Thursday, April 21, 2011

Update: 10:15pm on 4/21

Today has been filled with hope as well as tears. Forrest made the move by ambulance to the Shepherd Center and received an uplifting warm welcome. As news of his return spread, many of his previous nurses and therapists stopped by to see him. There were a few tearful moments as they expressed how sad they were to see the extent of his setback. But it was also inspiring to see how committed his team is to getting him back on his feet and talking again. His medications and nutrition are being adjusted and if he’s strong enough, he will participate in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy tomorrow.

I’ve been watching an HBO mini-series called “The Pacific,” which follows several groups of WWII marines around the Pacific theater. One of the mortar-men, Eugene, goes from being a fresh recruit to being a seasoned veteran, showing new recruits the ropes during the intense island battles. Being back at Shepherd, watching other patients and their families, and reflecting on how far we’ve come, we have begun to feel like battle-hardened veterans. We now know how to dig our foxholes, but it hasn’t gotten any easier. All we can do is focus on gaining small amounts of land, day-by-day. Forrest made so much progress at Shepherd the first time, we know he can do it again. They have reassembled his original team and they are ready to fight for him. As one of them so poignantly stated, “This is where miracles happen, it’s what we do.” We’ve seen it before, we’ll keep working around the clock until Forrest makes it back again.


Austin and Team Forrest

Aunt Tricia standing guard at the end of the graveyard shift

The awesome transport team and Forrest arriving at Shepherd (yes, he's wearing "cool" shades)

Shepherd nurses psyched to see him again


  1. I watched a flock of birds today in the sunny (finally) blue sky.

    I was mesmerized at how they changed direction, yet stayed in a tight formation. Which bird decided their rapid course alteration? How did the others know to follow so quickly and without hesitation?

    Forrest's recovery must seem to change direction at a whim sometimes. Rapid changes that require you to alter course while staying close.

    Watching those birds today helped me to realize there exists a master guide deep within the formation of those of you surrounding Forrest.

    I pray this Master Guide will sustain you through every change, every decision.

    I pray that He helps you discern when to go and when to stay. When to question and when to research. When to wait and see. When to rest. When to ask for strength.

    I pray that He continues to give you hope through steady signs of Forrest's progress.

    I pray that when you feel particularly weary, you feel sustained by the prayers of all of us who pray for Forrest - and each of you loving warriors - every single day.

    I pray that you are assured God hears your prayers, knows your fears and your weary minds, and that He will lead you a rock upon which to firmly stand that is higher than this heartache.


    With are with you, dear ones.


  2. Shepherd Center brought so much hope the first time and I pray round 2 will do the same and more!

    You all are heroes and my heart goes out to you all so much!

    This verse was on my heart as I thought of all you, Forrest, and Team 44, have been through

    Words of love from Jesus...
    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
    Matthew 11:28

    You all are an inspiration and examples of true love and courage.

    One day at at time...

    May God bless each of you so much!

    With Love,
    Kelly and family

  3. Glad you're back to some familiar, smiling faces. Keep pushing, Forrest - we know you can do it!


  4. In my years as an intensive care nurse, I witnessed many miracles;
    I believe.....
    Lauri Bosserman

  5. Thanks, Austin, for your wonderful update AND your always perfect pictures! So many families, or patients, "Don't want to be seen this way." But your pictures give all of us out here watching this blog that extra something to hold onto. As Forrest first started knowing what was going on the first time, we could see it! His first smile, his first steps, his shaking hands with each of his nurses, the wheelchair races, his delight at seeing the dogs for the first time, plus your pictures of the family always being with him. They tell the story!!

    God Bless All Of You!

    Love, Joyce Ellis

  6. I often find myself reading the blog to find small joys to cheer for along the long road to Forrest's recovery. How wonderful for you to be back at the Shepherd Center where you were treated with such loving care the first time. Let's hope the second time's the charm!

    This week is the seniors' last week of school at Highland. On Monday we recognize seniors who are deserving of academic excellence awards in assembly. On Tuesday we have a belated Earth Day celebration: Gil Grosvenor (former editor of National Geographic) will speak to us at assembly. On Thursday, seniors make pancakes for their PK and kindergarten buddies before watching the dress rehearsal of the kindergarten play. Friday is Senior Day, so seniors take the stage to deliver their farewells. It will be a fun week, and yet throughout the week, I know all of us will be wishing our friend Forrest was here cracking jokes, smiling that great smile of yours, sharing stories, and making us laugh. This will come in time, just not as soon as we would have liked.

    Please know that we are thinking of you and sending you love.

    Cassin Bertke

  7. Dearest Team Forrest,
    You've accomplished the impossible on a daily basis. The miracles just take a bit longer. They will happen. Kathy

  8. Glad you are back at Shepherd with so many who know and care about you. This time of spring and Easter seems especially meaningful this year - with both offering rebirth, new life, and hope, we can witness signs of small and large miracles lot of places - from the beautiful new blossoms on the trees to the empty cross. Seems a perfect time to believe that we will witness miracles in you again, Forrest, born of the resilience and strength that is in you and aided by the incredible network of love and support that is yours. Hold fast. We are praying for you and send our love, The Shermans

  9. I'm not sure how I came to this blog the first time. I've come back to check on Forrest. Every time I read a post, I feel your family's love. It's just amazing. Thinking of you in Massachusetts.

  10. Thoughts and Prayers, Love and Hope 24/7--from our family---what an inspiring, amazing family you are.
    All love, Gail

  11. Dear all,
    Today is the first day of the rest of your life- so sieze the day. Kinda corney but when you think about it it is so true. The past is behind you and may the future bring you all healing and happiness. I hope the Easter Bunny finds you all in Atlanta!!!!
    Take Care
    paula Horne

  12. Team Forrest is absolutely amazing! I saw Kent yesterday at the clinic with Andrew's pony. The smile is still there along with the care and expertise he has as a vet. I am in awe of all of you and your strengths. You love and determination I know will bring Forrest back. Glad to see you back at Shepard Forrest and looking forward to hearing about your baby steps coming back to your family and friends. xoxo to everyone!! Mary