Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Encouraging News

Under Nurse Gayle 's watchful eye, with Pop's careful driving through stormy weather, and Tami's expert logistical support, you traveled to Richmond today to see a TBI specialist. Your list of medical concerns may be daunting, but you still managed to charm the doctor and his nurse with your determination and sense of humor.

While we wait for test results and further consults, we are thrilled by the doctor's initial impression that, "despite all you have been through, somehow your cognition has been preserved". We have believed in you all along Forrest, but even so, it is still breathtaking to hear the specialist recognize you and your potential.

Once you made it safely back to BrightWood tonight, you and our parrot, Carmen, celebrated with Corina on FaceTime!

With a grateful heart, Mum

Quote of the day: "Everything is Possible". Forrest Allen

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Flu Bug visits?

You gave us quite a scare last night, Forrest. You see with a traumatic brain injury its hard to know if what appears to be a minor issue could be the beginning of a serious complication. But 24 hours of Pediolite followed by your favorite: chicken noodle soup (through the blender and your PEG for now) and you are feeling better! Dr Falkenstein graciously made a house call this afternoon to make sure nothing serious was going on and so far today you have kept all your fluids and medicine down. Texting with Austin and your friends tonight really cheered you up. Sleep well Darl'n, tomorrow is a new day. Mum

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dance Therapy At BrightWood rehab

You always brighten up Forrest when a good friend like Shayna comes to visit. And you are blessed with many good friends who were able to visit over the holidays. The truth is a lot of your therapy, building your strength, improving your balance, and cardiovascular endurance, is just plain hard work. But when a friend joins in, you are always ready to have some fun! And what could be more fun than combining music, dance, and a beautiful friend?!? While Tami helped you balance and provided extra support, you and Shayna had a great time practicing some swing moves! I'm still not quite sure who was leading! Thank you Shayna for the visit and bringing us all some sunshine! With gratitude to all of Forrest's amazing friends, Mum

Here is a link to Forrest and Shayna's dance:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Austin starts work at Dolphin Quest in Hawaii 1/21/13

Austin, it's your Mom. Yes, this is your brother's blog, but it is your journey too. From the moment in January 2011 when Forrest was injured, your life was also forever altered. You set aside your plans and embraced his battle with a vengeance. You insisted on sitting by his hospital bed through endless dark and terrifying nights. You were his advocate and his voice when he couldn't speak for himself. You celebrated the slightest signs of hope and comforted us all when he lost ground. I remember one bleak spell when you put your arm around me and said, "Mom, think of all those firsts we have to look forward to again, his first smile, his first words, his first steps". Your faith and determination gave me the courage to begin...again and again.

Your voice, your secret "brother handshakes", shared memories and promises of adventures yet to come slowly but surely drew him back to us. As he gained strength you were there to challenge and encourage him, walking each step by his side. Your shared laughter brought joy back to my mother's heart.

And now, at last, the time has come for you to strike out on your own. Your reaching out to take on new challenges and responsibilities will give him the confidence to do the same. As hard as it was for you to leave, it is the right time for both of you. Forrest is strong now. You will light the way and as before, he will rise to your challenge and he will follow. Your phone calls and Skypes energize him and make him that much more determined to visit you in Hawaii as soon as he is able. What a great goal for him to work toward. So many shared brother memories involve sunny beaches, oceans & marine life. And now we can look forward to his first visit to see you, his first time back in the ocean, so much life ahead.

Even though you are thousands of miles away, your presence is still palpable here, in the aquarium you constructed so that Forrest could care for the fish, in the songs we sing, the stories we tell and the games we play. We are all so proud of you. With love and admiration, Mom

"When brothers agree, no fortress is as strong as their common life." Antisthenes

