Sunday, March 22, 2015

Poster Child

I haven't thought of Forrest as a "child" in a long time. However we have often thought of Forrest as emblematic of the many young people we have met with courage, resiliency and compassion beyond their years.  But we were recently told by a phycician that "Forrest is the Poster Child for everything that can go wrong in a hospital".  I don't believe he meant that Forrest was in any way jinxed, just that his case is so incredibly complicated and he has spent cumulatively almost 2 years in seven different hospitals. Things happen...

During Forrest's extended hospitalizations we've encountered wonderfully dedicated, talented, and caring medical professionals. We have seen medical miracles happen before our eyes. We have watched bleary-eyed and distraught as Forrest has been saved from almost certain doom on multiple occasions.

 But we have also felt the terror and helplessness of being captive in hostile and dangerous hospital environments where one moment of distraction or inattention can result in a human error with catastrophic consequences.  It's a flawed system because, no matter how sophisticated and excellent the hospital standards and procedures are, in the end it comes down to human oversight.  

A few of the errors we have encountered almost cost Forrest his life.   But God and his earthly angels have always somehow been there for Forrest at the exact moment he was in peril, and he has survived . And so it was that on Friday Forrest was exposed to a medication known to be life threatening to him. We caught it.  Doctors were notified, specialists called in, and a battery of daily tests have begun to determine if his body will react adversely, as he did in the past, to this medication.  Will this medication affect his surgical site or healing? Usually the dangerous effects become apparent by blood tests in the first few days, and so far his blood counts are stable.  Though my heart still races just thinking of it, we are all beginning to breathe again.  On rare occasions this exposure has been known to have a "delayed onset", so it will be several weeks before we know for sure and can put this risk behind us. 

We've debated whether to share this incident in the blog and frankly I've been too upset to write anything at all. In the end we decided to share it because mistakes are part of the reality of any prolonged recovery. Hospitals are wonderful places of miraculous healing.  But even the best hospital in the country is still a dangerous place to be.  I hope that reading about Forrest's journey helps someone else understand how critical it is for every hospitalized patient to have a vigilant advocate by their side. Even with the best doctors and nurses in the world, we can't abdicate responsibility for our own medical safety and care. It's not only okay, it's critically important to be informed, to question, to be involved. And when mistakes happen, and they will, it's essential to work collaboratively with the hospital, the doctors, nurses, and specialists to define the risks, minimize the damage, find the best solution, avoid the catastrophe and .....get out of the hospital as soon as possible!  And that remains our hope and plan. If Forrest's blood work is still stable Monday morning and the last drain can be removed we are Brightwood bound!!!

Grateful for every day,
Mum & Team Forrest

Forrest celebrates Tami's Birthday in the hospital 

The best plan, no matter what life throws at you, is to keep moving!  So Pops Forrest and Toliver take over the hallway for soccer practice!

Go 44!!!


  1. Oh no…I cannot even imagine the peaks and valleys all of you have endured these past years. We send our prayers, love and hugs, and know that "this too shall pass". ON another note, the "new noggin" is looking great in the photos! Another reason you make a great "poster boy": HANDSOME DUDE!
    The Elgins

    hello Toliverthis is Shelly. I am not goodat tiping, but I miss seeing you and your human. WE havetoplay when you get home. and must meet at Common Grounds. Weather here next to bright wood is finally getting tolerable to a kalifornia service dog. love you, SHELLY

  2. All will be well !!!!!!!! Forrest has so many angels and prayers around him and BrightWood is waiting to celebrate spring until Team 44 is back home safe and happy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Prayers,peace and blessings to you all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Wishes that all hospitals and medical teams had the knowledge, camaraderie, and focus as Team 44.
    What a scare. Thanks for sharing -- as always, your compassion for others is boundless.
    The snow drops are out, I saw a robin this morning and, I imagine, Brightwood pool is ready for a little 44 action...

  4. Team 44,
    I'm so sorry this happened and am praying that there are no delayed reactions. Thank you for sharing this. I often find myself thinking of these mere humans who have such a heavy load on their shoulders and the high level of care - the amount of complete accuracy they have to work in - how a mistake in their world could easily be catastrophic. So thankfull for the catch and praying for all involved.


  5. Dearest Rae....I took some time to process this post. As Katherine wisely noted, your generosity of spirit is amazing to witness. I can only imagine that your focus of working collaboratively toward a solution, rather than looking backward, is what will ultimately spare Forrest any ill effects from this medication. Please God, let this be your reward. If Forrest is a poster child of everything that can go wrong in a hospital, he is also the poster child of miraculous recovery despite all circumstances. His story of resilience, perseverance, endurance and navigation of every boulder on his path is the most powerful witness many in his young life will ever encounter. Your story of all of the above, plus otherworldly patience, is one of the most powerful witnesses in my life.

    I am praying this morning that Forrest's blood work continues to be stable. I am praying that any remaining drains indicate their job is complete and that they come out.

    I am praying you are homeward bound before rush hour and that beloved Pops, master chef extraordinaire has a delicious supper prepared for you. I'm smiling as I envision the scene at Brightwood. I love the name of your farm. So prophetic.

    We love your boy. We love your family. And we give thanks for your candor and willingness to share this journey with all of us. It's been an enormous blessing.

    Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

    And from an anonymous Irish poet in the 18th century:

    The Scribe

    Over my head the woodland wall
    Rises: the ousel sings to me.
    Above my booklet lined for words
    The woodland birds shake out their glee.

    There's the blithe cuckoo chanting clear
    In mantle gre from bouth to bough!
    God keep me still! for here I write
    A scripture bright in great woods now.

  6. Grandma Norma AllenMarch 23, 2015 at 11:29 PM

    Hi Forrest!! Yea - you are home and I'm so happy as I'm sure you are. Be happy and know Grandma loves you. Take care and GOD'S blessings go with you.

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