Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Adam: It happened so fast

Over the years I've talked about Angela's friend Adam on my blog. Like Angela, 13 year old Adam has Down syndrome. Angela and Adam have been friends for several years. Although they go to different schools and only see each other once a week or so (well, daily right now since they're in summer school together) if you ask Angela "Who's your boyfriend?" She won't hesitate to say Adam. He made her 13th birthday very special. He's so tiny in those pictures!!! He towers over Angela now.

Adam died last week. He died, he saw Jesus, and then he came back.

A few years ago Angela started swimming with an amazing coach. Coach Keanne. A few months later we invited Adam to the swim lessons. At the time Adam wouldn't enter the pool without a lifejacket. I don't remember how long it took...not much time at all...for Adam's swimming skills to improve exponentially. Now, 5 or so years later, Adam swims competitively not only for the Special Olympics, but also for his high school swim team.

On Monday, July 2nd, Adam asked his mom if he could go for a swim in the pool at their apartment complex. They had just moved in and he'd been enjoying being able to swim often. Monica told Adam he'd have to wait for a few minutes. She needed to take a shower and when she got out she'd go down to the pool with him.

When Monica got out of the shower Adam was gone. She knew he'd headed to the pool without her, but he's an excellent swimmer so she wasn't too concerned. She got dressed, slipped her phone into her back pocket, and headed to the pool to watch her son.

When Monica entered the pool gates, there was no sign of Adam. In fact, there was nobody at all in the area. It was a hot 103* that day and there wasn't a ripple on the water. Maybe he'd gone to the arcade room instead? She turned to walk away, when a thought came to her, "Maybe he's swimming under water?"

Monica turned back to the pool, and when she did noticed something blue in the bottom of the pool. Adam was wearing blue trunks earlier in the day.

She went to the edge of the pool. He was sitting like he often does when he's challenging his own personal breath-holding record -sitting on the bottom of the pool with his arms up. Only there were bubbles coming up...but wait...they weren't was was vomit.

Monica dove in. She doesn't remember getting Adam - who is bigger than her - out of the pool. (Later the apartment managers would view the security tape, saying it looked as if she was dragging a feather across the water and up the steps with little to no effort.)

Adam wasn't blue, Adam was purple and he was already swollen. He had no heartbeat. Adam was dead. Monica screamed for call 911. But it was 103* that day. Everyone had their windows closed and their air conditioners running. Monica had just finished re-certifying for CPR a couple weeks before. She knew procedures have changed, and started doing chest compressions. In her head she repeated the steps, constantly screaming for someone to call 911.

One crazy man and his son were playing football, outside in record-setting heat, on OTHER SIDE of the apartment building. They heard the scream for help. At some point the apartment manager came out and tried to help. The fire department arrived but the apartment manager was at the poolside so the first responders came jumping over the fence.

Adam's heart was restarted and he spent a couple days in intensive care. He was released from the hospital on Friday. (obviously the week was much more complicated than how I just wrote it!) Today Angela saw her favorite person at summer school!

When the apartment management staff reviewed the tape, they confirmed what Adam said had happened. Earlier Adam and his brother (who is a member of the Coast Guard) were challenging each other. How many times could they swim across the width of the pool without taking a breath? On the video, Adam, alone in the pool, was recreating the challenge and was on his FIFTH trip across the pool in one breath when he hit his head on the side. Already out of oxygen from holding his breath and now stunned, he sank to the bottom. It was determined Adam had been under water approximately 2 1/2 minutes before Monica spotted him. From the time Monica entered the pool area until she jumped in was approximately 7 seconds. (she says it felt like several minutes.) He was probably without oxygen somewhere around 5 minutes total.

What the tape doesn't reveal is what Adam told his mom in the hospital. In the very matter-of-fact way our kids have of retelling events, Adam said, "I hit my head. I saw Jesus. I told him I can't come yet because my mom needs me."

And Monica's message to all of you, "I don't care how old you are, or how good a swimmer you are, NEVER EVER EVER be in the water without a buddy. Even Michael Phelps shouldn't be in the water without someone else around. Accidents happen, they happen fast."


My name is Sarah said...

Oh my. My heart just froze reading that. Sarah used to have a crush on Adam. She loved looking at his pics and then Monica stopped blogging. I just can't imagine the panic she felt.

I just clicked on the link to Angela's 13th birthday. Back when bloggin seemed so much more joyful. I miss those days.

Twilson9608 said...

Have you ever had goosebumps so badly that they hurt. Reading this gave me those kinds of goosebumps. I'm glad everything worked out. This story is amazing in many ways, thanks for sharing it.

Allison L said...

I am so glad to hear that Adam survived this awful accident! CPR is such an important thing to know.

Have you all heard about the book Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back. It was a fantastic read.

Imogen said...

I have tears streaming down my cheeks reading that. Oh my! I am so, so, so glad he's ok. And may I add, what a gorgeous boy!!

Becca said...

Chills... What an *amazing* story!! Samantha *loves* water, but it absolutely terrifies me that she doesn't know how to swim, nor can she even hold her breath. I keep going back and forth about getting her swimming lessons, and stories like this keep motivating me to get off my duff and get those lessons for her, but I still haven't done it. Going to check into them this week... SO happy for the happy ending. Wow.

Amy L said...

OMG! This post gave me chills. What an amazing kid he is! And he saw Jesus! What a miracle! So happy that he is okay.

Lund7 said...

Wow! I am shocked, Leah! I always love watching Adam compete as he is so athletic and reminds me of my Ricky...except that Keanne wasn't here long enough be teach Ricky to swim so he still is afraid of the water. My heart broke as I read your blog but am so thankful that he was able to be revived...praise the Lord!! Amazing that he talked to Jesus!! Love this wonderful ending to this blog post!!

Difference2This1 said...

Thank you for sharing this story. What an amazing kid!!

I showed my kids this story and showed them his picture....their friends swim unsupervised in their pool. I seem to overprotective to their I talk all the time about the need to not swim alone; that accidents happen and not just with little kids.