Transplant Recovery: Day 2 and 3


On Day 2 (Sunday), Maddie was extubated, meaning they took the breathing ventilation tube from her throat and mouth so she could begin breathing unassisted, first with oxygen in a nasal cannula and then completely on her own with room air.  One out of the four chest tubes for lung fluid drainage was removed.  Two IVs were removed from her right arm. She began drinking and eating again.

On Day 3 (Monday), they removed the second to last chest tube, she walked around the ICU hallway a bit, and they talked about moving her to the regular Cardiac floor sometime this week.

Medically speaking, Maddie is doing amazingly well recovering.

Psychologically speaking, the last two days have been our own private version of Hell.

If you haven’t heard me say this before, I’ll say it again. Maddie is a fighter. And by fighter I don’t mean she is tough and takes what’s given to her like a champ, though she is both of those things. What I mean is, quite literally, Maddie DOES NOT GIVE UP. On anything. Not ever. Period.

This attribute, combined with heavy painkillers and the slurred speech of one coming out of said medications, makes for an extremely irrational 6-year-old.

Oh, you want chicken noodle soup, extra, extra hot from the microwave? Boiling. Great! But you want to feed yourself? No, your hands and arms aren’t fully functional after coming off the strong sedatives used while intubated so I need to feed you. No, you may not do it yourself. No, thrashing around and trying to scratch out my throat will not enable you to do it yourself today. Eat the soup while it’s still hot. Oh, now it’s too cold because you’ve spent the last 10 minutes screaming that you have to feed yourself and you want our kind, patient nurse to heat it up for you again? Sure. Just remember that I’m the one who’s going to feed it to you today. No, screaming will not change that fact. Why don’t you just let the morphine, and Benadryl, and Ativan do their jobs and fall asleep like I can see your eyes want you to do. Oh, you’re not tired. You want to watch the Jim Carey version of The Grinch again but you missed the last part because you keep dozing off, so you want to start it over? Okay, you’ve watched the first 2 minutes ten times now, should we wait until after you’ve taken a nap to watch it? No, you want to start it over again because you missed the last 20 seconds of the beginning that you’ve now seen 30 times? And you want to be the one controlling the keyboard even though your hand is completely unsteady and keeps missing the button? 

Repeated for 6 hours.

Yes, I’m grateful that she is so strong-willed and stubborn. Yes, I’m grateful that she pushes on despite what most would find to be debilitating circumstances. Yes, I know that these qualities will continue to serve her well into adulthood. But GOOD GRACIOUS ALMIGHTY! May the effects of these medications quickly wear off so that we can at least return a little reason to the conversation?

She is good. She is strong. She is doing well.

She is a fighter. With the love of those around her and the prayers and well-wishes of the many who have offered support, we will get through these hard days.

I’m just thankful that these experiences happen in a world where there is dark chocolate.

8 thoughts on “Transplant Recovery: Day 2 and 3”

  1. You are such a gifted writer and do such a wonderful job of recording Maddie’s and your family’s experience. Your faith, your courage, and your perseverance are such an inspiration. When my sister was in a coma for several months, my Mom would say, “You don’t take one day at a time, you take one breath at a time.” I imagine that’s about where you’re at. May the angels gather ’round and bear you up. Sending love and best wishes.

  2. Jeannie! I haven’t been on facebook for a while, but just jumped back on as I heard about Maddie’s heart transplant! Definitely want you to know that I love you and your family and am thinking of you! Sounds like a crazy whirlwind ride. You get the supermom award for the DECADE. Wish I could be there to give hugs and bring you ridiculous amounts of dove chocolates. xoxox…

  3. I need to bring you some more chocolate. It would be better not to bring all my kiddos into the hospital though. If you are still in need when school gets back in session, I will bring you a stash!

  4. Oh, Jeannie, personal hells are the absolute worst! I am so sorry friend. Mental exhaustion like you are facing {not to mention the physical and emotional exhaustion added in as well!} is excruciatingly painful. Hang in there, we are praying for you as well – praying that you will have abundant strength, peace and power beyond your own.

    I am grateful, though, that Maddie is physically recovering so rapidly – that is another miracle in and of itself.

    Thank goodness the world has dark chocolate – it is a calming and soothing influence in my life as well!


  5. I don’t think you can get any deeper into the trenches of motherhood than this. I can only imagine the army of angels about you!

  6. To Maddie and her family…I am good friend of Peggy’s and celebrated my 10-year heart transplant birthday on November 22nd of this year. I am well, strong and look forward for many, many more years with my beautiful family. Like all of you, I am tremendously grateful for the gift of my new heart. My wish for you, Maddie, is years of healthful happiness and a life of love you will share with your family.

  7. Having raised an irrational stubborn child or two I can tell you now that you need to remind yourself that the thins that drive you nuts as a mom are the things you will be grateful for later…strong willed children don’t follow the crowd they lead it!

  8. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago after doing some research. We found out a few weeks ago that our unborn baby has a severe and very complicated form of hypo plastic left heart syndrome and some heterodoxy (not sure the severity of it yet though). I’m also LDS. I’ve been reading your blog posts about Maddie and her medical issues. I know all the cases are all very different but I just wanted to say that I’ve been touched by reading. I truly feel like it was something divine that lead me to your blog. It is such a blessing to have the gospel all the time, but especially in these times. I hope and pray that Maddie is still doing okay. And if she isn’t, I pray for peace to be with you and your family.

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