Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lung transplant patient watches daughter's marriage from hospital bed

By Zac Schultz, Wisconsin

Father Watches Daughter's Wedding From Hospital

Madison, Wisconsin: A Poynette man had to watch his daughter's wedding on a webcam, because he was recovering in the hospital after receiving a new lung last week.

Jerry Ulrich feels like a new man. He's battled Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis for seven years and been on the lung transplant list since spring.

Last Friday night he got the call and rushed to the hospital for the transplant operation. "It happened fast."

The problem was his only daughter, Krista, was getting married in less than a week. "I thought, Oh boy, this is going to screw up the wedding if it goes through," says Jerry.

Jerry couldn't go. But his family set up the next best thing, a webcam in the front row so he could watch from his bed. "I think it does something for Krista and me because you're there in spirit and I'm able to watch the wedding."

Jerry's wife had the honor of walking Krista down the aisle. Jerry's uncle performed the ceremony.

And Jerry had a running commentary, "I can see them very well. She's got a constant smile on her face. I think they're doing the vows. She looks beautiful."

And Krista didn't forget her father was watching. "I think maybe she just waved," said Jerry at one point.

After the ceremony the happy couple and Jerry's wife made a special visit to the hospital. Dad finally got to kiss the bride, and they settled in for a different set of family photos.

Krista says the transplant wasn't a distraction at all, and the Web cam was a suitable fill-in. "It actually made me a little more calm on my wedding day to know that my Dad's going to be ok. It's a great gift, and it's really made my wedding day very special."

As the wedding party headed back to the reception, Jerry settled in for a little more rest, literally breathing easier. "Quite a week," he said.

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