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Home sweet home.  These three words are frequently found printed on coffee mugs, needlepoint pillows made by Granny, or maybe a magnet on the fridge.  They are words often taken for granted, commonly finding their way very casually into daily conversation.

Today those three words were immensely powerful for Matt and his family, the significance of which will never be forgotten.

Matt got to go home today for the first time since his accident.  Yesterday, when he was asked, “What is the first thing you will do when you get home tomorrow?”  He was very quick to answer, “I want to see the doggies!”

Matt had a happy reunion with his family dogs.  They missed him so much!

Matt had a happy reunion with his family dogs. They missed him so much!

This homecoming is another milestone Matt’s family hoped and prayed they would be able to experience with him again.  After the accident no one knew if this day would ever come.  Not only did Matt have a happy reunion with his dogs, but he also had a happy reunion with his surf boards!  He was so happy to see them and to be in his own room.

Matt got a little taste of what it will be like next week when he gets to move home to his old room.

Matt got a little taste of what it will be like next week when he gets to move home to his old room.  He can’t wait to paddle out on that board again!

The activities for the day were kept mellow.  He was able to chill out on the couch and watch a movie.

Kicken back at home, watching a movie.

Kickin back at home, watching a movie.

Matt said, “It’s nice to sit and watch a movie with my Mom and Nancy and eat popcorn.”  He enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal prepared by family friend Dawn Bolen.

First meal at home.  Thanks Dawn!!

First meal at home. Thanks Dawn!!

This was the trial run before Matt comes home for good in a few days.  They all had a really great day.  Matt’s mom Debbie lovingly joked that Matt had better be on his best behavior or they’d send him on back to the hospital.  Matt got a good laugh about this and agreed.

Matt eating his first meal home with his friend Nancy.

Matt eating his first meal home with his friend Nancy.

Congratulations to the entire Foushee family on this momentous occasion!

Thanks to all you Foush Followers for the continued support, prayers, well wishes and for sharing his story.  Matt knows you ALL have been a huge part of him doing as well as he is.

Matt will still require long-term specialized rehabilitation, most of which is not covered by insurance.  Thanks so much to all who have so generously donated! Donations in any form and amount help so much.  And thanks to those who have taken the time to share his story and fund-raising page.

Thanks to everyone for also spreading the word about Matt’s yoga fund-raiser at Bikram Yoga at The Camp.

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The Camp | Yoga Fund-Raiser 12/18/13

Great news for all you local Foush Followers! There is to be a Fund-Raiser 12/18/13 which was organized by Matt’s friends at his favorite Bikram Yoga studio at The Camp in Costa Mesa. (see Bikram Yoga at The Camp on Facebook) See below for details submitted by Matt’s friend Megan, who is a Bikram Yoga teacher and one of the fund-raiser organizers.  Thanks so much to studio owner Patrice Simon for hosting, to Megan White for organizing and Lauren McCoy for all the help. What an incredibly generous gift of time, money, use of facility and amazing contacts!  All proceeds will be donated to Matt to help pay for his rehabilitation.

Please forward, forward and forward again so we can spread the word to as many people as possible about this awesome fund-raising event.

Here are the details:

All Day- Yoga Fund-Raiser For Matt Foushee- 12/18/13

matt studio promo

Location: Bikram Yoga- The Camp, 2937 Bristol Street Ste A-200, Costa Mesa, CA 92626   714-429-7900

As most of you know, on August 31st, 2013, our dear friend and fellow yogi was hit by a truck in Mexico! He sustained extensive injuries from head to toe! Including a traumatic brain injury which kept him in a coma for a month. Matt is now in a rehabilitation facility where he receives rigorous speech and physical therapy daily. His progress thus far has been astounding! He does as much as he can as soon as he can! Unfortunately, he still has a long way to go, and his insurance does NOT cover MUCH of the rehabilitation therapy he NEEDS!

Therefore, Bikram Yoga The Camp is having an ALL DAY CHALLENGE for Matt! All funds will go towards Matt’s rehabilitation!

 SAVE THE DATE- WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18TH, 2013!

Please come and participate! It will be an AMAZING day- full of hot classes, awesome energy, delicious and healthy food, a special auction, and more to come! You do NOT have to participate in the challenge to donate. You can visit Matt’s Fundraising Page at: http://www.gofundme.com/4ow29w

Or leave a donation at the desk! EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS, HELPS, AND IS APPRECIATED BEYOND WORDS!!!

The fact that Matt not only sustained such a devastating accident- but is STILL FIGHTING his way back- is a TRUE MIRACLE!!! And- the power of people coming together- can create miracles! So lets come together and do our part to help Matt in his recovery- he is most definitely doing his part!!!

