| From tragedy to triumph From Spotlight on Health - Spring 2011
Stephen DeVarennes and his parents
Sixty-eight steps. Sixty-eight steps from room 14 of the St. Cloud Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to the door of the south lounge. It was these 68 steps that Marc DeVarennes would walk many times while his son, Stephen, lay somewhere between life and death. Sometimes they were the longest steps.
“From pain to joy, to tears to happiness, to tears to amazement -- 68 steps,” Marc wrote in a CaringBridge entry less than a week after an Oct. 7, 2007, single-vehicle accident crushed Stephen’s skull.
Marc recalls the days following the accident as a blur of health care workers doing their part -- the hum of a ventilator breathing for Stephen, a myriad of beeps by machines monitoring Stephen’s vital signs. At times it was more than this father of three could bear.
“As a dad, I want to protect my wife and children. But I couldn’t make it better,” Marc said.
“Learning that your child was in an accident and that he might not make it is every parent’s nightmare,” said Joyce DeVarennes, Stephen’s mom.
Throughout their journey, Marc and Joyce were able to find comfort in the care and compassion given by staff at St. Cloud Hospital. Marc recalled how the nurses would stay at the foot of Stephen’s hospital bed, watching him. “I could tell how much they cared,” Marc said.
“Everyone, from the physicians and nurses to the respiratory therapist, the person drawing the blood and the cleaning lady, Arlene, was so kind,” Joyce said.
With every step, the DeVarennes family felt embraced by the healing mission of St. Cloud Hospital. Now, more than four years following his accident, Stephen has made a full recovery. He has been working for a pipeline contactor in Minnesota and Michigan for two years.
“The work is very physical, conducted in all types of weather, and a new experience that he loves,” Marc said. “He lives out of town on his own and manages his life well -- although he can forget where he parks his truck now and again.”
Joyce and Marc are forever grateful to the St. Cloud Hospital team who supported them on their journey.
Stephen now is taking his own steps -- heading into the future -- blessed by God.
View a video of Stephen's story