Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Update: 11:00pm on 8/3

Forrest is out of ICU and is now in the intermediate care unit at WHC. We had hoped to be transferred back to NRH to re-enter his intensive rehabilitation program there today or tomorrow. Sadly, his difficulties adjusting to the surgically implanted shunt have delayed our return. We will continue meeting with his specialists this week and are doubling our efforts again to help him regain his mobility and strength. Throughout the day Austin and I work together side by side to stretch his arms and legs, encourage him to shape his thoughts into words, entertain his mind and bolster his outlook. For the time being he is restricted to his hospital bed and can tolerate only miniscule changes in elevating the head of his bed. Each morning Forrest and I still count our blessings, that he is alive and his fighting spirit is strong, we are both blessed every day with Austin’s love energy and dedication, the unconditional love & support of our family, friends and community and some of the best doctors and therapists in the country.

Living as we are hour to hour, the smallest gestures take on a clarity and beauty too often missed. Debbie Sharples, one of Forrest’s favorite teachers visited with him yesterday. She was a life changer for a young Forrest who struggled to learn to read the first time. Yesterday she read to him again, and the familiar voice and assurance of a trusted teacher had him captivated. Our world was brightened tonight when Forrest turned his head to listen to a conversation. Such a simple thing, unless it goes missing. As Austin just reminded me, “one blessing is that we have all those amazing firsts to look forward to again.”

Visitors brighten Forrest's and our days as well. Thank you so much to those who have visited and shared your warmth, and we hope to have some visitors this weekend and in the coming week. Forrest is just across the street from NRH and is still able to have visitors. He really seems to enjoy new though familiar faces.

Love, Mom and Austin

Quote of the day: “In a crises, we start where we stand.” Aunt Tricia, Captain San Diego Fire Department

Austin & Mom working on upper body range of motion

Debbie Sharples reading to Forrest


  1. Your attitudes are the stuff of legends! Blessings on you all as you keep on going. Love you guys. Those pressures are going to start adjusting...that's our prayer!

  2. Praying that last night brought peaceful sleep for Forrest and some rest for you guys as well. So nice to see Mrs. Sharples there reading to Forrest. I'm certain her voice was soothing and sounded of nothing, but love and encouragement, as always. Pray that today there are some simple positives for each of you. Bless you.

  3. What a gift it was for me to spend time with Forrest, Austin and Rae. Being a part of Team 44 for a few hours, if only just to remove a pillow from under Forrest's legs or read to him, meant more to me than words can express. As he listened to the story and closely studied the illustrations, I felt the very familiar feeling of slowly and calmly doing important work together. He is much bigger, I am a bit older, the room is a far cry from our nook at Hill School, but our deep connection was alive and strong. If I'm lucky, and schedules permit, I will continue to work with Forrest weekly. I encourage other old friends from Hill or elsewhere to plan a visit. As I said earlier, seeing Forrest and watching Team 44 in action is truly a gift.

  4. How wonderful, Forrest, that your reading teacher was able to visit with you and to read to you again! I hope she'll be able to come to visit you again real soon.

    All of you are still in my thoughts and prayers every day. I'm sure things are looking up for you.


    Joyce Ellis

  5. Dear Rae and Team 44,

    Your words squeeze my heart, Rae. You are in our hearts hour by hour, too. When I was swimming early this morning, I thought how wonderful it will feel to Forrest when he can get immersed in a pool again. It is exilarating when cool water embraces your whole body, and, conversely, so relaxing in a hot tub.

    When I was cuddling and playing with ten-week old Sheridan later this morning, I thought (as always) about all that's going on in her little head, just as it is for Forrest, although neither one of thm can talk about it to us right now. She, like Forrest, is soaking up everything that is going on, and, as I carry Sheridan through the garden to admire and touch the flowers, listen to the soothing babbling of the stream, watch the gentle splashing of the fountain, feel the cool ocean breeze, hear the trill of birds, and sway in rhythm to the giant bamboo canes, I know that her little brain is growing neurons like mad. I know that, in Forrest's brain, too, he is rebuilding and growing new neurological connections. Your family's steadfast attention to him, the talking, laughing, reading, etc. is helping in ways that we may not be able to see right now, but I'm sure the brain activity is as fast and furious as his stage of healing will allow.

    At a lunch meeting today, I thought of Forrest as I bit into my pizza. How great will be the day when he can eat his favorite pizza again.

    So you see, as an ordinary day progresses here in San Diego, Forrest and all of you are very much a part of our hour by hour thoughts. His challenges make all of us appreciate the mundaneness of daily activities, and your selfless devotion inspires us. Most of the time, I don't think we reflect much upon the ripple effect of our lives but I hope you know, and please tell Forrest, that this arduous journey you are going through touches so many people deeply.

    I hope the next few days bring enormous improvements. You need some good breaks!

    With love,

    Diane and Jay

  6. Perhaps, Rae and Kent, you might play this to Austin. As thru his blogs one gets the impression that he empowers the voice, strength, love and sentiment behind the Lyrics for his brother Forrest. The Hollies, circa 1970:
    The road is long
    With many a winding turn
    That leads us to who knows where
    Who knows where
    But I'm strong
    Strong enough to carry him
    He ain't heavy, he's my brother

    So on we go
    His welfare is my concern
    No burden is he to bear
    We'll get there
    For I know
    He would not encumber me
    He ain't heavy, he's my brother

    If I'm laden at all
    I'm laden with sadness
    That everyone's heart
    Isn't filled with gladness
    And love for one another

    It's a long, long road
    From which there is no return
    While we're on the way to there
    Why not share
    And the load doesn't weigh me down at all
    He ain't heavy, he's my brother

  7. Your optimism and strength inspires me every time I visit the blog! I pray many more firsts are just around the corner!!!

    Love to you all!
    kelly and family