“You never know how strong you are- until being strong is the only choice you have”

Let’s all test our strength- In honor of Matt!

Keep Climbing

Matt's friend Lauren put together this collage of Matt.  It's amazing to see how far he has come.

Matt’s friend Lauren put together this collage of Matt. It’s amazing to see how far he has come.

A lot has happened this week for Matt.  He has done really well at St. Jude and they are almost ready to release him to his next phase of treatment.

Matt at St. Jude

Matt is gaining more independence every day.  He is now considered to be a level 6 on the Rancho Scale, keep climbing up that ladder Matt!

Some very exciting news is that he will be permitted to go home with his mom Debbie for a day this weekend for a trial run to see how he does.  One can imagine what a big deal this must be for both Matt as well as his family.  The plan is for him to be released permanently from the hospital next week. He will live with his mom Debbie as he continues to recover.  The Monday following his release from St. Jude he will begin an intense rehabilitation program during the day at a facility called Winways in Orange.

Right now Matt’s schedule is really busy as they have been loading him up with tons of rehab therapy.  There are small windows of time to visit and he can be pretty wiped out by the evening so it is best to call ahead these days to verify when he is available.

There are some really sweet videos on Matt’s Facebook page of his co-workers sending him well-wishes.  It was so nice of his friends to put that together for him!  https://www.facebook.com/#!/CanyouFeeltheSpirit.YEAH

Matt takes every chance he can get to express his gratitude for all of the support he has been receiving.  Thanks to everyone who has been sending prayers and sharing his story.  Here is a link to Matt’s fund-raising page.

Matt and his dad Fred

Matt hangin with his dad Fred

Settling in at St. Jude

Matt is getting settled nicely into his new temporary home at St. Jude.  He is expected to be at St. Jude for approximately 2-3 weeks while he builds up his endurance in therapy.  After St. Jude, the goal is for him to enroll in a day program at a Post-Acute Rehabilitation Facility for individuals with brain injuries, where he will be participating in 6 hours per day of various therapies.

Matt being silly in his new room at St. Jude. Hang loose!

Matt being silly in his new room at St. Jude. Hang loose!

A full time attendant sitting with him is no longer required because he is doing so well.  His room was actually moved closer to the nurses station, the new room number being #266.  So far St. Jude has been an awesome place for Matt to be.  They are very scheduled and rather strict, which is exactly what Matt needs right now.  They are pushing him hard and his days are jam-packed with his various therapies in which he is progressing nicely.  He is often assigned “homework” and is learning to hold a pen.  He is given assignments to trace lines on paper, working on fine motor skills.  As he is getting stronger he enjoys being able to sit up straight for longer periods of time.  

Matt and his sister Ashlee having some fun.

Matt and his sister Ashlee having some fun.

The blended food phase is finally over for Matt and he is now eating “real” meals!  His feeding tube was removed on Thursday and he is elated to no longer  be hooked up to any external devices.  Go Matt!  He is eating lots of food now, he actually orders and eats TWO meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Now that he is eating more he has a lot more energy and he is happy to not be hungry all the time.  Matt has always loved coffee and yesterday was able to drink his first cup since the accident.  He drank two regular coffees and three decafs, trying to make up for lost time I guess. 

Matt is doing really well with his memory.  Past memories can sometimes be a little patchy, and he still does not remember anything about his surf trip to Mexico.  He is doing really well remembering everything current.  He remembers his nurses, visits he has had with friends and family and is becoming more aware of the day and time.  He still has some moments of confusion, especially early in the morning when he first wakes up or if he wakes during the night.

He is becoming more and more independent, which is what St. Jude is really pushing him to do.  He is required to do most things, or at least attempt most things, on his own.  If he needs a nurse he is required locate and press the call button all on his own without the help of anyone who may be visiting.  He brushes his teeth himself and shaves mostly on his own, just getting a little help on the right side.  As long as he has someone to supervise, he is now able to get out of bed and push himself up into his walker all on his own.  The hole in his throat where the trach was removed is healing and may take a few weeks to close completely.  

Matt is progressing quickly.  Not only is he hungry to eat, but he is also hungry to learn and he is retaining all of the information he is given.  Matt continues to amaze us all every day with his ability and ambition to learn and improve.

This week Matt’s dad, Fred from North Carolina, is in town.  Matt had a really fun visit with his dad and brother Russ, sharing a lot of laughter and jokes.  They took a walk down memory lane, recalling funny stories and jokes from childhood. 

