Monday, February 7, 2011

Update: 11:00pm on 2/7

It was indeed a brighter day today. Although his chest x-rays and blood work confirmed our concerns about pneumonia and identified septicemia (bacteria in his blood), at least now we know that is contributing to his fevers. Today he was started on 3 powerful intravenous antibiotics. His fevers have broken and his coughing subsided.

His tracheostomy was changed this morning to one that can be temporarily plugged allowing him to breathe for the first time through his nose and begin to work on speech therapy. He successfully spent several hours in his chair without complications. His occupational and physical therapists were able to take him out of his room and into the gymnasium. There he spent several hours working on cognitive abilities. He made great strides during his first real day of therapy.

Since he is just awakening from a coma, he has to start with very basic forms of communication and work his way up. He was able to identify and begin matching shapes. He was also able to distinguish between and choose certain objects when asked, including telling apart forks from deodorant, soap from golf balls, and red from blue. This is the first step in re-learning communication, language, and cognitive functions. He's working so hard and has come a long way since he first started to emerge from his coma less than two weeks ago. He will continue to have periods of wakefulness and awareness, but his wakeful periods are dramatically better than last week. You can clearly see him reaching out to his therapists, trying hard to get it right, and the frustration on his face when he struggles with the questions he is being asked. Just holding his head upright is still a challenge and he tired quickly from the effort. Its late now and he is sleeping soundly.

It was a difficult day for Kent, having to say goodbye to Forrest for awhile. He had to fly back to his clinic today to support VEI and his staff who have done so much to help in his absence. Fortunately, Austin is recovered from his sore throat and is back in the mix, attending therapy today and sitting with Forrest tonight.

The most encouraging news of the day came from Doctor Darryl Kaelin, Medical Director of Shepherd's Acquired Brain Injuries Program (ABI). Dr. Kaelin (his father was a jockey, raced at Churchill Downs and then trained thoroughbreds and saddlebreds in KY) spent a lot of time with Forrest and us today, and said he's pleased with Forrest's progress so far and expects him to do well.

Quote of the Day: "People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."
-G.B. Shaw

Forrest begins intensive therapy


  1. There he goes, nice to see him seating up and concentrating.
    His left hand has a firm grip on the table, that is nice to see.

    Great job in helping with everything Austin.

    Hi to Mom and Dad.

    Hazel and James

  2. So glad to hear it was a better day today! Looking forward to many more days of encouraging updates ahead...

  3. Wow Forrest - you are amazing! To read through the blogs and see the progress you have already made can only bring smiles to all who are waiting, praying and hoping for a quick recovery. Of course, nothing less is expected from the high achiever that you are.

    Rae, Kent, Austin and your Aunt Trish - you are all Forrest's angels. Your strength, optimism, family values and love shine through for all of us to see and admire. You are pulling him up, until he can pull himself up. The stamina that you have demonstrated with your constant reading, talking, sharing of stories, pictures etc., are so critical in these first few months. I can only guess how hard it is from day to day, but you will be rewarded for your dedication when you see Forrest walk out of there. It will all be worth every minute of every day that you have kept it up.

    Continuing to pray for all of you and cheering each and every success - big or small. They will all add up to his incredible triumph.

    Gaby (QGMCA)

  4. God is good! So grateful to hear of this turn for the better! This truly is amazing progress in what really is relativey a short time! You are all remarkable people! Can't wait to hear the news tomorrow! Look how FAR you have come!!!! Sending you our love...

  5. Good for you Forrest! I can see the concentration in your face. You are on your way and we are rejoicing! Love and thoughts from your friends at Rabbit Hill!!!!!!!

  6. Forrest: we are so proud of how hard you are working and how far you've come in a very short period of time. You are amazing. Hope the antibiotics make you feel even stronger.
    Caroline made something for Team Forrest and is excited that it is on its way here. We'll send it on to you ASAP.
    Hugs to all of you, including the amazing doctors, therapists and staff that are doing their all to get you going quickly on the road to recovery...and big hugs to your wonderful family as they support you every millimeter of the way...and biggest hugs to you, of course.

    from All the Elgins, Mountain Hollow Farm (down the hill, and to the left!)

  7. Your blog is the first thing I read every morning, Forrest and it inspires me to make each day count. The blog about your progress have been amazing and uplifting and I look forward to each new post.

    Your family has created a wonderful support network and the way they've rallied around you should serve as an example to the rest of us and how we maintain our relationships; we should all be so lucky to have people surround us with as much love and dedication as yours has. Keep on fighting to come back to those who love you- it sounds like you’ve made impressive strides so far and I have no doubt that you will continue with that trend.

    If I may offer up my own little quote of the day from one of my favorite poets, Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall be begin it well and serenely.” Though you may come upon some road blocks throughout your journey, never forget where you started and the progress you’ve made. Celebrate the little triumphs as they will give you inspiration when the road, at times, gets tough.

    With much ♥,
    Lisa Cantu-Lautsch

  8. Forrest
    We continue to pull for you as you make your circumstances what we would all want them to be!
    The Selfes

  9. Forrest and team Forrest,

    AWESOME!!! Today was a great day and to think....there will be many more! Thank you so much for the daily blogs. Every morning on the way to Highland Grayson and I talk about the amazing progress you made the day before and what we predict for today. Each day you exceed our expectations. Keep up the great work. You inspire us!

    Much love,

    Gail Rousseau

  10. forest. i miss you so much. i hope you get better. i miss chemistry class so much. i know youll get better. here are a few memories to make you smile. (hope you see this)!/photo.php?fbid=392996457047&set=a.208809747047.133006.550882047&theater&pid=3916328&id=550882047