Monday, September 1, 2014

More Firsts for Forrest

It's been another long but successful day at Johns Hopkins filled with more Forrest Firsts!   Although Forrest stood tall yesterday with Austin, today he was ready to walk & with Pops steady arm and his PT's supervision he took his first steps.  Forest thoroughly enjoyed his first visit from Nurse Alpha at Johns Hopkins. They reminisced about a lot of long-ago "firsts" they shared together.  Today was Forrest's first day without morphine and the first of his drains were removed. This evening Forrest had his first solid food, chicken noodle soup from Whole Foods. And he was strong enough and his voice clear enough to have his first post surgical Face Time With super Bro Austin and then with Gio and Shayna.  The cheerful banter and laughter filled the room with bright healthy energy.  

Toliver & I are both happily exhausted just trying to keep up with your progress Champ. Can't wait for tomorrow !  
Sweet dreams,


Sunday, August 31, 2014

He's Back!!!

Only Four days out from a mind boggling surgery and Forrest is already coming back strong!  Your prayers, visits, blog comments, messages, and love are all having their powerful effect. 

We were blessed with Austin's special energy over the weekend.   And  visits from Austin's friends, the Lees, and Tom Kim & Kyle from A aplace To Be added their magic to his recovery. Instead of tiring he just got brighter throughout the day!  

He may be swollen and sore but his spirit still shines through. Tonight Tami & Angel have his back and though there are still many hurdles ahead, truly... anything is possible.

God Bless and Good Night,
Mum & Team 44

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Getting Stronger

Today was my first day back with Forrest in a couple of weeks, and as always, it was inspiring. Forrest is hanging in there. He gave his first smile in several days this morning! Several friends visited throughout the day and elicited more ear-to-ear grins.  He even threw a soft football back and forth a few times. He's uttered a few soft phrases that have been hard to understand. We've worked on range-of-motion exercises in-between doctor's visits. He's still on smoothie diet via PEG, but hopefully we'll evaluate his swallowing tomorrow and see about starting eating. There's still a significant amount of swelling, though we expect it to start decreasing in the next few days. Vitals are stable, no evidence so far of infection or other complications. The number of incisions involved in the last surgery is astounding; he's been through a lot over the last few days but he's in amazingly good spirits, all considering.

This evening Angel brought a few movie choices and Forrest chose Hercules, the animated Disney movie. We're bedside watching the movie right now with him. A few minutes ago the "I can go the distance" song came on, which Forrest has sung many times with Tom and in front of audiences, and Forrest mouthed the words along with us, too quiet to hear but nevertheless there. Tami just walked in the door and will be staying with him tonight. Tomorrow more visitors are arriving and we'll work some lacrosse into the physical therapy mix! Thanks for all the messages, he smiles when we read them aloud.

All the best,
Austin and Team 44

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Message from Toliver

Hi friends, this is Toliver.   My special person, Forrest, just got out of ICU!  We moved to a new room in Intermediate Care (IMC) and he is resting right now.  The doctors seem pleased with Forrest's progress but have told us that he has to stay pretty still, so I haven't gotten to play with him yet.  I over heard Mum and Tami say that I look sad and worried, and I am!  It is hard to see my person in bed with all the tubes and things I don't understand.  So I do my best to cheer him up by looking adorable and making all the nurses and doctors smile when they come in our room. This afternoon I very faintly heard Forrest whisper my name, Toliver, so I think I must be doing a pretty good job.

I do want to share something with you.  Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), the organization that brought Forrest to me, and me to him, needs signatures on a really important pledge!  This pledge is to try to keep people from making their personal pet dogs fake service dogs.  Here is a quote from the CEO of CCI about this issue: 

"This pledge will help shine a light on all the people who outfit their untrained family pets to look like service dogs so they can enter places they don't belong. It will also highlight the discrimination that people with disabilities are facing with the real service dogs they depend on every day."

We need you to help CCI get 50,000 pledges by midnight on Sunday.  This is really important to me so that I and my other service dog friends can keep doing what we love, taking care of our special people!  Here is the link to the pledge:  CCI PLEDGE

Thank you all for helping me take care of Forrest and for lending your voice to help CCI continue their amazing work.
Love, Toliver

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Morning After

After ICU, Neurosurgery, and Plastics rounds, we have time now for a brief update, especially to thank all of Forrest's followers for your support, prayers, messages, and blog comments of love and encouragement.  

Considering Forrest was in the OR yesterday for almost 15 hours and underwent 12 hours of surgery, he is doing remarkably well. The surgeons are quite pleased with the outcome.  This morning one of the surgical fellows who assisted Dr. Kumar described the procedure as an "elegant" piece of reconstructive surgery! 

It's difficult to get any rest in ICU, but Forrest made it through the night under the watchful eye of Johns Hopkins' finest nurses and his own personal guardian angel, Nurse Dawn.  His breathing tube came out at 4 AM and his stats are all looking good.  The vessels supplying circulation to the full flap graft are being monitored hourly with Doppler and the perfusion at the critical 12 hour milestone is good.  There's quite a bit of the swelling as would be expected, but Forrest is able to open his eyes partially and acknowledge us. 

He has given his doctors a semblance of his characteristic thumbs up.  We are back to using one finger for yes and two fingers for no for now,  which is fine.  We doubt that he has anything positive to say just yet, but we are all eagerly awaiting  his first words! 

Toliver is clearly telling us how thrilled he is to see Forrest, exuberantly wagging his whole rear end while he gently places his head on Forrest's hospital bed and looks up at him with adoring eyes.  

For now the main objective is for Forrest to rest, give the flap time to settle into it's new home, and  the swelling to subside. 

We will remain at his bedside watching the monitors and reading him your comments and messages.  Many thanks for your love, faith, and support.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Let the Healing Begin

We just spoke to Forrest's surgeon Who is very pleased with the outcome.  He had to deal with several complications primarily related to excessive scar tissue from previous surgeries.  He says if the flap looks good this time tomorrow night he will be a happy man and the next 4 -5 days will be the most  critical.   

Forrest was carried through the long day by your collective prayer, positive energy, and faith.   He is breathing on his own but is still intubated and will be transferred to ICU shortly.   Even Toliver is vid ably relieved. We will see Forrest  soon and tell him of the love and fellowship that surrounds him. Then we will stumble back to our rooms and the dinner Tami is keeping warm for us.   His faithful nurse Dawn will be by his side through out the night to reassure him should he waken.  

Praying now that Forrest rests well and dreams of Sandy beaches, ocean breezes and good times ahead with family and friends.   

God bless, 
Rae Kent & Toliver

Waiting Still

We knew this was going to be a long day  and are grateful for all the prayers, good wishes, and positive energy flowing to  Forrest and his surgical team.  

Forrest has been in the OR for 10 1/2 hours now and the nurse just told us to expect two more hours.  Toliver has made the waiting more tolerable, adding his special charm to the waiting area and shaking paws with small children.  Clearly though he misses his Forrest as do we, 
Hopefully we'll have good news soon. 

Mum & Pops