Friday, January 18, 2013

Onward and Upward! A New Achievement and YouTube Video

Hey Champ, it's Tami.  Yesterday you reached yet another huge milestone on your climbed the stairs!  It seems like every day - even every minute, we are celebrating your latest achievement with cheers and joy and encouragement.  Oftentimes, it must seem to you that your path to recovery is like a giant mountain, looming over you, waiting to be climbed.  Well Forrest, you could teach something to even the greatest of mountain climbers!  You continue to prove, again and again, that you will never give up on this journey.  You climb onward and upward every minute of every day with such awe-inspiring resilience and courage.  As we often say to you and with you "Never, ever surrender!!!"...and you never do.  So, yesterday, with the help of your new handrails and PT Del (and special guest PT, Mary), you climbed up the stairs, step by step, from the ManCave in the basement all the way up to the main floor of the house.  And then, after only a short break, you decided to tackle the journey back down the stairs!  What a true champion!
Forrest, what makes this story even more amazing are two special things.  First of all, this came to be because of a dream!  Del, your wonderful PT, had a dream a week ago that the two of you walked up the stairs.  Your mum and Del discussed adding ascending parallel bars on either side of the steps to make this dream a reality.  So, inspired by Del's dream, BrightWood Rehab installed new rails and you put them to use right away!  The second special part of the story is that your friend Nick was here to encourage you and be here to celebrate in your achievement!  Nick has been one your many strong and faithful friends throughout your journey.  It was so exciting that he was here with you yesterday!

Forrest, you may not realize this, but the last time you climbed a flight of stairs was in March of 2011.  That is almost two years!  You should be so proud of yourself on reaching this latest milestone.  I know that we all are so proud and blessed to watch you grow stronger every day and witness these miraculous moments.  Keep on climbing!

Here is a quote that makes me think of you.  It is from one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, "Oh, the Places You'll Go". 

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

 With love and pride and amazement,
 - Tami

For you awesome blog followers and Forrest supporters, please follow this link to see a clip from Forrest's latest achievement and also enjoy the picture below!  

Forrest and Nick celebrating making it all the way up and back down the stairs!  Victory!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Video Message from Forrest!

Forrest has been working hard everyday on gaining strength and clarity in his voice.  Here is a message to all of you that we recorded today during Music Therapy with Tom.  Click on the link here: to open the video in YouTube. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Picture of the Day 1/15/13

Today is the first day of your third year on the Road to Recovery, Forrest. Thanks to the love, faith, and generosity of hundreds of friends, family members, nurses, therapists, teachers, doctors, and our amazing community, you are healing and growing stronger day by day. Today, with Valerie's support & encouragement, you were able to raise your arms further than you have in over a year. Your smile & Peace sign light up our world. Go Forrest! With love & gratitude overflowing, Mum

Monday, January 14, 2013


As promised, here are the YouTube links to a couple of videos from BrightWood Rehab.  Forrest is continuing to work toward regaining motor functioning and it is great to have friends visit to share in the various fun yet therapeutic activities!

Forrest keeps working on strengthening his voice, so hopefully there will be a new video coming soon with a song or message!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pictures of the Day 1/11/13

Forrest, SIXTEEN years ago your godparents David and Karen brought Snickers, your and Austin's first pony, to the front door on Christmas morning! So I was touched last night when you typed in your journal that giving Snickers a bath today in the warm sunshine "sounded like a good idea". Of course, you commandeered the hose and I got soaked, but your young helper Jackie and your old friend Snickers clearly enjoyed your attention and the bath. It was a blessed day to be home in the warm January sunshine. Mum

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Years Greetings from BrightWood

    44 welcomes all to the New Year!  He continues to amaze through improved walking and talking and has been enjoying time with his friends this holiday season.  Since New Years Eve, many visitors have dropped by and Forrest has spent time in the ManCave playing Wii, playing paintball with targets outside near a bonfire, visiting with a crowd at Common Grounds, playing Pong and beating all opponents!  These visits have provided Forrest with a welcome relief from the long, hard road to recovery.  He has been enjoying improving his voice through Music Therapy and continues to work hard in home school and his various skill building activities that he works on daily.  Forrest will miss his friends tremendously when they go back to school, but it has been great for them to see him make these major improvements.  We hope everyone will stay in touch via Skype and FaceTime to continue to share in these amazing improvements.
     Forrest continues to work hard on his medical treatments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, speech therapy and swallowing.  He will go see various specialists in January and February to hopefully reduce medications and improve swallowing and vertigo as well as work to improve his gait.  He is becoming more mobile with his wheelchair and has made improvements on coordinating his arms and legs when maneuvering his chair and is moving himself around better and better each day.
"Water" pong therapy with Matt and Nick
What you see below is a collection of pictures starring 44, his friends and Team 44 starting 2013.  Stay tuned for a couple of YouTube video links of Forrest....coming soon in a day or two! 

You rock Forrest! Make it the best year ever!

- Dad and Team 44
Meg and Charlotte visit
Paintball with Shayna, Gio, Peter, Pops and David
Alix and Clancey visit
Fly fishing with Shayna, Gio, Marcia (and Sundance)
Wii Bowling with Gio, Shayna and David

Bad Boys for Life...with Gio, Peter, Austin and David