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.