Sunday, June 12, 2011

Update: 10:00pm on 6/12

Forrest is back on Virginia soil and happy to be back among his friends. His great friends Giovanni and Shayna from Mercersburg came and visited him this weekend. Although he was tired, he clearly responded to their company and was happy to see them. When we sat Forrest up on the side of the bed there were a couple fist bumps for Gio who was a super stand in therapy aide. Gio will be coordinating with Nick Weeden and Austin to develop visitation guidelines & schedule for Forrest’s friends. Shayna helped Mom pack out of the most recent hotel and we have moved into our ninth housing change since Forrest’s injury. Geo, Shayna, Austin and Mom moved our Command post while Dad sat watch with Forrest. Forrest and I watched the Belmont together since Grandmom Norma gave us a heads up. We both picked a horse, Forrest picked “Animal Kingdom” and I picked “Shackelford”. We both did badly, oh well, that’s why I’m a horse vet not a handicapper.

Aunt Tricia has returned to Oregon after a month of “44”duty. Thanks for all your tireless help Tricia! Aunt Lynn returns tomorrow to help us for a week. Dad has been coming down and trying to help the team on weekends and Mom and Austin continue to be the stalwart constants in Forrest’s battle. It is likely we will move to Washington DC once he is stabilized medically (hopefully in the next week or so) and try to progress with rehab at National Rehab Hospital. We will likely repeat the process of finding a hotel and then try to find some nearby apartments that can house his support team.

On the medical front the biggest issues currently are a clotting problem called Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia and Thrombus (HIT or HITT). It is essentially a problem with him being administered heparin for long periods of time and his body developing antibodies to them. This requires a change in his anticoagulant therapy and although it has not developed into a significant problem at the moment it has the potential to be a very serious problem. It can cause significant clotting disorders or stop the blood from clotting. It takes months for the antibodies to slowly fade away. This means all non-emergency surgery will have to be postponed for several months.

On the other medical fronts he is slowly recovering from both his lung and his Antibiotic induced intestinal infection. They have both sapped his energy and he struggles to participate in his therapy sessions. He continues to try and has never given up. His other significant issue is thought to be centrally induced extensor muscular contractions that cause significant charley-horse like pain that is almost body wide. All of us spend countless hours gently massaging his cramping muscles with Mom and Austin being the most effective. Various teams here at UVA are consulting on these problems and trying to devise therapeutic and medical strategies to improve his situation.

Sundance has returned to the 44 team this weekend and wears his Certified Therapy Dog bandanna proudly and gives Forrest and his team a much needed morale boost.

There are a lot of Super Heroes in this story. Many family members and friends who play countless needed support roles. There are his peers who remain devoted supporters and believers in Forrest. Good friends and complete strangers who step forward to rally around Forrest with offers of housing and help. The biggest Hero is Forrest who refuses to quit and Mom and Austin who have become 24/7 expert and loving medical aides to give him every chance to recover and come back to us all.

Dad and Team 44
The whole family together, Sundance even has his own isolation gown.


  1. It is great to have a post and very nice to see your beautiful family together - gorgeous yellow gowns, Sundance and all! We so wish that none of you, especially Forrest, were in this situation, but we remain awed and inspired by your perseverance and by Forrest's will and determination. Hang in there - we trust UVA will come up with some solutions and that soon Forrest will be progressing through rehab in DC and joining his Team with a hug and twinkle in his eye - if anyone can do it, it is quite evident from all you've gone through, Forrest, that you can. So in addition to our love - hugs, twinkling brown eyes, and smiles all around are the positive images and hopes we send to you tonight. And, like so many others we remain ready and willing to assist whenever and however needed. The Shermans

  2. Good to see everyone together in the stunning outfits? Will I be fitted for one also? Ready or not, here I come. Can't wait to see everyone. Praying for a week of good progress for Forrest! Aunt Lynn

  3. Good to see you're working your way back home! We still are praying for all of you daily!

    Love, Troy, Jessica and Camden

  4. Well, I just simply must agree with everybody! I LOVE your outfits, especially Sundance's. He and Forrest go very well together. Hope you have a safe trip, Aunt Lynn, and get your own special gown.

    Forrest, we're praying every day that you'll work around these roadblocks, as you have over and over again, and then be able to really work on the Physical Therapy to get yourself up and moving again. God Bless all of you!!

    Love, Wilbur and Joyce Ellis

  5. I second Lynn's comment on the outfits - stunning!

    Thank you Kent for explaining some of the current issues. It has been such a long and convoluted path. Let's hope the complications can be eliminated one by one so Forrest can focus his energy on the physical therapy.and renewing all his connections with family and friends.

    We're pulling for him!

    Diane and Jay

  6. Berkeley and Thomas GunnellJune 13, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Hi to the entire Allen family,
    Thomas and I have been reading your blog consistently since we heard of the incident in January and to say we are inspired is an understatement. Your entire family is such a wonderful, caring example of love and perserverance through challenge that it really is a privilege to read this blog. If there is ever anything we can do to help, even in the smallest way, please don't ever hesitate to ask. Please know Forrest and the entire team is kept in our prayers at night and our thoughts for a speedy recovery during the day.
    All the best, and lots of hugs from Berkeley and Thomas Gunnell :)

  7. Forrest! Lost my comment last night. Hey guys, I love your picture!! Such a pretty cool yellow. Glad everyone will see you all together!! By the time you read this Aunt Lynn may be there. I do hope and pray you are on a permanent mend. You are so confident and determined. We just wait for a message from team 44!! You are all just the best at keeping us updated. As others have said, and you know,you perservere as we all pray that God will bring you through it in good shape. Love to you Forrest and your team 44. xoxoxox Grandma Norma