Sunday, May 1, 2011

Update: 10:00pm on 5/1

Two of Forrest's close friends from home flew down to visit him this weekend. It was great to see them and he seemed to make progress while they were here. This update is from them:

On Saturday morning we came into Forrest's room to be surprised that he peeled his eyes away from the Bucknell v. Lehigh lacrosse game to make eye contact with us. We sat with him and Rae until he went off to speech therapy. We then decorated his room with all the wonderful pictures, posters, and art that his friends and family have been sending him. After his speech therapy we went to the gym with Forrest and Rae, while Austin got his fro cut. Knowing that Forrest had not smiled since his setback, we were doing our best to make him smile. When Forrest dozed off a bit, we spoke to him about summer memories, and as soon as we mentioned that he would be home soon playing with Sundance, his yellow lab, his eyes opened wide and a smile came across his face. It was great to see Forrest smile, his first in a long time! For physical therapy, we stretched out his legs, arms, and neck muscles. Forrest has had some problems keeping his head straight, and so Rae massaged his neck to loosen his tight muscles, as we held up pictures and told him stories from back home and from growing up.

After his quick nap, we took Forrest out to the garden to catch some rays; it was an absolutely perfect day. While there, we worked on his hand-eye coordination. While he is much more mobile with his arms and legs than even a week before, his movements are still slow and difficult. Every purposeful movement is a monumental challenge, but Forrest is incredibly strong and determined. He was able to pass rings back and forth and hand them to each of us. While Forrest took another nap, we (Rae, Austin, Sarah, and Madison) went to the beautiful Piedmont Park for a walk, which we set as a goal for Forrest to visit when he is up and running again. When we came back to the hospital to check on him, Austin asked Forrest if he was happy to see us, and held up a YES and a NO card. Forrest slowly pointed toward the yes card, which obviously put a smile on our faces. We later asked if he was in pain during a "storm," and held up the cards, but he fought through the storm to point to the yes card. We stayed with him watching “Deadliest Catch” until the storms passed and he was relaxed and sleeping.

This morning, we said our goodbyes to Forrest. After a big group hug with Forrest and Rodney, one of Forrest's favorite nurses, multiple fist-bumps, and individual hugs where he was able to put his arms around us, we said goodbye. It was so great to spend time with Forrest and watch and help him progress though his long journey back home and to all of us.

With Love,

Sarah and Madison

In the Shepherd garden catching some rays

Sarah and Madi with Forrest!


  1. Hi Forrest from Aunt Bev, Uncle Frank, John and Susan,
    It is great to hear you are making such good progress and it was good to see the pictures of you outside enjoying the sun. I bet you really enjoyed the weekend visiting with your friends, good job on all your hard work. Love and prayers from all of us in Arizona

  2. Good to see you out and about again Forrest! Great job team 44 and Shepherd Center as well. It is amazing the progress that has happened in such a short period of time. Great job Forrest, you are truly amazing!!!

    Christie Jones

  3. A perfect. We've been waiting for that. Now WE are all smiling too. I know there will be many more to come from both you and team Forrest. Good job everyone. Thanks friends! The month of May will bring many more moments of progress!!! Aunt Lynn

  4. Wow!! Rae, Austin, Kent and team 44!!!!! Sunday was also "MAY DAY" That smile was the "MAY BASKET" YOU WANTED TO DELIVER WASN'T IT FORREST. HOW WONDERFUL!! If May Day is a thing of the past - I'll fill you in about how much fun they were when your Grandmom Allen was a kid. Great that your friends were able to come. As always I love you, xoxoxoxo

  5. What a GREAT new posting. I'm so glad to hear that you are smiling again Forrest! Wonderful job on everyone's part! It makes my day when we get a new Blog, especially with such good news in it!! Keep up with all the good work, Team 44 and Forrest. We're all praying for better and better steps forward for you!!

    Love, Joyce Ellis

  6. Forrest

    The progress you have made this week is exciting. One day soon you are going to be reading these blogs on your own. As you try to peer through the foggy memories of your time in Atlanta, the journal recorded by this blog will hopefully fill in some of the gaps. It will also reinforce the sense you have of the love and support that surrounds you.

    You will see how it starts with your family. Your Mum, Dad and Austin have worked endlessly and tirelessly to see you through these dark days. They have navigated through a labyrinth of medical advice, tests and opinions, making decisions along the way which were full of uncertain outcomes -- not very many have traveled this path before you. They have sat by your side in endless shifts unwilling to have you awake without a friendly smile or hand to hold.

    Your Aunts and Uncles and Godparents have come from across the country to help you. They have been there by your side in the middle of the night to comfort you. They have helped your Mum and Dad deal with the every day logistics of living in Atlanta while you recover so for from home.

    Your friends have followed this blog every day and have continually sent you messages through facebook and voice thread (thanks to Aunt Trish). They have journeyed to see you. Sarah Nick, Montana and Peyton were there to see your first recovery, and Sarah and Madison were there for the beginnings of your second one.

    Throughout it all there has been you, working and fighting so hard to come home. The first time around, your progress seemed to come in leaps and bounds. The second time you have had to fight inch by inch. Your Dad described your storming as a "full body charlie horse". Having witnessed it, that might be an understatement. When I read Sarah and Madison's post above and see how acutely you feel the pain from these "charlie horses", it breaks my heart. I picture you, muscles clenched, for 30 minutes or an hour at a time and am amazed at your will and your spirit. Austin explained that the only way to relieve you of this agony is to sedate you to the point where you cannot progress with your cognitive therapy. Therefore, the doctors have decided that your strength and will can handle these storms. You have more than risen to the challenge.

    As you continue your fight to take your next beachhead, I pray that it takes you beyond these storms. While you have proven you have the fortitude to endure them, you have more than earned the right to leave them behind. Your Dad said it well a few days ago -- you are AWSOME!

    Love the Selfes

  7. Hi Forrest and Team 44:)

    Sooo happy to hear about the smile! Made us smile too!! We check your blog all the time and pray for you so much too!! Keep up the great progress Forrest!

    We are praying the storms will pass. Those don't sound fun. Hang in there! You are our hero!!

    Kelly, Brad, Chase and Ava:)

  8. Great news about the smile--that surely is a sigh of improvement. Thoughts and prayers, love and hope 24/7-Team 44, you are amazing.
    Love, Jim and Gail

  9. A smile!!! Wonderful!
    If I could make those *&^% storms go away, I would.

  10. I just can imagine that Forrest smile... good job.

    Hazel, James and Rebekah

  11. Hi Forrest, We have been following your blog and the progress you have made along the way. We are impressed and uplifted by your spirit and determination and in awe of Team Forrest and their devotion. I saw your Dad the other day and said I hadn't yet mastered how to post a comment and he gave me some tips, so here it is! I had told him that I remembered when he and your Mom had brought you and Austin to our farm for dinner. You were just little boys then! And before dinner, your Dad, Austin, you and I had gone fishing in our pond. Austin was fishing and catching some fish so we armed you with a pole and I helped you catch, as I was told, your first fish. Your excitement those many years ago was just an indication of your thrill with life and it's experiences. You keep fighting and get on back here to those who love you. Come fishing again!!! All best wishes and hopes and prayers. Sandy and Peter
    "Remember, a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." The Wizard of Oz-L. F. Baum