Saturday, April 23, 2011

Update 9:15pm on 4/23

We are settling back into the fold at Shepherd Center. There is great comfort in the familiar faces and voices of doctors nurses and therapists who all played such a huge role in Forrest's first miraculous recovery.  Their love and devotion to Forrest is written all over their faces.  The night nurses all came to visit him last night, to offer their encouragement and support.

In spite of his weakness and storming, he began his therapy sessions yesterday.  The exciting news today was his first communication in weeks.  He was able to respond briefly to his speech therapist's questions by blinking once for yes and twice for no.  The effort was so great that he could only maintain this tenuous link for a few moments before a storm overtook him and his racing heart and tremors swept him away.  I ache to hear his voice.  The last time I did was March 27th when with great effort he whispered "thank you" to a nurse who changed his intravenous catheter.  The tremors are heartbreaking.  Sometimes moving his arms or legs helps, sometimes a wet cloth on his head, sometimes repositioning him breaks the cycle, sometimes extra medications grant him a reprieve.  And sometimes nothing seems to bring relief and we just have to ride them out. 

Our day was brightened by a visit from Brian Selfe, one of our incredibly poetic blogsters, and his son Tyler stopped by to deliver Andy's Devine homemade cookies and his mother's amazing chocolate Easter eggs. They arrived just in time to help us move Forrest and his belongings to his new room (his18th room since the accident).

Tomorrow is Easter, Forrest.  Rebirth, new beginnings, faith, daffodils & "peeps"... I will give thanks for my many blessings; your spirit is alive & you are fighting your way back to us, your brother's strength of character and uncompromising commitment, your Father's patience with me and devotion to his family, my brother's & sister's love & support (Granma Boo would be so proud of her 5 "Pebbles"), the amazing generosity of your extended family, our friends & colleagues, the talent & compassion of your many doctors, nurses, & therapists, my growing faith that you are meant to lead your own life, that you will reach out in your own time to your family, friends, and community. 

Tomorrow, I will celebrate the joy & love in our lives and I will pray for patience (not my strength) and the courage to embrace whatever the future brings.

With love to all of Team Forrest,


  1. It is indeed the time of re-birth and Resurrection. Still praying for you all.

    When you come to Baltimore, know that you are welcome here any time and that I will do whatever you need - whether it's picking people up at the airport, providing meals, or providing a place of quiet respite.

  2. I'm so glad that Forrest was able to communicate a little with his speech therapist! Even though it was short lived, he did it!! Looks like Shepherd may work it's magic again. May God hold you all in His loving arms.

    Love, Joyce Ellis

  3. What a sweet post! Happy Easter to all of you and I hope it will bring new growth just like you saw today!

    Lots of love,
    Kelly and Family:)

  4. We're imagining all of you surrounded by buckets and buckets of daffodils and other spring flowers to brighten Forrest's new room. May this time of renewal and new life be another new beginning for Forrest, and a restorative time for all of you who so tirelessly devote the hours each day to his care and advocacy. You are in our hrarts and minds all the time. Happy Easter and may legions of chocolate bunnies cheer everybody up!
    Diane and Jay

  5. We are sending all of "Team 44 Easter" prayers of Hope, Love, Strength, Patience, and for Forrest to once again be tossing that Lacrosse ball around with Austin and his many friends! The best of Easter wishes to you all...
    The Motions

  6. Seconding the "best of Easter Wishes to you"; Forrest's strength and perseverance shines through on every post and picture!

  7. After many days of of on and off again rain, this morning's sky is a bright blue backdrop to the amazing dogwood, redbud and the bright green of leaves that only come in the spring. The birds are singing, and there is the promise of a beautiful day here at home.
    As others have noted, today is not only a beautiful spring day, but THE day of promise of new beginnings, of hope, faith, rebirth... and of miracles. You have given us reason to believe in all of these in these last four months; we have had hope and faith, and you have shown us rebirth and miracles. We believe with all our hearts that it can happen again, and you will come back to us. I love you and I believe in you, always.

  8. The posts above say all that I am thinking and wishing for Team 44 today and everyday. This day does bring Great Promise and Hope. May your strength, Peace and Comfort be renewed and may you indeed see new miracles.

    Happy Easter

    Love & Hugs, Rick, Viki, Mandie & Ryan Plowman

  9. Happy Easter, Team 44. We're so happy to hear about Forrest's communication-however small it is just the beginning of his coming back. You are so strong--God Bless.