In this photo: Matt's brother Russ, his dear friend Nancy, Matt, and Matt's dad Fred.

In this photo: Matt’s brother Russ, Matt’s dear friend Nancy, Matt, and his dad Fred.

Thanks to all who are following Matt’s amazing story and for all of the support!  You can view Matt’s fund-raiser page here.

Matt’s on the Move

Miracle Matt is on the move!

Matt on his way to St. Jude

Matt on his way to St. Jude

Today Matt was transferred to St. Jude Hospital for his next phase of rehabilitation.  He made a lot of friends at Kindred Hospital.  The staff fell in love with his magnetic personality,  sense of humor, smiling face and sparkling eyes.

Matt’s new room number at St. Jude is 262.

Matt is thrilled to have had his Trach removed last week and he is now getting little bites of food in addition to his blended up foods.

No more Trach!

No more Trach!

Matt is looking better and better!  Wearing his normal clothes and gaining more weight.  It's so nice to see his beautiful smile!

Matt is looking better and better! Wearing his normal clothes and gaining more weight. It’s so nice to see his beautiful smile!

Click here to view Matt’s fund-raiser page.

Another big week!

It’s hard to keep up with Matt these days!

He is doing wonderful and this has been another very busy week for him.  He continues to work so hard in all of his various rehab therapies.  He has gained 10 lbs already which is really good news because he had dropped down to about 127 lbs which is much too thin on his almost 6 foot tall, athletic frame.  His face is starting to fill out and he is looking so much more like himself. Things like wearing his own clothes bring a little normalcy back into his life and make him feel so positive and encouraged.  

He is really enjoying being able to eat some food. Pretty much since Matt was given the speaking tube his favorite subject to talk about is FOOD.  Any time someone mentions fish tacos, a burrito or a smoothie he gets so excited and you can see how badly he wants to eat.  Right now he is able to eat foods with a pudding or apple sauce consistency and he is loving every bite.  

Matt with his big sis, Amy.

Matt with his big sis, Amy.

He has had some really awesome news this week, starting with a very important orthopedic appointment on Wednesday.  His doctor was concerned about his skull fracture and it’s close proximity to his spine.  There was concern over the way it was healing and depending on the results of his recent x-rays surgery was a possibility.  This would have been a huge set-back for him.  After the appointment Wednesday afternoon Matt was informed that there were no fractures in his neck and he is healing nicely– NO surgery is necessary! (go ahead…. do your happy dance…. I know I did!)

Matt with "Uncle Charlie and Aunt Patti"

Matt visiting with “Uncle Charlie and Aunt Patti”

Another bit of good news this week is that tomorrow Matt is getting his Trach removed!  He is so excited!  This is really awesome for him because now he can be fitted with a soft neck brace rather than that uncomfortable large rigid one he has endured wearing since the day of his accident. (the rigid brace was equipped with a hole in the front for access to the trach tube) He will wear a soft brace until he strengthens the muscles in his neck.

Matt hangin outside with his best buddy Selway.

Matt hangin outside with his best buddy Selway.

Today Matt said, “I am having one of the best days ever!”  He remains in good spirits (for the most part) and is funny as ever.

Matt continues to receive many positive thoughts and prayers from so many people and they are still so needed.  Matt has a long road ahead of him and needs all the help he can get in any form he can get it!  So keep those thoughts and prayers coming and know that they are being felt and received and appreciated!

A big thanks to everyone who has been sharing Matt’s fund-raising link and making donations.  He and is family are incredibly appreciative and grateful to those who have been willing and able to help.

Baby Steps

Another big week for Matt!

Matt is able to sit up all on his own these days.  They allowed him to remove his neck brace to get his hair trimmed.

Matt is able to sit up all on his own these days. They allowed him to remove his neck brace to get his hair trimmed.

Matt remains in good spirits and for the most part he also remains in a very alert and cheery state– whereas before he was sort-of drifting between moments of alert and a sleepy or aggravated state.

He is quite hilarious making everyone around him laugh, including his nurses.  He has so many private jokes with his close friends and he remembers them all and is loving to use them when opportunity presents itself.  His buddy Aguilar was visiting and he introduced him to his nurse David.  Matt started saying in a funny voice, “He’s a real good boy, David is a good boy” and Aguilar picked up on that he was saying a line from one of their favorite movies, Caddyshack, which over the years they’ve watched together probably hundreds of times.  Aguilar’s response was, in an equally funny voice, “Now I know why tigers eat their young…” Which is the next line Rodney Dangerfield says in the cult classic movie.

