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."
Forrest begins intensive therapy