Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Update: Halloween 10/31/12


Hope everyone made it through the hurricane alright. We did fine here at Brightwood, the generator worked as planned and kept Forrest comfy in his man cave. Thank you for the blog messages, we love reading them to him. Brian Selfe's post was wonderful in illuminating both the dark and the wonderful times in the last year, and showing just how far up the mountain Forrest has climbed. Speaking of climbing, Forrest continues to make great strides during assisted walking sessions and he continues to fight hard in other therapy sessions daily. He continues to have trouble with dizziness, motion sickness, and emesis, so he is making a trip to Faquier hospital today for an ultrasound. We asked him if he wanted to stay at the hospital instead of coming home this afternoon, and he gave the firmest head shake possible, so I guess we'll bring him back afterward... :)

All the best from Brightwood,
Austin

Waving goodbye at Departure Time

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pictures of the Week 10/20/12

You work so hard Forrest. We are right beside you every step but still, we can't really fathom how deep you must reach for each inch of ground you regain. This week we marveled as you threw a ball for the first time in over a year, walked 28 feet supported in your new walker, and did your best to write all the letters in your name on the white board. It makes your day when your friends can Skype or come visit to see your amazing accomplishments and progress. When Tori, with her family, and then Liza, both home from college, came to visit with you this week, all your burdens slipped away, your face lit up, you listened, soaking up their stories, your memories, your life being rebuilt, moment by moment... It's pure magic, that connection, that bond with true friends that makes anything possible. I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow will bring. With love & gratitude, especially for the kindness and generosity of your friends, Mum

Monday, October 15, 2012

Update - 10/15/12

From October 15th, 2011
Mum and Forrest in the ICU
I know we aren't supposed to look back or down, Forrest. But some dates still haunt me. So I went back and read our journal and the blog from this week last year. It was such a heart wrenching setback, the Staph infection that sent you back into surgery and almost cost you your life. I can barely breathe now reliving those dark days...But sometimes it is good to look back Forrest, just briefly, to remind us how blessed we are and how far you have come.

From Neuro ICU recovering from surgery your blog entry on 10/15/11: "For now we count our blessings. He is alive, he is able to understand us and knows that we are always by his side. We are eternally grateful for your unending love, prayers, encouragement, and most of all your belief in Forrest and confidence that he will heal, he will return to his home, his friends, his future....As I sit with you now Forrest, I see a quiet determination alive in your eyes. We will never give up, never surrender. No matter how long it takes or what obstacles we encounter. Together we will go over, under, around, or straight through them. We are still on our road home. We will get there and it will be all that we dream of."

And the Miracle is unfolding. You are home Forrest and healing, gaining strength each day with the love and encouragement from your unshakable friends and the prayers, support and perseverance of so many of our family members, friends, and community.  Just today, after months of trying, you finally made music with Tom, blowing ever so faintly but clearly into the slide whistle. Later you attended, via Skype, the second annual Dolphin Quest Bermuda fundraiser for adaptive sports, an event launched in your honor last year.  You thrilled us all by launching the first dolphin bow with your own salute! 
 Forrest making sounds on the slide
whistlewith Music Therapist Tom
After a well deserved nap, we took your new "freestyle" walking PT outside so that you could breathe in the magical aroma of a clear Virginia fall day. This so energized you that you harnessed your emerging control over your legs and rallied to kick the soccer ball while STANDING! We finished this amazing gift of a blessed day at home together all gathered around your bed, soaking in your smile as we recount your recent accomplishments. It is good to be home, Forrest. God has surely blessed us with this magical time together.  We are grateful every day for those who have helped you make it so far from that terrifying time and for all your friends and supporters that continue to cheer you on. Yes, you have a long way to go, Darlin', but you are gaining ground every day and spreading your light for all to see.  Shine on, Mum

Dolphin Quest Bermuda crew sharing "shaka" signs
with Forrest and Team following the WindReach fundraiser
 Forrest "freestyle" walking outside with help



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Team Member and Video of the Day - 10/9/2012

We would like to introduce you to Stephen, the newest member of Team 44. A physical therapy student at Shenandoah University, Stephen helps during the weekends and other evenings when needed. His PT knowledge combined with his enthusiasm and positive energy make him a valuable addition to the team and a great friend and motivator for Forrest. 

One of the goals we have with Forrest is to have him standing at some point each day to help improve circulation and of course, strength. Whether it is standing bedside, on the tilt table or walking in the StarGait, everyday Forrest firmly plants his feet and stretches his 6'3" frame until he is upright and towering over all of us. Today, we opted to skip the usual options and instead used Austin, Stephen, Gayle and Tami to practice what we called "freestyle" walking. Watch the video below to check out the independent movement Forrest is making with BOTH legs! 

video

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pictures of the Day 10/4/12

After more than a year and a half of battling to overcome the dystonia that grips your muscles and often binds your fingers into clenched fists, once again you are able to hold a marker and make your mark on a white board. The months Tami has spent teaching you to sign and Austin's relentless determination to help you master "The Secret Handshake" surely have helped you begin to regain some control of your hands & fingers. Last night you & I reviewed shapes & you doggedly struggled to trace them again & again until we were both thrilled with your work. Still you signed for more practice so together we wrote your nick name until with a little help you did it yourself! Your expression in this photo speaks to my Mother's heart of both the frustration and the pride that you must feel when you look at your work. But this is just the beginning, Forrest. There's no stopping you now. At last, you are on your way. Love, Mum

Monday, October 1, 2012

Picture of the Day - 10/1/2012

The Three Musketeers model Forrest's growing collection of stylish glasses...filling the ManCave with the always important healing power of humor and laughter.