Thursday, March 05, 2009

tragedy in the little world of Down syndrome-Angel Behind the Rocking Chair

when Ciarra was born, someone very dear to me sent me a copy of the book Angel Behind the Rocking Chair, by Pam Vredevelt. It was the first book I had ever read about DS, and it touched my heart. It was about a little boy named Nathan, who has DS, and the ways he taught them to be closer to God.
Chapter 10 was called "Wanderings" and for any parent of a child with DS who has been labeled an "escape artist" you will know what that chapter is about. In this story, it was about Nathan's constant wandering, and his family's battle to keep him safe. The broader story was about how we all wander from God sometimes. The chapter detailed some humorous, but scary times that nathan wandered off. To a neighbors house, to the snowy front yard, to anywhere his tiny feet could carry him in search of adventure.

Fast forward ten years. Nathan is now a teen, and he loves the Portland Trail Blazers. He is at the Rose Garden with family and friends, and Nathan the wanderer finds a bathroom door locked, and goes looking for another one. somehow, he gets turned around, and ends up outside. For reasons no one will ever know, he tries to cross Interstate 5. This time, there is no one to catch him before danger strikes. Hit by one car, he is hurled headfirst into another. Critically injured. His family, looking for him, hears wors that a young teen has been struck by a car on the highway. With sinking hearts, they know it must be their Nathan.

Nathan Vredevelt is in critical condition at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center. His injuries are extensive, including fractures and massive head trauma. His family is with him. His sister Jessie writes:

Nathan Vredevelt is 16 years old and loved by so many.

Sunday night March 1, 2009, Nathan was struck by a car in Portland, Oregon. Nathan is in critical condition. He sustained broken thighs, pelvis and a head trauma. We are in the waiting game now; waiting for the swelling of his brain to go down before the Doctors can estimate how extensive his injuries are. He's being well cared for by the staff at Emmaunel Hospital and by his family.

We ask that everyone please continue to pray for Nathan and for our family as we navigate this difficult time. For the time being, the hospital is limiting Nathan's visitors to immediate family only.

We set up this site to pass on updates from our family and as a place for people to share their love for Nathan. We look forward to the encouragement we will get from your stories and memories with Nathan. We feel your prayers, your support is overwhelmingly beautiful. Jesus is Lord and he is cradeling Nathan as the Doctors keep him comfortable. God is good and the best is yet to come.

**Update Tuesday, March 3rd 11:26 am

Mom and Dad went home last night and finally got some sleep. Ben, David Dempsy, and Alex Lesser stayed with Nathan through the night, playing the guitar and singing worship songs, I know in my spirit that Nathan was participating in his spirit. I came in to be with Nathan this am at 9 and the boys went to bed. Nathan's wonderful nurse Noel updated me that the pressure in Nathan’s brain had increased from a stable pt.5 to the 30's this am at around 6. They scheduled him for CAT scan later today. They are preparing to take him down now as I am typing this. Good news is that around 10:30 am Nathans cranial pressure went back down to pt.6 this is stable and our nurse is happy with where it is at.

The night of Nathan's accident they took Nathan in for neurosurgery and preformed a crainioctomy (spelling?) They removed a portion of his skull on the right side of his head to relive the intense pressure from the impact. Nathan was under the care of one of the best neurosurgeons in the Portland area, Dr. Jeff Chen. His quiet demeanor put us all at peace, even as he was very straight forward about how bad Nathan's condition was. Mom asserted to Dr. Chen that she was getting the feeling that he wasn't hopeful, Dr. Chen said that the procedure went without a flaw but the extent of the brain injury is probably sever and that he, indeed, wasn't hopeful.

We are praying that God will free Nathan, whether that means complete healing and restoration, or, heaven. I can honestly say we all, Mom Dad Ben and I, have total peace. If Nathan goes to be with the Lord we are all jealous. Dad was saying how Nathan will be a choir director in Heaven... He'll be rocking out with Jesus all day long and he'll be able to sing on tune!

I will update with results from the CAT scan. Thank you for your prayers, we feel them, we are being carried by God's love and I can feel Jesus cradling Nathan. We love you all. Jessie

Nathan's story has inspired so many people, he was a very real person even though we never met him. My heart goes out to his family. I hope that you will send prayers for him, too. Having watched our friend's son Nicholas make a miraculous recovery from a very similar accident (right down to the broken femur) we know that God hears our prayers. Join me in making them extra loud and insistent?


My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. How absolutely heart breaking. Our Sarah was also a wanderer when she was younger, and a very clever one. I just can't imagine the pain this family must be feeling, yet they seem to express such peace. A shining example for all of us.

Karen said...

That book was such an inspiration to me in the early years when our son was born. I feel as though I know the family. Thank you for sharing this, I'll certainly be in prayer for the whole family. My heart is breaking for them.

Julana said...

I was so sad to read about this on the parent list this morming. I also read Pam's book in the early years, and found it a comfort. Our son's private SLP had one of Pam's books of meditations on a side table, and I dipped into it during many therapies.
I'm so sorry for this family's loss. I grateful for their faith. Nathan lived a powerful life.