UPDATE: The surgery has been rescheduled for next Friday, Feb 24, because the prosthesis has to be re-engineered to better fit Forrest. We're grateful that we found this out before arriving at the hospital. It also gives him another week to keep getting stronger! Thanks for the warm wishes and prayers.
Oh Forrest, its your Mum. We've been home almost eight weeks and we've all been re-energized by the sights, sounds, and smells of home. Friends, neighbors and colleagues have rallied around you and our family, lifting us up with their faith and love. So many people have made this precious time possible. Your friends were by your side constantly while they were home from school. Austin, Maylin, Tom, Melissa, Del and Valerie made sure that you didn't loose any ground in speech and physical therapy while you've been home. The Medical Team has provided you with a top notch team of nurses to help us care for you around the clock. Drs. Falkenstein and Lee have made sure you remained medically stable. Dr. Tim Weed has helped you relax and recharge your positive energy flow. The OCH Ladies delivered nurturing meals on wheels. Jimmy Emmett and Kent Deeben created a healing outdoor space and a safe access for Forrest's van to the Man Cave. Your Pops and Big Brother, Austin, have linked arms with you day and night as your steadfast companions and defenders, protecting you against all potential dangers.
And you Forrest, have made it all worthwhile. Deep in the core of your being, you are healing, gaining strength from your surroundings and those who love you. Each day you struggle to find a way to reach out to us. Occasionally now we see your eyes fill with tears as you become more self aware, as you grieve for all that you have lost. Sometimes you try so hard to communicate with us that your whole body begins to tremble with the effort. But you never give up. Your courage and faith sustain you, as you battle to regain control of your thoughts, to find your voice, to become master once again of your hands and long long legs. Just yesterday, with a herculean effort you were able to lift your right hand and although you couldn't quite straighten your fingers, the "high five" you gave to me was a brilliant sign of your spirit and determination. We see many more expressions play across your face now; humor for sure, often kindness, also we see frustration, fear, pain, sadness, and sometimes despair. But never have we seen anger there. Your core personality, what makes you uniquely Forrest remains intact. I pray that you can hold on to that core through this next chapter of your recovery. I won't lie to you, Forrest. It will be tough. But you are young and strong and resilient. Like your brother, you are a warrior, a champion. You will persevere. You will succeed and we will be by your side, holding your hands, cheering you on for as long as it takes.
With the help and encouragement of our community, we have accomplished what we set out to do. After almost a year in six different hospitals, we brought you home for the holidays. Here you have gained eight pounds. Your blood parameters have all improved. You are stronger now and, once we help you get up on your feet, you can support your own weight standing up to 14 minutes. Your smile comes more easily and the color has returned to your face. You are ready now for the next huge hurdle. This Thursday we will return to Washington Hospital Center and Friday will be your third cranioplasty.. This time the skull prosthetic is made of titanium. We have begun already to prepare for surgery with twice daily surgical scrubs of your scalp. Hopefully the more inert composition of this "lid", your improved health and condition, and our aggressive skin preparation will prevent the devastating infection you developed last October. We can't know now how long we will be in the hospital this time. We may be home as soon as two - three weeks or we could be gone again for two- three months. Our first priority is to get you safely through surgery, then we will transfer back to National Rehabilitation Hospital until you are medically stable and strong enough to return home to BrightWood.
Our family is eternally grateful for our amazing community. The outpouring of love, prayers, cards, visits, and words of encouragement have made the journey possible. This has been a devastating injury for Forrest and an unimaginable heartbreak for his family and friends. But together, we have all learned the true value of family, friendship, the power of a kind word, a generous deed, the meaning of faith. We have never felt alone. And together we will conquer the next hurdle and whatever comes after. Together we will bring Forrest home again to soak in the healing power of Spring in our beloved Virginia countryside.
There is a possibility the surgery date will change, so we will update the blog if anything does or post-surgery on Friday.
With love and gratitude from BrightWood,
Below are some of the treasured memories gathered during our time at home:
Forrest soaking in the winter sunshine at home.
The Medical Team visits on Valentine's Day.
Forrest offers Mum his first high-five since October on her birthday!
Acupuncture with Dr. Tim Weed helps Forrest relax and regain his positive energy flow.
Forrest is able to open his hand in order to reconnect with Snickers.