Friday, May 27, 2011

Update: 7:45pm on 5/27

Forrest is out of ICU and back in his usual room in Shepherd's ABI unit. It's not evident what infection caused his collapse, but the diagnostic tests have ruled out a number of serious conditions. As his Doctor explained today, severe TBI patients have very little reserve in their weakened state, and even an every day viral infection can set them back. He is still only occasionally able to respond to us and its hard for him to open his eyes. Earlier today when Mom asked if he wanted to go back to VA, he did his best to give a thumbs up.

On a positive note, Forrest was accepted by one of UVA's neurosurgeons, the same Doctor who initially did his craniectomy and saved his life. Once he's strong enough, he will likely have more surgery, though there are a number of diagnostics that need to occur first. His doctors at Shepherd Center believe that at this stage it will be difficult for him to sustain any lasting progress in therapy until we resolve the hydrodynamic challenges affecting his brain, which requires the replacement of his skull flap. We are hoping to move Forrest via air ambulance to UVA next week. We are looking forward to getting closer to home where Dad can be with us more often and when he is ready, Forrest will be able to have more visits from his amazing friends.

Right now is definitely another low point, but we shouldn't forget that we're only 4 1/2 months in. The largest gains often occur within 1 to 1 1/2 years post injury. A lot of great things are still waiting to happen. Although sometimes its hard, we can't let ourselves look down or behind us, we have to look forward towards the horizon and our goal. Aunt Trish is standing guard with Forrest as Mom and I write this together. Tricia is amazing, supporting Forrest and us in every way possible. Sundance seems to have picked a new favorite too, won over by Trish's "happy talk" and upbeat attitude. She's really given us all a much needed lift, and she helps Mom remember to breathe, especially during the dark moments.

Austin and Mum


  1. I haven't posted a comment in a while, even though I faithfully follow the blog...Just wanted to say to all of you I know how hard it must be to keep that positive attitude when things don't continue in an upward-swing. But if we've all learned one thing about the Stone/Allen family, it's your incredible strength and amazing positive energy that pulls you all together. You are such an inspiration. I think the move toward home, and a change of scenery might be just what the doctor ordered. Keep fighting Forrest!

    Lots of love,
    Michele Hobson & family

  2. How wonderful that you all are heading back to VA! Being closer to home should help all of you. And having your whole family together more easily will be a blessing. You are all in my prayers.

  3. Dear Forrest,

    I'm so sorry for this new setback, but I know how your family works, and I'm SURE they will pull you through this, just like they have with every road block that has been thrown up in front of you thus far!!

    We are still praying for all of you here in Missouri and will continue praying until you are back home. God Bless all of you!

    Love, Joyce and Wilbur Ellis

  4. I have such a good feeling about your going back up to UVA to your original 'primary' doctor. I don't even know his name but I feel like he has you best interest at heart. I got busy and rallied many of your original prayer groups around here to make sure they're updated. And I got a large new prayer group today. :) Yea!!
    Glad your Dad could make it down this weekend. Get lots of rest honey, That gives you your 'I'm gonna beat this attitude' you always seem to keep. Bless you Forrest. I love you. xoxoxooox Gramma Norma

  5. We too are glad you will head back closer to home. I am glad your original doctor is able to take you back. He will get this figured out. Bless you all and your hard work. Eyes on the goal...even if you have to squint a bit. You will make it. So proud of you Forrest. And well done Mum, Dad, Austin, and Aunt Trish...and Sundance. Love you all Aunt Lynn

  6. Hugs, hugs, hugs.
    Confidence, confidence, confidence.
    This period of medical torture you are going through will soon get resolved and we know you will soon be back on track. You and your family are amazing. It will get better.

    The Elgins

  7. Austin, thank you. The posts are always so welcome – very thoughtful and great to read. We are very glad that you will all be relocating to UVA. The doctor who initially saved his life, a change of scene, and knowing he is closer to home is likely to help Forrest a great deal. My sister is a pediatric nurse there too (CF, not neuro) so I will have her check in every so often and ask her to give your mom a big hug from me until we can see you in person! Your mom and I love our sisters – I remember Lobie quite well from years past - Rae, perhaps you remember Lauren too... Our concern and admiration for all of you continues to be enormous – what you are enduring is so tough, but the resolve and resilience with which you all move ahead is incredible – and why Forrest will recover. And as you pointed out, there are many years ahead – you are wise to keep looking forward with the big picture in front of you. Hold fast. It will come. Sending lots of love your way, The Shermans

  8. It is often said "that is is always darkest just before dawn." We are send our positive thoughts and prayers that that is where you are, and very shortly the sun will come up for a brighter day.
    Safe travels for all of team 44, we can't wait for you to be closer to home!
    The Selfes

  9. What terrific news that you are trying to head back to Virginia as soon as next week! It sounds like the ideal scenario to be working with your original Doctor again. We continue to be in awe of your strength and dedication. Love, The Nettere's

  10. Angels wings, no worries, keep on keeping on, a new day is dawning

  11. Dear Austin,

    You are a rock. Thank you for all your posts, your steadfast care and companionship to Forrest, and your strong shoulder for your mom and dad. Your steady positive presence and patience have sustained everyone. Please try to get enoigh rest yourself. All of this takes its toll.

    We appreciate yoir updates and please send hugs and thanks to Aunt Tricia. All your aunts and uncles have been so helpful.

    We ache to hear that Forrrst is struggling to regain earlier hard-won progress. His efforts to communicate are strong indicators that he WILL come back. We hope being closer to home will bring a surge of healing.

    You all remain in our constant thoughts and prayers.

    Diane and Jay

  12. Love, love, love you, my sweet boy. You guys are all nothing short of amazing, and witnessing the seamless passing of the baton back and forth between Team 44 continues to be awe-inspiring. Love all of you, and the Home Team 44 stands ready.

  13. I love what Rebekah had to say about all of you.

    Please know that the Davis family will storm heaven with prayers for Forrest. His name was first on the list at church this morning. So many of us in Middleburg are praying for your precious family.

    I strongly second Diane's sentiments - Forrest is IN there. I, too, believe with such conviction that he will come back. I pray that his doctors help him establish the equilibrium he needs for meaningful, steady recovery.

    Come home to Virginia. We are eager to wrap our arms around all of you.

    Love and constant prayer,

  14. PS - Austin, thank you for informing all of us about brain injury recovery stats. While we all hope and pray that Forrest will blow the doors off the "typical" timeline, it's helpful to be reminded he is in well within the norm. XO