Matt and Aguilar laughed so hard and Matt immediately got choked up, saying, “It feels so good to laugh from way deep down in my belly, it feels so good.”  There were two other visitors in the room (Summer and Stephanie) and there was not a dry eye among the bunch of them.  Their response was that it felt so good to have the opportunity to laugh along with Matt.

In typical charismatic, well-mannered Matt fashion, he introduces everyone who walks into his room to his nurses and attendants.  Everyone who works on his floor stops by his room to wave and say hi, the doctors, nurses, janitors, medical assistants…. everyone wants to get a glimpse of Matt’s bright eyes and contagious smile.  Matt has always had this effect on people, they are just drawn to him and now is no exception.

Matt’s nurse David talked about how amazing it has been to see Matt make such dramatic progress during his stay.  He said it was people like Matt who make his job worthwhile.  He said that there was a whole team of people who have worked with Matt since he began waking from his coma and they all happened to be in the same room while Matt was in physical therapy yesterday.  Matt was doing so wonderful, making so much progress his Physical Therapist  teared up and started to cry.  The nurse David looked over and saw the physical therapist working with Matt and he started to cry as well.  He said it was a chain reaction and soon every person in the room was crying.  This is what they saw……..

Matt stands and has started taking steps!

Matt stands and has started taking steps!

Matt is blowing everyone’s minds with his progress.  He is beginning to walk, taking baby steps!  He is talking more and more.  He has confirmed what we all already know about him….. that sky is the limit.

Matt also is riding a bike.  How cool is that?!

Matt also is riding a bike. How cool is that?!

Matt had two swallow tests done this week.  He did pretty well, and is now allowed to eat pudding and applesauce!  He said it was the best pudding and applesauce he has ever had.  He usually chooses chocolate or vanilla flavors.  He says he is STARVING all the time and he can’t wait to eat more food.  Hopefully that smoothie he craves is just around the corner.  He said the muscles in his neck and throat feel tired from not being used for such a long time.

They started taking Matt outside this week.  He said it feels so good to feel the sun on his skin.

They started taking Matt outside this week. He said it feels so good to feel the sun on his skin.

His memory is getting better and better as the days pass but still is not quite back to normal.  Often if he is asked what year it is he will say 1999 or he just won’t be sure.  He does know how old he is and remembers lot’s of details about the recent visits he has with people in the hospital.  On occasion he gets a little confused about the passage of time, thinking he was “asleep” (in the coma) “for a whole week” (it was 5+ weeks) or he feels like visitors stayed for longer or shorter periods of time than they really did.  His memory and general function seem to be improving steadily though.

outside 02

Matt is improving so rapidly that he is almost ready to move to the next phase of his treatment.  Shortly, potentially in a week or so, he will be transferred to an acute care facility.  He is currently working very hard to build up his endurance so he will be able to participate in the rehabilitation he will be required to do once he transfers.  At the acute care facility he will be required to do a minimum of three hours of rehab per day.  This includes occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy.  The goal is for him to work up to six hours of therapy per day, at which time he can be transferred to a Post-Acute Rehab facility which specializes in working with people with brain injuries.

outside 01

With this goal in mind, Matt is putting all of that amazing strength and willpower we all know he has into his current daily rehabilitation.  He  gets very tired because each day he is doing more and more.  By the evening Matt is truly exhausted and appreciates some quiet time for himself.  If planning a visit with Matt, keep in mind that lately after 6:00 pm he is often very tired.  He becomes so physically and mentally worn out it can become difficult for him to interact.  If planning a late visit it may be a good idea to call ahead to make sure he is up for it.  Matt loves seeing all of his family and friends and gives them a tremendous amount of credit, knowing he is doing as well as he is due in part to all of the support he has received.  He feels the love of everyone around him and expresses how grateful he is every chance he gets.  Because the stage of recovery he is in now requires so much physical and mental exertion, it is important to keep visits brief if he seems tired and aim for visiting before 6:00 pm if possible.

Next week Matt might be getting his Trach tube removed which will be so wonderful for him!  He also has an appointment with an orthopedic doctor who will be looking at x-rays of his neck and spine.  This will determine how much longer he will need to wear his neck brace.

Matt wants to say a big “Thank you!!” to everyone who has been following his story and sending prayers.  He really feels the support and it has helped him so much.  Matt’s story has been such an inspiration and so heart warming.  He is filling up the souls of his friends, family and followers with so much hope and happiness, inspiring so many people in so many ways.  For that we all say a big “Thank you!!” right back to Matt.

As always, thanks to everyone– Friends, family and strangers who have been so generous to donate money and to share Matt’s fund-raising link.  Thank you to everyone who has offered the many, many thoughts and prayers.