Monday, September 21, 2009

I Could Drink Gallons of Water Right Now

Monday Morning:

With the help of a borrowed ipod and some Enya (I tell him that there's no shame in this), Daniel FINALLY got some rest this weekend...and he definitely feels the difference. He's perky and cracking jokes all the time. That IED certainly didn't take away his sense of humor. He's had a constant fever since he arrived in Bethesda, but no fever over the weekend, which is great.

We just saw him off to the OR this morning - more wound cleaning and a possible revision of the right amputation.

Above everything else, Dan's number one complaint is not being able to drink anything. They gave him a swallow test last week, which he wasn't able to pass (I think it's the first time he's failed anything in his life). He's not allowed to swallow any liquids right now. He's so funny - doesn't want to break any rules or get anybody in trouble. He "accidentally" swallowed some water the other day, and wondered if he should tell on himself. They're giving him another test this afternoon after surgery - if he passes, he can start drinking! He's staying well-hydrated through IV fluids, but his mouth and throat are so dry that he can hardly talk. The only thing that's giving him any comfort right now is taking sips of water and spitting it back out. He sometimes has difficulty with dexterity and holding things, because his left arm and hand are in a cast and he's hooked up to so much tubing. His good friend Rob put his engineering degree to use and rigged up a special cup and straw that Dan is able to use all by himself. We also brush his teeth about 16 times a day. Yesterday was a day entirely devoted to mental and physical preparation for this Swallow Test. Everybody say some prayers - this is a huge deal.

He is receiving so many cards and gifts every day and we can't thank you enough - they really lift his spirits. A special thank you to all of my mom's Westar friends...that was an outrageous envelope you guys sent! SHHS classmates' cards were also very much appreciated. Many of Dan's SEAL friends and their parents have also reached out to us, and we are so grateful for the support.

There are several other guys here in the ICU, like Dan, from all branches of the military, who have been injured in combat or have experienced recent illness. The camaraderie that we have established with their families during all these long hours in the waiting room is hard to describe, but very special to us. Please include these guys and their families in your prayers.

We cannot say enough about the Special Operations community - we love them all so much, because all they do is help us (and hug us a lot). We now have a car and an apartment near the hospital. Our new address is, and will be for a long time:

10301 Grosvenor Place Apt. 1610
N. Bethesda, MD 20852

I also want to apologize for not getting these updates out more frequently - my mom and I have humbly conceded to the fact that we can't figure out the workings of troubleshooting Internet connections - but thanks to our amazing helpers from Special Ops and the NSW Care Coalition, we're up and running now.

We've heard that people are praying for Dan all over the country and world - and you cannot imagine how powerful this is to us and to him. These prayers are helping improve his health and his spirit every day. Whether you support this war or not, please continue to support and pray for the men and women who are involved.

Dan has the best family and friends in the world - Thank you!!


  1. Though my only instance of not being able to drink was from a few weeks of cutting weight, not being able to drink water is not the deal. In addition to pitching in for a laptop, maybe we could get a humidifier, too! Stay strong. Dan is a lucky man to have such a powerful family.

    JD Donaldson

  2. Awesome updates! Thank you Leslie for keeping all of us so informed. Your buddies from Kansas continue to pray for all of you.
    Hugs to all of you!
    Carlene and all

  3. Praying fervently for Dan and an A+ on the swallow test.