Hi everyone -- this is the first time I've had a chance to write on Dan's blog. I've been up to my eyeballs meeting folks, getting updates from the medical team on Dan's progress, getting settled in our temporary apartment with Les, spending time with other families in the ICU Waiting Room, responding to questions and signing consent forms, spending time at Dan's side soothing/massaging/visualizing to help with the pain (he loves having his temples rubbed and thinking of Fiji where his friend Tiko's family hosted him for his Christmas vacation last December), meeting his friends, USNA classmates, families of friends/classmates, people flying in from everywhere. Unfortunately, until the risk of infection is not a concern, he's had to put the kabosh on all visitors. This will continue while he's in the ICU. He may be moving to 5-East soon, and then he'll feel much better, but establishing a routine will be very important, with limited visiting hours, so he can focus on healing, recovering, getting acquainted with his wounded warrior brothers, meeting the dynamic and hard-working Care Coalition members who have yet to personally meet him while they've been working behind the scenes taking care of our many needs, and starting a PT regimen. Structure rocks!
I have so many people I want to thank, I don't know where to begin. England, Landers and Cnossen families for all their support, neighbors and friends who brought food to the farm to feed the SEAL team who initially spent time with us, SEAL teammates and USNA classmates and family members, admirals and their caring wives, Care Coalition team, National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda) staff, Westar co-workers who have sent countless prayers/cards/gifts/blessings (Jeff just told me today that Jeffrey Energy Center has Dan's pictures posted all around the plant and is doing a major chili feed fundraiser! How awesome is that!), in addition to numerous co-workers already easing my transition back to work in October. Countless blog comments and reminiscences of Dan left me speechless and very emotional. SHHS teachers and classmates cheering him on after all these years. Schoolkids making artwork and sending cards of love and thanks for service to country - these are going to decorate his 5-East room for sure, as well as the apartment! Churches all over the country that established prayer chains. Prayer blankets and specially made quilts to wrap Dan in love and care for his recovery and healing. Donations to help with unknown needs; clam chowder from Boston and even a bamboo plant to brighten our living space! Phonecalls galore and friends of friends who live in the area who've offered to take us out to eat, spend time, shop, get us out for some respite...and numerous folks who've flown all the way from the West Coast to check on their wounded brother and his family. Wounded warriors who have written and offered to act as mentors as Dan begins his long road to recovery and independence. The Navy that has repeatedly stressed they will stick with Dan the rest of his life, supporting him and giving him options once he knows the direction his life will take as he turns this new leaf. I have a tremendous respect for the military and their care for those who have sacrificed and served. They truly leave no one behind! The medical team at Nationa Naval Medical Center at Bethesda -- an awesome team of the world's best physicians and nurses and allied health professionals who spend a substantial amount of their precious time asking if we have needs, questions, how can they ease our transition into this vast, unknown new world. We stand in awe of them and their expertise treating the types of wounds they're seeing more and more in this dangerous world.
Let me indulge my Proud Mom streak just a bit now. We couldn't be helping Dan's recovery like this without Leslie's decision to devote her life to being with her brother, serving as not only his sister but his companion and care advocate. Many decisions will need to be made, and her help with these decisions will be invaluable to Daniel. She'll be great company for him as well, and her upbeat tone about everything life deals us is a treat to behold, keeping him in good spirits. He depends on her nursing knowledge and just plain common sense. She's a wonder on this blog and all the modern communications technology so necessary to keep on top of everything going on and coordinating what needs to be done on an hourly basis, it seems. God bless our children!
I also want to thank my husband Jeff for taking care of our home and farm while I'm here in Bethesda. His support means the world to me.
Daniel is in good spirits as long as he gets rest (and now, food and WATER! and other beverages he so loves, like coconut water and smoothies, not to mention his favorite papayas, kiwi, bananas, grapes, etc.). He has been so sleep deprived, and surgeries every other day take their toll. So, we do appreciate everyone's understanding of his need for privacy, rest, following doctors and nurses' orders and just plain healing over time. It's amazing how his body is healing itself in so many ways. We especially appreciate the special fancy air bed ICU ordered for his body, which just isn't used to spending so many hours flat in bed. The doctors are still working on pain management, and getting Dan off his epidural. He's had a consistent fever the entire time he's been here, and the epidural is the suspected source of the infection, so they're slowly weaning him off it. He's currently in surgery right now to stabilize the back side of the pelvis with surgical pins. Plastic surgery has been consulting on his inner thigh wounds - one leg should close and heal on its own, but the other will require skin grafts. Tomorrow he will go back to the OR again for more wound cleaning - this will be 3 surgeries in 3 days.
Well, dear friends, I hope I haven't left anyone out. We have been overwhelmed with your love, caring, concern, prayers and support. I KNOW all your prayers have been instrumental in Daniel's survival and now miraculous inner wound healing...they are making the difference in his very amazing recovery! God bless you all, and God bless our beautiful, wonderful country! We are so grateful to you and to the men and women guiding and protecting us. Thank you!