After heart transplant, 5-year-old Greenville girl happy to be home

Greenville NewsJune 20, 2014 

A climb through the play house on a sunny summer day, maybe a camping trip, and just snuggling together in the sofa at home.

Now that Natalie Davis is back in Greenville seven weeks after a heart transplant, her family is breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to those and other normal activities away from hospitals and tests.

“It’s just really good to get home,” Jane Davis told The Greenville News on Thursday. “We slept like logs last night.”

The bubbly 5-year-old underwent a heart transplant on May 3 at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston after being diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition in January.

In the early days after the surgery, her parents kept vigil in the hospital. And during her recovery, the many cards from strangers and friends alike lifted the little girl’s spirits.

Since her release from the hospital 11 days after the transplant, the family has been staying in Charleston close to the hospital as doctors continued to monitor Natalie’s condition.

They returned home Wednesday night, grateful to be able to sleep in their own beds.

“I can’t believe we’re home,” Jane Davis said. “We’re just so happy.”

The journey isn’t over yet. Natalie will still need blood work here in Greenville and some physical therapy, too, she said.

But she doesn’t have to go back to Charleston for another biopsy, which is done to determine whether her body is rejecting the heart, until July 1, she said.

“If that’s good, we may be able to wait a month before the next one,” Davis said. “Then it’ll be once a month, and then every three months, and it widens to six months.”

There have been no signs of rejection so far, she said. And Natalie is growing stronger every day.

“She’s doing really well, getting good color and more energy,” she said. “She’s gained some weight. And she’s playing tag and having a good time.

“To see her today,” she added, “it’s just like night and day from before the transplant.”

Davis confesses that leaving the security of the hospital and medical staff left her feeling anxious at first. They still need to keep an eye on Natalie for any signs of rejection or infection, which could send her to the hospital.

But once they got in the door, she said, those jitters evaporated.

For their first breakfast home, they enjoyed bacon, eggs and apple sauce, she said. And a family celebration was scheduled for later in the day.

“It’s funny how everything seems so in the distance now,” Davis said. “It all happened so fast.”

Now that they’re back in the comfort of their own home, the family just hopes to unwind and enjoy every day.

“We’re just pleased as we can be,” Davis said. “We feel like the most blessed people in the world.”

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