  10. Happy Easter! We went to the sunrise service this morning in Upperville it was glorious. The flowers and trees along with the horses playing tag off in the near distance in the mist with the rising sun was truly magnificent. Henry and I said our own little prayer during the service for Team 44! It is a time of rebirth and new life. We are looking forward to hearing more about Forrest's miracles. Stay strong! xoxoxo Mary

  11. Happy Easter! The sun is shining brightly and your post brings us all joy this special morning. Forrest, that first communication with your therapist means "the flag is up" and you're getting ready to use that athlete's will to work your way back. Such good news, especially since you are back where they are the very best at setting you on the fast track of the road to recovery.
    Hugs, love, prayers and lots of jelly beans in your future!
    Team 44 Cheerleaders
    Carina, Caroline and Sajen

  12. Mum and Dad

    It was good to see you guys yesterday. I wanted to tell you a story about Austin.

    As we arrived, Forrest was storming. Austin was by his side calmly working to sooth and comfort him. He would move from one side of the bed to the other with calm, easy movement and with purpose, knowing just which hand to hold, which muscle to massage, and speaking to him with such strength and patience. An alarm sounded from the machine that controls Forrest's IV. Austin simply checked the screens and the IV bags as he continued to comfort his brother. Even as all of these things were happening, unfazed and unrattled,he intermittently spoke to Tyler and me, updating us on the Forrest's current status. When the alarm continued, he quietly slipped from the room and went to the nurses station to summon the nurse. As he returned, he fell back into the role of caregiver, continuing to sooth Forrest, still in the midst of a storm. As the nurse arrived, she turned off the alarm and begin to check his IV and medications. Austin, still massaging Forrest's clenched muscles, inquired as to Forrest's heart rate during this storm, one of the vital signs that the nurses outside are monitoring. She answered that it had stayed around 90 this time and Austin explained to us that sometimes, his rate will rise into the 150 or 160 range.

    As Forrest's storm subsided, Austin continued to hold his brother's hand and massage the right side of his neck, and update us on the news of your new apartment. At this point, another helper arrived to move Forrest to his new diggs and he and Austin talked about the logistics and about Forrest's therapy. As the attendant left the room to get Forrest a new bed (it seemed to him that the current one was not up to his standards for Forrest), Austin realized he needed to text you and let you know we were upstairs with him so you wouldn't be waiting for us in the lobby. This all transpired in a period of about 10 minutes. To most, it would have been total chaos and filled with stress. Not so to Austin. It was just part of another moment it another day watching over Forrest. Am I my brother's keeper? It appears so.

    As parents, we are never sure about the parenting decisions we make throughout our children's lives. As they graduate high school and leave for college we begin looking back and second guessing those decisions. Should we have done this or that or said this or that or not said this or that? Have our sons and daughters become the men and women we want them to be? You guys should stop asking those questions.

    Austin asked my about a saying that I used in my last blog -- it is an ill wind that blows no good. I explained that it meant that even the worst events in our lives will produce something positive. As you pray for the patience and courage to embrace what the future holds, see that one good that has blown from this wind is the opportunity to see what a tremendous man Austin has become. He is smart and kind. When the chaos increases, his calm and gentle manner fills the room and tamps down any panic that might exist. Mum. he even texted us a thank you note last night.

    Happy Easter!!

    Love the Selfes

  13. God Bless Forrest and all of you this Easter, with new begining's...
    filled with much hope and of the miracles that you ALL need.

    Sending Much Aloha to you,

    Michael and Diana Thomas

  14. Happy Easter Forrest!

    Everyone is thinking about you and are sending their prayers your way!

    I don't know if you've ever seen the film "Amelie", but it's one of my all time favorites. There is this one scene where young Amelie explains her reasoning for a lady who is in a coma. Amelie decides that the woman is having all her lifes sleep in one go! I know you've been quiet recently, and I like Amelie's reasoning for why you've been that way. You are getting all your rest now, so that when you wake up you will be ready for all kinds of action!!!

    Much love,
    Sara Wipfler

  15. If you are hearing this tonight, I know it is late and you may be too tired to listen. But if not, it is me, Mrs. Sharples, here to remind you that you are a Jedi, Forrest. You must remember that and absorb all the lessons that are coming your way. You will be back, I am certain of that, but only you can turn this whole ordeal around. I have never doubted your courage, Forrest, but you are also gaining tremendous wisdom. We are all next to you. You will make it....Love, Mrs. Sharples

  16. Dear Team Forrest, I am overcome tonight by the incredibly beautiful messages that appear day after day on this blog. Messages from you to us and from the many to you. Never have I seen so much love. It is truly amazing and I am in awe of this love that Forrest and each of you allow us to share in.

    God bless you tonight Forrest and may daybreak find you a little closer!


  17. Always remember Winston Churchill's famous quote, "Never, Ever give up!"
    You are marvelous examples of that - but it cannot be repeated often enough!!!!!