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Cali Owings, Published June 20 2013

Fargo boy progressing after transplant

HOUSTON – Things are progressing quickly for Jordan Peterson, the Fargo 10-year-old who had a long-awaited double-lung transplant here on Tuesday.

Jordan’s new lungs are both fully inflated and he breathes without a ventilator, said Dan Peterson, his father.

Comparatively, Jordan’s recovery is progressing very quickly, Peterson said. A 10-year-old girl in Philadelphia, who has cystic fibrosis like Jordan, had a double-lung transplant last week and is still using a ventilator.

Peterson said doctors are “thrilled” with Jordan’s progress, but they’re dealing with other complications from the transplant.

Though Jordan was able to eat his first solid food on Thursday, his glucose levels shot up afterward. Many who undergo transplant surgery become diabetic through the process because of the drugs that prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs, Peterson said.

Another big challenge is pain management. Doctors needed to cut Jordan’s sternum in half and separate his ribs for the transplant. He also has four chest tubes that can be painful.

Jordan does small exercises such as standing and shifting his weight from foot to foot, but he’s sedated from pain medication.

“When you’re so drugged up, you want to just fall back asleep,” Peterson said. “But when he’s sleeping, he’s healing.”

Jordan had been on a lung transplant list for more than eight months, his father said. The Peterson family temporarily relocated to Houston in October to be close to Texas Children’s Hospital, where the average wait for a set of lungs is four months.

This was Peterson’s fourth attempt at locating a possible donor after three narrow misses.

Five other medical centers passed up using the lungs before Jordan was offered them on Monday, Peterson said.

Today could be another “big step” in Jordan’s recovery, Peterson said. They are planning to remove two of the four tubes from his lungs and can possibly move him from the cardiac intensive care unit to a pediatric unit.

“Tomorrow could be a great day,” Peterson said Thursday.

For more information

Follow along with Jordan’s recovery on his CaringBridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jordanpeterson/journal

Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599