Lung transplant recipient gets green light to leave Texas hospital
HOUSTON - Jordan Peterson was resting comfortably Thursday night at a hospital here after a brief scare a day earlier, and the 10-year-old with a new set of lungs got some terrific news: He'll be leaving today.
Jordan, who received a double lung transplant last week, was sent back to the operating room Wednesday at Texas Children's Hospital. But once surgeons discovered it was just mucus in his lungs, they gave the Fargo boy the green light to leave the hospital.
His transplant doctor says he'll be sleeping in the family's RV on Friday evening.
Jordan's father, Dan, said it was scary for the family, but the news provided relief.
"The lungs look great. They are healing quickly," Dan Peterson said Thursday. "Everything is looking great. We are going to give it a go tomorrow."
The Petersons have been living in the RV for the past eight months after selling their house in Fargo. They will stay in Houston for a few months so Jordan can go in frequently for tests and checkups.
Dan and Annette Peterson, along with Jordan and his 8-year-old brother, Jesse, set up camp here because Texas Children's Hospital was the only medical center that would take Jordan. He would either leave here with new lungs or be remembered as the boy who fought and never gave up.
The Petersons say their son's ordeal has taught them so much about living.
"Just to be able to hear those deep breaths, and know that he has been given a second chance at a longer life," Annette Peterson said.
Jordan, too, knows the value of life.
"It is a lot easier to breathe, and I feel like I am taking easier and deeper breaths," he said Thursday.
The family has also learned a lesson from downsizing and living in the RV.
"The important things in life are not the stuff. ... We can survive in this; we don't need all that. And it has been wonderful to know that, and we learned an awful lot from that little guy (Jordan). An awful lot. "
They all look forward to simple things.
"To run around again, just run around, he had no stamina for it," Jordan's mother said. "To be a kid. Be a kid. Nice for him to be a kid again."
Not a moment goes by that the Petersons do not pause to think of the gift given by that mother and father who had to say goodbye to a child -- and chose to give life to Jordan.
"I think that that living flesh, his lungs that has made this big difference, came from a gift in a time of great tragedy. You are overwhelmed with thanks and gratitude," Dan Pederson said.
"(Jordan) has taught us perspective. When you think about when we would get down, we would think about that donor family. We have another day."
Someone who is certainly looking to another day with Jordan is little brother Jesse.
"I am happy," the 8-year-old said about the news that Jordan will rejoin the family in the RV. "It is like I am going to have a new brother when he gets out, because he can run, and I say it is worth the scar."
Even if it means sharing their little bedroom, which Jesse has had to himself for days.
"My brother sleeps there, I sleep there," Jesse said as he pointed out the living quarters. "I actually like having my brother in the room because I have something to do."
The owners and other residents of the RV resort have become like family for the Petersons -- checking on Jesse if he is briefly left on his own -- all of them knowing brother Jordan's story.
Jesse is already making plans for contact sports with his brother.
"Hockey and play football," he said.
For Dan and Annette Peterson, it was Jordan who has stood out throughout the family's ordeal, as the young life philosopher.
"You never give up, and take each day you are given as a gift," Dan Peterson said.
Said his mother, "Words, there are no words. He means the world to us."