Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Hey Forrest, it's your Mum. I write mostly to you in our daily journals, and a lot of what I write is just between us. But the blog is a crucial lifeline to your extended family & it's important to share your journey here too. It's been almost six months since your accident and it breaks my heart to think of where you should be today and what you have been through. So instead we focus on where we are now and what we've got to do to get you back.
I love our early mornings together. Before the numerous doctors, nurses, aides, and therapists descend on you, we have our private time together. I like to be the one to wake you, to remind you where you are, how you got here. I reassure you every morning that you're in a safe place. While we stretch and move your arms and legs, we count our many blessings. First that you're alive, that you are young and strong and resilient. That we have such incredible support. That your brother, Austin, is your unwavering champion, your father, "Pops" your strongest advocate, your friends are true, that they are here for you. Our extended family, friends and community are all pulling and praying for you. We wash your face and brush your teeth. We practice swallowing. Then I get a picture off the wall, one your friend Georgia sent that captures your sparkle and charismatic smile. She wrote "Shine On" in bold letters across the top. I hold this picture in front of you along with a mirror. We look at the picture together and I describe your smile, your “sparkle” to you. I place my hand over your heart and assure you that your sparkle is still there. It's just trapped inside right now and we have to work to let it shine again. Smiling and talking are really quite complex. It takes lots of coordinated nerves and muscles, and sometimes a lot of effort. You know how to work hard, Forrest. You can do this. Find your voice, your sparkle, your crazy joyful sense of humor. It's all still there and we are all here to help you find yourself again.
I'm going to be away on business for a few days. It's hard to leave your side. But I know you are in the best of hands. Austin knows everything you need and is a master at bringing together the cadre of caregivers on your team. Your Pops has your back and will do whatever it takes to keep you safe. Aunt Lynn will help Austin & Pops, keep all the wheels turning & her positive energy will light up your room! Your friends will chip in, bringing their smiles and stories of home to encourage you. It's awesome to see them gathered around your bed, providing a much needed break from the endless hospital routine and quietly infusing your days with youthful optimism.
You have a lot of important work to do, Forrest. So while I'm away remember, hold your head up proudly. You are a fighter, a man of character and strength, a champion in my eyes.
With Love and Gratitude to Team Forrest,
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Forrest working hard in Speech Therapy
Friday, July 1, 2011
Maylin will be taking over coordinating visits, now that Nick Weeden and Gio DeSantis are both back at school. They graciously coordinated visits this summer and into this fall, and we couldn't have done it without them! But going forward, please text her at (803) 409-8743 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org so she can find a time that works for you and works with Forrest's therapy schedule. Forrest and the rest of Team Forrest love the morale boost your visits give us. If you can't come, post a short video clip to the Friends of Forrest facebook page!
The address for the National Rehab Hospital is 102 Irving St NW, Washington, DC. It is located in the Washington Hospital Complex. Please park in the “Blue Parking Garage” next to the National Rehab Hospital. Please make sure you are healthy and aren't sick with a cold or anything else!
Your support is instrumental in Forrest’s recovery and it really means the world to Forrest to have upbeat, positive visits from his friends and supporters. While visits need to be “short and sweet” in order to not over-stimulate and tire him out, it’s important to stress that your visits are EXTREMELY important to him and to us, and we look forward to seeing you! YOU are Team 44!
Stay tuned for guidelines from his rehab team below:
Guidelines for Forrest’s Visitors
Because of his injury, Forrest is currently experiencing increased periods of distress and he may become overstimulated. Thus, we ask that all visitors respect the following guidelines both during the week and on weekends.
1) Keep the environment simple. People with TBI are easily overstimulated by their surroundings. Forrest may have difficulties with filtering out external stimuli that can lead to confusion and increase the chances of fatigue and frustration. Thus, it will be important to:
a) Keep him in a low stimulation environment as much as possible. This may include reducing the noise, the lights, or the activity level in the room.
b) Keep interruptions and distractions to a minimum.
c) Try to minimize the number of trips he takes off the unit, particularly to places that are busy and highly stimulating.
2) Interactions with visitors
a) Keep the number of visitors to a minimum. Try to have no more than two people visiting at any one time.
b) Keep visits short. In general, we ask visits be kept to 15 to 30 minutes of direct interaction, as Forrest will likely fatigue with longer interactions.
c) Give Forrest a break in between visitors to rest.
d) During interactions with Forrest, please stay on one topic at a time and avoid multiple conversations or jumping from topic to topic.
e) Treat Forrest in an age appropriate way and talk to him about things he is interested in. For example, show him pictures and talk about experiences you have shared with Forrest.
f) Re-assure Forrest that he will make a full recovery and that you will have many fun times with him in the future.
3) Orientation/Memory Problems: Due to his brain injury, Forrest may not recall all of the details regarding where he is and what happened to him. It may be helpful to tell him where he is and other basic orientation information (e.g., Today is Monday July 4th 2011. You are in the hospital because you had an accident and you are safe. You are here to work on getting better. You are doing a great job and everyone is proud of you).
4) Sign Calendar: Please sign his calendar on the wall when you visit so we can talk to Forrest about his visitors and help him with his memory.
Thank you for being a crucial member of Team Forrest!