Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The past couple days have flown by! Forrest is already hard at work. Yesterday was a true testament to his pure determination and unconquerable strength. In the morning, Forrest opened his mouth while brushing his teeth without any assistance (which is HUGE!)! Some mornings his mouth is closed tightly and requires assistance opening. Getting all his muscles to cooperate and follow his brain's commands has been months in the making, but yesterday he was successful! As if this huge accomplishment wasn't enough for one day, Forrest reminded everyone he was the ultimate champion by successfully sitting up for 20 minutes with the help of his Occupational Therapist and his Physical Therapist. Not to do anything halfway, twice Forrest triumphantly lifted his head! With every one's cheers filling our tiny room, Forrest sat tall, proud, and determined, just five days post-surgery.
This week Forrest and Team 44 have been reminded of the sheer power of friendship. The touching messages, supportive comments, and fun visits we've received in the past week have given us all the strength we needed to keep going. Forrest's spirits were lifted this week by visits from his friend Keith and his mother. You could see how engaged and present Forrest was while Keith told stories of driving 4-wheelers and showed pictures of them in the eight grade.
Forrest is fighting on. He is gaining more control of his hands. Several times this week, Forrest overcame the round the clock tone he fights and held his iPad to look at pictures, watch video clips, and listen to music. He especially enjoyed watching all the video messages on his group Facebook! Every day we work on strengthening Forrest's fine and gross motor skills in fun and exciting ways. While trying to play tic-tac-toe yesterday, Forrest had an incredible moment. He got this look of fierce determination in his eyes and began plotting his first move. As Forrest began to move his pen to the board, he did something amazing. He overcame his contracted muscles and moved his entire arm to position the pen to make his mark in the lower left square! Working with Forrest and watching him constantly fight against his tight muscles is more than inspirational. As difficult as it is to watch him struggle, it's so fun to have a student like Forrest who never gives up and is always willing to try. It's this amazing courage and persistence that I know Forrest will bring to his rehabilitation at NRH.
We are hoping to transfer back to NRH sometime tomorrow. Rae has been in constant communication with both institutions, and is waiting for the official green light. We will update with any new information we receive.
With appreciation and admiration for all who help Team 44,
Forrest sitting up for the first time since surgery.
Forrest making his mark while playing tic-tac-toe.
Forrest and Keith share a laugh while watching funny videos.
Judy and Pat from the Medical Team stop by to check in on Forrest.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Forrest is being the champ he is. He's continuing to recover well since the major surgery last Thursday. We stepped down today from the ICU to the intermediate ICU, and hope to transfer to National Rehab Hospital (NRH) within a week or two, as soon as he is medically stable and able to participate in 3 hrs of therapy a day. Today Dr. Armonda, his neurosurgeon, removed the bandage, inspected the incision site, and applied a fresh bandage. The incision is looking good. The last one of the surgical drains was removed from his head today, which is a great milestone. He's looking a ton better than yesterday, he's tracking with his eyes and following people and conversations. We show him videos and pictures of his friends and he's very attentive. He's smiling at jokes and movies, which brings us even more joy than it does to him!! The Medical Team nurses that have been taking care of him the last 3 months at home are sitting with him at night in the hospital, both to help keep his airway clear in the event of emesis, and just as importantly, to provide a familiar face for him and boost his morale. It's great to provide a continuity of care, Forrest has a great relationship with the wonderful Medical Team nurses. The Washington Hospital nursing staff, doctors, physicians assistants, techs, and everyone involved have been amazing and we are grateful for them working so closely with us on Forrest's behalf and being flexible with Team Forrest's high level of involvement in the direction of his care. Brief visits would be great at this point, please contact Maylin (803-409-8743) Mon-Thurs and me (Austin 540-729-2620) Fri-Sun to figure out a time that will work. Thanks so much for the comments, we read them everyday and they help keep us going! :)
All the best from Team Forrest,
Forrest smiling at a joke in "Wedding Crashers"
Friday, March 23, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
It's been great to have this hiatus at home, but it is finally time to get this last surgery over with. The surgery schedule and the titanium prosthesis have coincided this time to make a surgery date happen. Everything is a go. We will be transporting back to Washington Hospital Center tomorrow with Forrest's well oiled team. Thursday morning Forrest's same Neurosurgeon will perform Forrest's 3rd cranioplasty. We've tried to do everything to stack the deck in our favor, and barring infection and complications, this should be Forrest's last surgery. The combination of the shunt and the "lid" will hopefully allow for more normal pressures, allowing Forrest to get back on his road to recovery and his life.
Thank you for being by his side, both in thought and prayer. Continue to post videos to his facebook page, we show them to him almost daily now and he laughs and grins and "escapes" for a moment. When Matt and Mike visited Friday, it made me so happy to see him light up and grin when they just mentioned playing "Halo" with him and how he used to beat their butts every time even if they were on a team against him. Every day he lets us know he is "there" inside. As we all know, Forrest is a fighter and a champion, and he has loyal friends and amazing community support. He will get through this, he still has youthful strength and most importantly, his humor. Thank you for supporting us as well as him.
Go Team Forrest!
Forrest listening to fun times
Sundance and Forrest's cheesy smile
Monday, March 5, 2012
invites you to become their friend on facebook (Click here). With each new friend Duchessa of Middleburg makes during March 2012, Duchessa will donate 1$ to The Washington DC National Rehabilitation Hospital’s Therapeutic Garden and 1$ to The Forrest Stone Allen Music Therapy Scholarship Fund ( A Place to Be, Middleburg Virginia). This generous offer from Robin will help us reach out and touch more lives in Forrest's honor.
Music Therapy lessens the tedium of strength and flexibility work.
Music and Humor are powerful tools in Forrest's recovery!
Forrest relives The Hill School 8th Grade musical, "Guys and Dolls".