“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.”
As someone who has gotten to know Mad and Jim well over the past few weeks shared with Colleen on her visit to Pittsburgh, you really have no idea what those words mean when you say them, or what the future holds. But Jim and Madeline live those words every day. “They really are the epitome of marriage,” he said.
Forty-four years ago today, they said, “I do,” but their story begins long before that. First as neighborhood playmates at ages 5 and 6, then as high school sweethearts. After Jim graduated from college and Mad was still in school, he was stationed first in Germany and then Vietnam. When he finally returned they were married in their childhood parish, St. Augustine’s in Providence, RI.
They both worked hard - for the community and for their families. For the most part, Madeline took care of things at home while Jim built his law practice. Until recently, she used to joke, “Jim, do you even know where the kitchen is?” That has all changed. He now makes her coffee and her sandwiches exactly the way she likes them. He even bought himself a cookbook! (So far, he’s attempted the recipe for scrambled eggs. Stay tuned for further developments.)
They’ve been the perfect team -- officially now for 44 years.
Colleen and Mike have always known that their parents were extraordinary role models. And to reinforce what they already knew, others frequently remarked to them about the amazing strength and love behind Madeline and Jim’s relationship -- comments that have been made much more frequently over the past few years.
Jim & Mad, you inspire us all. Happy 44th anniversary to an absolutely amazing couple!
Madeline and Jim welcomed the first visitor to their temporary home in Pittsburgh this week when their daughter, Colleen, flew out from Rhode Island. Here are a few quick highlights and observations from her trip:
Madeline and Jim have been in Pittsburgh now for just over three weeks, and they’re doing a whole lot of… waiting. Now that they’re situated near UPMC and are officially “active” on the lung transplant list, their biggest and most important job is to wait for the call that a pair of lungs is available.
In the meantime, Madeline’s doctors have her on a twice-a-week regime of pulmonary rehab. It’s a good distraction that gets Mad and Jim out of the house every Tuesday and Thursday morning and keeps Jim busy in "retirement." (Well, it gets him away from his new work life as a telecommuter, anyway)
But it’s also much more than that.
Increased physical activity now, before the transplant, will help Madeline gain strength that will be much needed to help in her recovery. Over the last couple years, Madeline’s physical activity has been severely restricted by her lack of oxygen intake, causing her to lose some of her strength. To compensate for her lack of oxygen and help her gain that strength back, she wears an oxygen mask during her rehab sessions. A heavy flow of oxygen through a mask – which ensures that more of the air makes it to Madeline’s lungs – enables her to do more physical activity than she’d be able to do otherwise.
The 90 minute rehab sessions consist of a number of exercises, such as riding a stationary bike and taking walks through the halls of the hospital. In just a couple weeks, Madeline’s been able to increase her physical activity slightly – like walking 30 feet before resting instead of 10 – but every little bit helps!
And as always, Madeline is doing all this with a smile on her face! Here she is on one of her “journeys” down the hall.
As often as possible, we'll try to update this page to let you know how Madeline is doing and where she is in her fight for new lungs. Visit often!