Saturday, August 27, 2011

Update: 11:45pm on 8/27

Thursday afternoon we made the move from WHC back to NRH. It was an emotional departure from an amazing group of talented and caring nurses, doctors, therapists and PAs. They saw Team 44 through a challenging month, two major surgeries and many difficult days and nights with care and compassion. The bandages came off and he was cleared for transfer. Posters, pictures, letters and gear were packed up as we prepared to “break camp” once again. With his entourage in tow, Forrest’s gurney rolled over the sky bridge connecting the two hospitals and through the doors at NRH to a celebratory air of reunion with our prior NRH team. We were escorted into his original room with a sense that we were meant to return to this space to finish what we had attempted before… a pivotal phase of Forrest’s recovery.

And so we begin again with a renewed faith, a team re-energized by the love and devotion of family and friends and… Forrest’s New Lid! Everyone came in to admire his new profile and his bright new expression. Friday was filled with doctor’s examinations, meetings, along with in-depth evaluations by his physical, occupational and speech therapists. Without exception, everyone was pleased with his progress. His neurosurgeon, Dr. Armonda was particularly happy to see him, only a week post–op looking so alert, propped up in bed and intently watching a movie.

Dad spent the morning with Forrest and then headed back with Sundance to secure BrightWood for possible power outages from Hurricane Irene. Austin and I took advantage of the lull in therapy this afternoon and bundled Forrest up in his wheelchair for his first trip out of his hospital room, that didn’t involve a CT, MRI or surgery, in over two months! We decided Forrest needed to smell the rain, breathe in the energy of the approaching storm, and feel the wind on his face. So we wheeled him through the hospital, down the elevator and out to the doors leading to the gardens. We propped open the doors and welcomed in the warm wet garden smells, and a bit of rain…. We didn’t think we should take him outside just yet. So Austin ever the Brother Extraordinaire, charges out into the rain for him, climbs up onto the wall and heralds the approaching storm with a vigor that embraces our crusade. Forrest drank it all in and quietly accepted our enthusiasm for this important milestone.

Austin & I are sleeping over with Forrest in case there are power outages or flooding issues. The power actually went out at the hospital tonight while Austin was in the elevator! Fortunately he remembered how his Aunt Tricia (retired captain from the San Diego Fire Dept) told him to escape a stalled elevator and he quickly liberated himself! It’s late now. The wind and rain are pelting the windows. Forrest is tucked in for the night and is sleeping peacefully. Austin and I are keeping vigil together. The mood is cozy and safe. We are feeling blessed tonight. We are warm and dry. Forrest is safe. Our collective prayers have been answered. Forrest’s spirit is strong and we are grateful that we have been graced with this time together. We hope all our friends and family stay safe tonight and help watch over each other.


Blessed to be Forrest and Austin’s Mom

Forrest breathing in fresh air

Mom watching over her boy

Laughing watching a movie, see his new lid!


  1. Looking great, Forrest! Glad you guys are back at NRH can add "survived both an earthquake and a hurricane in one week" to your long list of accomplishments. :) Love you all...

  2. Hi Forrest! I was just getting ready to shut down my laptop, but decided to look one more time to see if there was a new blog. By golly, there was!! Thanks Rae and Austin!! I immediately sent a text to Norma Lou to alert her to it, then I read it. It just sounds like you are doing great, even with Irene on her way to visit you! Talk about energy!! Now, she's got some energy. You are looking great! Austin, you did great getting out of the elevator! Your Aunt Lynn and a lot of your extended family are planning to be at Church with us tomorrow, so I'll get to meet them, which will be great! God bless all of you!


    Joyce and Wilbur Ellis

  3. Grandmom Allen and Aunt LynnAugust 28, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    Hurrah...hurrah...hurrah. We loved reading the post of some encouraging news. I (Aunt Lynn) am here with Grandmom Allen and right before bed we decided to check for a post and we were rewarded with this great one. Thanks for all the news. We are always part of it all even so far away, so I hope you feel the strength we send you through family love from afar. And prayers continue to rise up...and that is the real strength. Love you all and continually proud. Sleep well....we will!

  4. What a beautiful post. I love the image of Austin running out into the rain, and climbing onto the wall, as Forrest watches safe and dry inside, and surely amused by his brother. We are so happy for this wonderful week your family has finally had, and know it is the start of many more wonderful weeks to come.
    Best wishes,
    Fraley Coles

  5. Forrest looks great. Amazing for one week post surgery. It sounds like the wind howled and Austin howled back. I read up a little on Dr. Armonda - he seems like an extraordinary man. I would expect no less - extraordinary Doctor helps extraordinary family. My prayers and encouraging thoughts go out to all of Team 44. Hoping you are all still safe and cozy as the storm passes.

    Abby Laughlin

  6. Team 44

    What a huge step in Forrest's journey home. Let this be the beginning of the end of your stay at NRH!!!

    We are all excited for your return home and hope that the success of this last week means that return will be soon!!

    Love the Selfes

  7. What a beautiful and refreshing post! I am loving the "new lid" but probably not as much as Forrest! I hope TEAM FORREST stays safe as the storm passes.

    Much love,
    Krysta Walker

  8. HURRAY Forrest!!!!!! I am so excited about the brightness in your eyes and your wonderful round fuzzy lid!! Irene missed us in the hood, probably because we were all so prepared. You know how many times we lose power up here. We are all so excited you have crossed the street and are starting to navigate your way back to Brightwood. Hugs to Team 44...the gang from Rabbit Hill XXOO

  9. Rae, you are such an eloquent writer. Your posts read like a beautiful story and this one is SO beautiful. I can feel your gratitude and hopefulness and faith. It leaps off the screen!

    We share it, dear friend!

    I was writing to a friend this morning to say that Irene had only brought us good - much needed rain and no wind. I marveled that a storm could both provide and bring heartache. Just like life.

    Your story has provided so much to all of us that witness your walk. Heartache and tears as we worried with you, but now, much so very much joy and thanksgiving as it appears you've received a reprieve and the good work of Forrest's full healing can begin anew.

    You guys are in the miracle business. And I am one grateful employee. Back to my "job." Prayers of thanksgiving and a request that this path you are on stays straight and brightly lit.

    You know, you named your home well and didn't even know it at the time, I'm thinking. :)

    Shannon et al.

  10. ps - I'm intrigued - how do you get off an elevator in a power outage?!

  11. I love reading all of your comments, thanks so much. It makes me really happy to see everyone so ecstatic with us right now. Glad to hear most people made it through Irene better than expected. Shannon, you just push the doors open in the direction they usually open and hope it's not directly in between floors! Aunt Trish taught me there's often an inner door that you have to jiggle a lever until the inner door opens but on this elevator there was only an outer door so it was a piece of cake!


  12. Every day I am amazed at the faith, dedication, and vigilant watch you all have maintained throughout this trying time. Your strength is simply astounding and I only wish everyone could experience the love and light that you all have for one another and share with everyone you meet. It has been a joy following your progress and I have shed tears along the way for each of the setbacks you have had to face. I think of you all often, it simply fascinates me how someone can come into your life for such a brief moment but leave such a lasting impression. You all have been my inspiration to be the best nurse possible and I can only hope that I can make a difference and inspire those around me as you all have inspired me. I look forward to reading of Forrest's continued progress and my prayers remain with you all.

    ~Natalie Cutchin