Mandan Man Breathes Easy After Long-Awaited Lung Transplant | VideoJuli McDonald | 11/4/2011
Hartman`s prayers were answered this summer when he received the gifts he`d long been waiting for: two new lungs.
A man walking on a treadmill may not seem like a big deal, but for Hartman, just the simple act of walking was almost impossible a few months ago.
"I could barely breathe. It was a struggle day in and day out just to keep going," he said. "Couldn`t walk very far before I`d have to stop and catch my breath. It was just panic."
For many of us who breathe easily every day, it`s hard to imagine what that constant panic feels like.
Hartman said, "It was like that asthma commercial where the fish is flopping on the ground gasping for air. That`s how I felt on a daily basis."
Before his transplant, Hartman`s lung function was down to just 9 percent. He spent way more time in the hospital than he did at home.
"We do breathing treatments generally four times a day with a medication that helps keep him breathing. We can do inhaled antibiotics with that too to kind of help battle any infection. We do what we call chest percussions with our hands or a machine that shakes him a little bit to break things loose so he can breathe," explained St. Alexius respiratory therapist Miranda Baumgartner.
But after a long, terrible wait, on July 23 Jason`s life changed. He underwent surgery to get two new lungs, and the gift of a breath of fresh air. Jason recovered for a month before coming home, and now has quite a bucket list to get to.
"I look forward to doing stuff I wasn`t able to do when I was sick. It`s little things you take for granted," added Hartman.
Hartman still goes to St. Alexius for respiratory therapy three times a week. He says words can`t describe what it feels like to breathe again.