September 29, 2010
Last summer Richard Schneider checked the last box on his “50 United States to Visit List” when he, along with his whole family, landed in Hawaii. In the last nine years he also visited Alaska and the Grand Canyon, saw his first grandchild graduate from high school, and spoiled his six grandchildren with frequent telephone calls and handfuls of spice drops.
“He lived those extra nine years to the fullest,” says Regene Newman, his eldest of three daughters.
Richard had a lung transplant at Barnes-Jewish Hospital nine years ago. Regene and her younger twin sisters are eternally grateful for the extra time they had with their dad.
“During my whole life, he was always there. Every moment, every event. There isn’t one extraordinary thing that stands out—just that he was always there. I don’t think people understand what a gift it is to have your parent just there being your parent your whole life,” says Regene.
When Richard’s pulmonologist told him he needed a lung transplant, he immediately recommended Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Richard was apprehensive about having the transplant. But after much persuasion from his wife and three daughters, Richard, a resident of Indiana, visited St. Louis and toured the Transplant Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
After his visit he knew it was the right place for his transplant. For the next two years, Richard devoted time each day to driving himself to the YMCA so that he would be healthy when his new lung was ready for him. When that day came, Regene, her mom and two sisters all came to St. Louis with him.
“All the nurses were so nice. Everything turned out so well and my dad had no complications,” says Regene.
Regene’s mother and father stayed in housing provided by Barnes-Jewish Hospital for six weeks after the transplant while Richard completed the necessary posttransplant physical therapy in the Transplant Center. During those six weeks Richard found friends in the other post-transplant patients and his Transplant Coordinator, Carol Miller.*