UPDATE ON NATE BROOKENS
My grandson, Nate, has come a long way since his accident of August 25, 2012, when he was struck by a car while attempting to cross a busy intersection near his Air Force base in Valdosta, GA. Nate suffered TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), multiple broken bones and was in a coma for three months. He was flown to a trauma center in Gainesville, FL and in Sept, flown to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he is today.
It has been a long while since our last update. Nate is awake, talking, and working hard to regain his memory. He’s even on Facebook and uses his cell phone (to call his Mom many times a day)! Nate’s left side took the worst of the blow. His L arm and leg have a long way to go to regain usefulness. With the help of a specially implanted pump, which puts the medicine where it is needed, he is able to move his left leg somewhat. Where once he had to be harnessed and suspended from the ceiling to be able to walk – with the aid of a therapist on either side moving the left leg for him – now, using the handrail and a cane, and with one therapist on his left side, he is able to walk and move that leg. There remains much more healing on his brain and his left side, but he has truly come a very long way and we consider it nothing but miraculous. How Great is our God!
Recently Nate’s little sister, Liz, celebrated her 16th birthday. All she wanted was to spend that day with her big brother. (See photo) She got her wish! Beth, Liz and I made the trip on Feb. 5 for her birthday of the 6th. Nate was excited to give his sister her birthday presents that he had bought at the hospital gift shop on his mom’s last visit. Liz has been devoted to her brother, often opting to spend time with him instead of being with her friends. Sometimes those friends tag along!
The big news is that, after 6 months at Mercy, Nate is ready to graduate to a long term facility and is being moved this week to McGuire V.A. Hospital in Richmond, VA. The Up Side is that it is an A-1 facility for TBI patients. He will receive the intense therapy he still needs to further recover. The down side is that it is so much farther from home. His mom and our family have had to swallow hard and shed some tears – ok lots of tears – this will be a difficult adjustment for us. We are praying that it won’t be for Nate - that he will like it there, that he will make friends and adjust quickly to his new environment. Our main concern is for his mental and emotional well-being. He will travel by ambulance on Thursday morning, Feb. 21. Beth, his mom, will follow the ambulance, to be with him when he arrives and will stay for a few days to see him settled.
This is where our praying friends come in. Pray for Nate and for this big change in his life to be a totally positive experience. Only God can fill the hole that his known world fills now. We are trusting Him to carry Nate and our family through this time. All this being said, the ultimate goal is “Home.” Beth gave Nate a mantra so to speak. “One more stop, then Home.” We are trusting that this “stop” will not be prolonged, and that Nate can come home soon.
Also, the funds from the benefits of last fall are dwindling. Travel will cost more now than before. Thankfully, there are friends where family can stay when in Richmond. If you care to help with this, you may use the link below. And we thank you with all our hearts. All contributions go directly and solely for Beth’s travel and other expenses incurred by her while visiting Nate. She will need to take certain time from work now and then, which cuts into her income as well. We will post Nate’s new address as soon as we know what it is.
Thank you and God bless you!