keeping his new lungs in the shape they were in before transplant. He was sitting up in bed just two days after surgery and out of bed within five. He took his first walk around the ward on day six.
On January 30, 2013, he got to go home. Well, almost home anyway. He had to do a minimum of twelve weeks of pulmonary rehab five days a week and numerous followup appointments and biopsies to ensure that his body wasn’t rejecting his new organs. So they had to continue living in St Louis for that time. He was still on oxygen for a short while as his lungs got used to their new body but was soon without it.
My dad had found a new youth that I hadn’t ever seen before. He felt better than he had since his high school days. He even skinned his knees running, racing my brothers across a parking lot. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw my dad run like that. He was able to occupy his time waiting doing fun things, things that he hadn’t been able to do before because he couldn’t breathe. He was a whole new person.