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.
Sarah and Madison
In the Shepherd garden catching some rays