You’ve read accounts in this paper about Jon David (J.D.) Bruning and his horrific accident on July 6. Jacki and Dave Bruning, J.D.’s parents, are friends of mine but even if you didn’t know them, their story is heartbreaking and is the nightmare of any parent.
The accident left him paralyzed and, for the past month and a half, in a rehabilitation center in Atlanta. The following excerpts have been pulled from his mother Jacki’s Facebook page, with her permission, to give you a glimpse of the ordeal and daily grind that is involved with a spinal injury. She has been faithful to post almost every day, with the posts totaling over 23 pages. I have made a few slight edits for clarification.
Today we received the news we had been hoping for, we have been accepted for admission to Shepard Spinal Center in Atlanta. Jon David and I will leave at 8:00 am by med flight (from UAMS) and Dave and his brother will drive to Atlanta. Dave will return on Sunday and Jon David and I will stay as long as necessary.
When we arrived we were met by wonderful staff members and walked through each step. He was put in ICU, his chest was x-rayed, and they checked his whole body by sonogram for blood clots. Had breathing treatments and felt totally overwhelmed.
The rehab doctor is concerned that the movement that Jon David had in his arms is no longer there, so they will be doing an MRI tonight, to see if any other issues have come up.
We have juggled medicines and high temperatures. But we are making progress. Today Jon David got to test-drive his new wheels. The way this works is that the wheel chair responds to sucking or blowing into a straw. Depending on how he blows or sucks determines if he turns right or left or goes forward or backwards.
Today was a better day, still lots of challenges, stomach issues, temp, and lots of lung issues. Most of this leaves him to exhausted to do much rehab, but he did get up in his chair and go to the rehab gym. This is a room with lots of tables and rehab areas, not like a basketball gym.
We finally have an answer on where the infection is…. His lungs…. he has pneumonia.
Our process each day is that he gets a bath, he is gotten dressed and depending on therapy time, he is then hoisted into a lift, gently lowered into his wheel chair. This whole process takes about an hour and a half, and is exhausting for all involved. He just couldn’t do it, and I didn’t want him to!
I remain truly overwhelmed by EVERYTHING…but am able to get up each day because of your support and love. I am thankful for everyday that I have my family and friends.
I had a mini breakdown, after hearing about things back home, that still manage to go on without me…but I recovered and once again thanked God for my son’s life and allowing me the opportunity to take care of my son.
We think we will be here in Atlanta until the middle of Sept. but nothing is confirmed. Shepherd is so focused on total training for the whole family that we should be prepared, as well as you can be to bring Jon David home.
He still does not have a voice yet; we are hoping that will come next when they take him off the ventilator.
They have started weaning him off the vent and he actually spent about 40 minutes without any assistance from breathing machine! So that was a great start!
It apparently is a very scary feeling …. but as his confidence grows he can determine how much time he wants to try each day.
They weighed him yesterday and his weight has dropped to 143, from 175+. He is at least getting somewhat of an appetite back, and is finally showing some interest in food.
Dave picked up a copy of Jon David’s medical records at UAMS, over 1000 pages of documents. …it’s mind boggling!
So parent training continued…today was showering…. two hours later we were done and he was exhausted and in a lot of pain. Spinal patients have a lot of nerve pain and painful spasms. It’s sometimes hard to find the right combinations of drugs or put him in a position that is not painful…this is the phase we are in….please pray for some relief for him this weekend.
Jon David is officially off of the vent! He had a good night in ICU with no breathing problems…so we just got rid of a ton of equipment, and we are so thankful! Now we have to work on that trach…(tracheotomy tube) which is a longer slower process…
There were times today, that it seemed Jon David would grow frustrated and weary…he finally said, “Mom I just want you to make it all better”
Sweet boy…I wish I could…I would give anything to make it better. Broke my heart.
J.D. is scheduled to come home in the next few weeks and will continue rehab locally. He has regained his voice and is breathing independently. The Brunings are completing the final steps of rehabilitation, which involves Dave and Jackie being in total control of his care for two days at the rehab center to gain the control, and confidence, they will need when they return home.
I am sure there are many parents and caregivers out there who can relate to caring for a special needs child or family member. To me the lesson is to be patient with those in your care and be thankful for the blessings that we have.
To donate to help with the long-term care of J.D., you can contribute at any Bank of the Ozarks location or donate online at jdbfoundation.org.
Most of Jacki’s Facebook posts ended with something like this and I leave you with that today:
We thank each and every one of you for lifting us up and praying for us…We couldn’t make it without your prayers and friendship. Please know we are so grateful for each and everyone of you!
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore.