J.D.’s Story

Site created on October 19, 2008

*JD had a near drowning accident on October 11, 2008 in our family pool. John took him out of the hot tub and began cpr. We are forever grateful to the EMTs that were able to start his heart again. Our youngest daughter, Clare, told us 'Bubba jump in hot tub'. We believe he knocked the wind out of himself and inhaled the pool water.

*He has made slow and steady pace. We know God has a special plan for JD and will heal him in His timing. We have been blessed by the prayers of so many and we continue to hold fast to God's promise of His perfect healing for JD. It has been long and slow and emotionally painful. But as Catherine Grace put it, JD is lucky, he has had 2 lives.

*JD had an mri and was weaned off the ventilator after 2 weeks in PICU. He needed lots time for his lungs to heal. They were very, very sick from the pool water and aspiration.

*JD had a g-tube inserted October 31st at Dell for feedings and has done very well. After 2 weeks in PICU and 13 days in IMCU at Dell we have moved to 'Our Children's House' at Baylor in Dallas, Nov. 6,2008!

*JD had a baclofen pump implanted on January 19th. We see decreases in his muscle tone each day. We continue to pray for JD to wake from his coma. We plan for our discharge from Our Children's House on March 2, 2008.

*JD had a Mitrofanoff procedure done in May.  While his neurogenic bladder heals  we can now easily cath him.

*JD has excelled in many new therapies including stem cell therapy, music therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, massage, speech, pt and ot.  they have made it possible for him to gain movement in his right arm, fully empty his bladder  (doesn't need to be cathed) as well as passing his swallow study.
*We noticed JD's muscle spasticity has not improved with the high dose of ITB therapy (pump was up to 1350)  We started the decrease of the pump in Jan 2010 and had the pump taken out on December 14th 2010.  His muscle tone has decreased and he is more awake than ever!!  God is good, ALL THE TIME!  Happy 14th BDAY JD!

*Over the last 4 years, JD's vision has improved dramatically.  Its gone from 20/400 to 20/100 with all visual fields open.  We attribute much of this to the standing program we have started to help bone density.  Apparently when you are upright, all of the neural pathways connect correctly.

*JD's bone density as improved since we had a procedure to lengthen the tendons in his calves and reduce contractures.  since that point we have started practicing walking which has lead to speech for JD.  It started on September 19, 2014 with "home", then a few days later "momma" and on October 1, 2014 he spoke an entire sentence, "I need someone to help me up" and "I'm tired of waiting"  What a beautiful way to spend the 6th anniversary of his accident by listening to his beautiful voice! Thank you Lord!  In 24 hours he went from talking to now singing!

*We are so blessed by each and every prayer warrior that goes before the Lord on JD's behalf each day. We'll continue to put on the full armour of God and we know we will 'see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living' Psalm27:13.

much love,

John and Beth

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God?"  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:27-31


Newest Update

Journal entry by Beth Hartman

Hello!   Beth here, It’s been a minute since I’ve touched base.  Life keeps happening faster and faster.  Today is his 10 year survival date of his near drowning.  His accident occurred on Texas OU weekend.  On game day this year (last weekend), the commentators made so many references to the 2008 game with Colt McCoy and how well the team was doing.  I remember that day in a couple of different ways, mostly good and then late afternoon turned awful.  Last night, Catherine Grace asked me if tomorrow was the anniversary of his accident and proceeded to tell me her memory of what happened.  She talked about getting Chili Cheese Fritos out of the vending machine at my Dad’s rehab and me cutting my Dad’s hair.  She said I answered my green flip phone and dropped to my knees screaming as the nurses ran into my Dad’s hospital room.  She remembers JD’s white and green swimsuit hanging on an I.V. pole at Dell Children’s Hospital and being given a coloring book.  It’s interesting how some details are vivid and some are a blur.  I am sure that is God’s design.  In 5th or 6th grade each of the girls had the same assignment to write a memoir.  Without prompting, each wrote about that day.  Each was the similar but different...like a 4 way stop sign and each car has a different point of view.  Each of the memoirs are beautiful and heart wrenching

Fast forward 10 years and JD is still making progress.  I still see small advances and changes in memory and wit that blow my mind.  He has an amazing sense of humor and parts of his memory are so vivid.  I suppose it is similar to our own memories, some more vivid than others.  This week he asked Clare what grade she was in, she asked him what grade he was in he said 5th.  Parts of his mind stayed in 2008 while other parts have advanced.  I see it as a beautiful concoction of pieces that I still struggle to navigate.  JD has no memory of his accident, but does say I am his stepmom and that his parents are in heaven.  My guess is he replaces a mixture of memories up against his reality and that’s how he fills in the blanks to create his own understanding.   He has a very curious mind and is always asking questions.  He seems to really like science.  Macy was home last weekend and was talking about atoms and black holes and galaxies…his eyes were as wide as saucers as he listened.

The kids and I moved 2 years ago September and things are still finding their place.  We live not far from the old house so I was able to keep the girls in the same schools.  JD and I have nice neighbors we meet on our daily walks.   JD still qualifies for 11 hours of nursing per day.  We have changed agencies twice and still I am the nurse 6 days a week.  Staffing has been so awful.  I’m told there’s a nursing shortage or that we live too far south….whatever the reason please pray for understanding, patient and attentive nurses!   I have found a nurse sleeping in JD’s bed while JD is sliding out of his chair with the seatbelt around his chest, a nurse filling his g button balloon with Motrin and then one that talked incessantly about her secret affair with Vin Diesel.  How long to you hang out with crazy before you become crazy…I’m asking for a friend ;)

JD will receive homebound schooling until May then he transitions to adulthood at 22.  Thankfully he has been able to attend even after his “graduation” with his peers.  I am struggling with what adulthood looks like for him.  So many services are made available to children and teens for activities, education and therapies.  That changes as an adult.  I will seek out those myself.  This week in JD’s final ARD (meeting with school for special education students) I tried unsuccessfully to fight back tears as we talked about living arrangements and options for jobs, daily activities, etc.  The room consisted of the Assistant Principal, his case worker, homebound teacher, visual impairment therapist, occupational therapist and physical therapist.  These women have walked beside me over the last 6 years through so many trials, I will be sad to see them go.  My circle of support over the last years has drastically changed so those faces will be missed. Now I’ll start to build a new chapter JD.  The school has given me many tools to use and agencies and non-profits that specialize in transition to adulthood…now I need some respite to sort through them and see what opportunities will give JD his best life.  I don’t want to fowl it up  It is overwhelming  to navigate alone.  I want the best for JD I am optimistic of Gods plan, I still wish it would be sent down on an oak leaf so I can jump to it J

JD and the girls are growing and thriving and I am grateful.  JD is bossy and a smarty pants and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  In December he turns 22!  His latest joy is giving out waters and Gatorade to the construction workers we meet on our walks.  I wish you could see the joy on his face as he hands them out.  He also speaks to them in Spanish!   Macy is going on 20 next month!  She is a sophomore at UT and an RA at her dorm.  She has started her own photography business and killing it!  Catherine Grace is a senior in high school, turning 18 in January.  She works 3 days a week and is now applying for colleges!  She wrote her college app essay on the accident and got a 99 from her AP English teacher.  I can’t wait to read it. Baby Clare isn’t so baby anymore!  7th grade and 12 years old!  Talking to Clare is like talking to an adult (I’ve read the babies of the family usually act the age of the oldest sibling).  She just finished up volleyball and will do soccer in the spring.  All three of the girls are so compassionate toward JD.  For so long I wished I could have prevented them the pain of seeing their brother suffer and feeling the pain of losing him the way he was.  I now see Gods glory through their actions, attitudes and compassion.  I never liked the beauty from ashes part….I see it now and I am grateful those seeds landed on fertile ground.

I am blessed beyond measure no doubt. I struggle to see that most days.  Days like today, when I pause and take it all in, I am sad to be alone, to be on yet another path I did not have a choice in.  Sad to see my family splintered and bitter but grateful He is always with me. My prayer is for the beauty from ashes part to step in again.

Thank you for the prayers you have sent for JD’s recovery.  There is not a doubt in my mind that is what allows me to put one foot in front of the other…and JD too.

God Bless you and your family



Patients and caregivers love hearing from you; add a comment to show your support.
Help J.D. Stay Connected to Family and Friends

A $30 donation to CaringBridge powers J.D.'s site for one month. Will you make a gift to help ensure that this site stays online for them and for you?

Show Your Support

See the Ways to Help page to get even more involved.