Borum family grateful son has recovered from accident

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004

Today will be a special Thanksgiving Day for the Borum family of Natchez. The turkey and ham will be the same; so will the dressing made from an old family recipe. There will be broccoli and rice casserole, as usual, and, of course, pumpkin pie.

Best of all, however, will be Jonathan sitting at the table with the family as all of them give thanks for the blessing of life, particularly Jonathan’s life.

Serious injuries from an automobile accident on July 23 left Dr. Chuck Borum and his wife, Chris, wondering on that fateful night whether their son would live to see his 21st birthday in January.

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And if he lived, what about the injury to his brain and what about the pelvis that Dr. Borum, a Natchez physician, saw that night on an X-ray and describes today as &uot;like a bug that had been stepped on and crunched.&uot;

Today, Jonathan walks with crutches and even a few steps without them. His goal is to walk with only a cane by Christmas Day. He is 40 pounds thinner, but his appetite has returned. On Thanksgiving Eve, he enjoyed thinking about the holiday feast to come.

Relaxed and &uot;looking more like himself,&uot; according to his parents, he recalled the night of the accident. &uot;I was leaving Jackson that night from a friend’s house coming home,&uot; Jonathan said. &uot;I woke up 10 days later in University Hospital. I have no memory of the accident.&uot;

Quick response by a state trooper and the emergency crew who took him to a Brookhaven hospital surely added to his chances to recover, his parents said. They described the telephone call and their frantic rush to Brookhaven and then on to University Medical Center.

Their thank-you list for doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists and friends is a long one that stretches across the months the family has struggled along with Jonathan as he works to get back his life.

&uot;He was losing blood into the pelvis from the serious pelvic fractures,&uot; Chuck Borum said, recounting the first few hours after the accident. Doctors performed an arteriogram and stopped the bleeding by using the catheter to embolize the bleeders with coils wedged into the vessels. &uot;That was life saving.&uot;

The next procedure was a catheter into the brain to monitor pressures there. He was on a ventilator. Within hours, surgeons were exploring his abdomen. They performed a temporary colostomy. &uot;Dr. Robert Schmieg, who grew up in Natchez and whose grandfather was Dr. Homer Whittington, was the trauma surgeon. He did the whole case from start to finish,&uot; Chuck Borum said.

Seven days after the accident, on July 30, orthopedic surgeons were ready to repair the broken and crushed pelvis. Jonathan still had not awakened. In intensive care, his parents had been allowed four 15-minute visits a day. They had patted his hand, talked to him, tried to rouse him. His mother fights tears when she recalls those days.

&uot;That entire time, we just focused and made decisions. I’ve become more emotional about it as more time has passed,&uot; Chris Borum said.

The six hours of surgery to repair the pelvis passed. Doctors were optimistic, including the neurosurgeons, who felt he would recover from his brain injuries and would awaken.

Two small daughters at home &045; Katie, 4, and Ginny, seven months &045; had awakened that day after the accident to have other relatives there to care for them. Chris Borum returned to Natchez for a few hours after the surgery. While she was gone, Jonathan awoke.

&uot;He woke up, looked around and stretched his arms above his head,&uot; Chuck Borum said. &uot;It was such as relief. It had been as if you were knocking on someone’s door and knew they were there but they wouldn’t answer. Finally, somebody answered the door.&uot;

Doctors removed him from the ventilator.

Still, though awake, Jonathan was confused, his mother said. &uot;I got back and they were asking him questions. He didn’t know where he was. He acted kind of goofy.&uot;

His high school coach, David King, called; he reminded Jonathan, a 2002 Trinity High School graduate, of the 2001 Trinity championship football team and told him to fight to recover from the accident just the way the team had fought.

&uot;Jonathan said, ‘hey, coach, I joined the Marines,’&uot; Chuck Borum said. There were other incidents, including one in which Jonathan believed he had been kidnapped. He still remembers that vision vividly.

&uot;I remember telling them (in the hospital) to call the sheriff, that my dad would pay anything to get me back,&uot; Jonathan said. &uot;And another time I remember telling them that I wanted my mom. I thought they would never come. When they did, I told them never to leave me again.&uot;

On Aug. 6, University Medical Center doctors agreed to let Jonathan transfer to Natchez Regional Medical Center, where he spent more time recuperating and then began physical therapy in the rehab unit there on Aug. 13.

It was in the Natchez hospital that he began to realize how seriously he had been injured. &uot;No one had told me I couldn’t walk,&uot; he said.

On Oct. 19, he had the colostomy reversal. On Tuesday, he will return to Jackson to have a small filter removed from the large vein that collects blood from the legs, a precaution against blood clots often used for people who are immobile.

And that’s it, said Jonathan. &uot;I’ve had my fair share of stitches. I’m done now. No more stitches.&uot;

He rose to demonstrate his walking, moving carefully and methodically both with the crutches and then a few steps without them. He will continue working with his physical therapist.

Jonathan talked about his beloved guitar, which he had not been sure he would be able to play again because of nerve damage in his right hand caused by the brain injury. He can play. &uot;It’s a good thing,&uot; he said. My guitar &045; it’s my passion.&uot;

On Nov. 12, the family tore down the ramp they had built leading to the front door. They burned it in a bonfire, inviting friends and family to come to celebrate. &uot;He didn’t think he needed it anymore,&uot; Chris Borum said. &uot;That really felt good.&uot;

Jonathan knows his blessings. And he easily ticks off the Thanksgiving list. At the top is life itself, he said. &uot;The list goes on and on, but the biggest thing is that I’m so thankful my parents were there. Now I can walk again. My brain’s back. I can pretty much be normal again, even though it will take a while. I’m thankful for all my friends who came to see me. And I’ve gotten to know my little sisters.&uot;

In January, he will begin taking a full slate of online courses through Copiah-Lincoln Community College. He was in the process of entering Hinds Community College when the accident occurred and received his acceptance notice while in the hospital.

What happened that night when Jonathan’s small truck veered off the road and began rolling, sending him through the window and into the darkness? No one is sure, Chuck Borum said.

The father is sure of one thing, and he put it this way in an e-mail message to friends, family and well-wishers, &uot;We know we are not in control. Regardless of the final outcome, we know that God is good and he is at work.&uot;