Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Introducing you to DAN

"I've been thinking about all the things I'm going to do when I get my new legs. I've decided I'm just going to mess with people. I'm going to wear pants and shoes so nobody can tell that I've got prosthetics...and then I'm going to get them in all different lengths. One day, I'm gonna be 7 feet tall. The next day, I'm gonna show up and be 5'2". I'm trying to decide how tall I want to be, and I think 5 foot would be best because I'll have a lower center of gravity and will be way faster than anybody else. But then other days I'll want to be gigantic."

This is what my brother said to me the other day and I don't think I've laughed harder in my life. I will be SO happy if he actually makes that happen!

He had his final surgery yesterday (keep your fingers crossed!) put a skin graft on his left leg. They took skin from his right leg, the part that wasn't wounded during the blast, and attached it to the open wound on his left leg. The wound there was so large that he didn't have enough tissue to close on its own, so they had to borrow some from the other leg. He's in quite a bit of pain after this procedure - the donor leg feels like it has a nasty sunburn, and the receiving leg has shooting pain from his hip, down through his femur, to the end of his leg. His doctors are working hard to adjust his pain medication to give him adequate comfort at this time.

So now that this surgery is behind him, every wound that needed surgical closing is taken care of. Now he just has to focus on healing and regaining function in both his hands, and healing the pelvis before rehab can begin. He's still got the external fixator on, like metal scaffolding holding his pelvis together, and will probably have to have it until Christmas, when the ligaments and bone have grown back together. Then it's onward and upward to walking, running, and whatever else Dan's future has in store for him.

Another funny story I wanted to share with people - I wasn't in the room for this, but Dan's best friend Marty and his wife Erin, and his other best friend Niko told me afterwards - the other day, Dan had to get a couple units of blood transfused because his blood counts were a little low. As the blood was going into his body from the bag hanging on the IV pole, Dan started doing bicep curls with his resistance bands tied to the bed. He wanted to "introduce the new blood to what it's like to be inside Dan."

With all the changes that are going on, it's a good thing that humor is still there.

I hope everybody is having a great week - thank you again, and a hundred times over, for all the support, generosity, and kindness that you continue to show us.



  1. 6'4" dude! Seriously man, it's the perfect height. Not so tall that you need special clothes, but tall enough that everyone gets out of your way. It's great. But, your arms might look freakishly short at that height. It could be fun to see who would have the guts to say something though. Glad to see you are getting around brother.

    Polar Bear

  2. Love, love, love those two stories! Keep up the great work guys!

  3. Those stories were great! They made my day! :) Sending lots of good energy and prayers your way.

  4. Yes. Just awesome, and awe inspiring. Go get 'em, Dan!

  5. Don't listen to olgreydog7! I'm 5'2" and I'd never get out of the way of a 6'2er...believe me, at my height you can trip even a big dude and pretend it was an accident. Although olgreydog7 looks pretty big...not so sure I wanna mess with that ;0). The only downfall of my height, I do make a good armrest for people over 6' so that's something to think about. But even as an armrest, I'm short enough that I don't even have to duck on an airplane. Let's see olgreydog7 do that...haha!

    Dan, I love to hear your personality just seep through this crazy e-world. It brings me such joy and your family is so blessed to have a man with such an incredible outlook!

    Many prayers from Coronado. We pray for you multiple times every day!

  6. Dan,

    Hey man, here in Topeka KS, its rainy and glommy but your humor and awesome attitude shines all the way here brother. I even shared this blog with some co workers and they got a kick out of your ideas on the legs. I ll say this I am 6'2" and Heythere:0) is right shorter people do make for a good head rest but I like your idea of changing things up. Who ever thought you could be a part of both worlds. lol ... dude you crack me up, God bless and prayin for the people around you and your family. Luke...

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  8. I'm thinking a t-shirt needs to be made that simply says 'Introducing you to DAN'.

  9. Dan,
    Good to hear you are doing well. As far as the legs...I am 6, 3" and agree with Polar Bear's comments. One important thing to remember is at 6' 3" you can dunk it:)

    Curtis Jasa

  10. One suggestion - clear legs. Then if you wear shorts, it will look like you are floating. How cool would that be???

  11. Heythere, I got nothing but love for short people. Mom is 5'3" :)

    I think Francis had the best idea though!

  12. Totally agree with olgreyog7! Short mama's do rock and Francis is a genius mind at work! Great idea - like harry potter's cloak of invisibility! Brilliant!

    Hang in there Dan!

  13. What an inspiration you are Dan! First of all I wanted to thank you for fighting for our country. It's the men and women like you that make us a great country to live in.

    You should be recording your journey. You have a movie or at least a book you could write. So tragic yet so uplifting at the same time.

    How the world would be a better place if everyone had your courage and strength!

    Lord knows why these bad things happen to good people but you are facing your challenges head on and should be very proud of yourself.

    With all the hard work and your determination you will be back to living a full life in no time.

    I'm going to keep you in my prayers and while I can't really donate a lot of money to you I did make a small donation. Tell your family to get you a nice steak dinner with the money! You deserve it.

    God bless you and keep you safe.


  14. Hey Dan, Leslie and Alice:

    Just wanted you to know that you continue to be in my prayers and my thoughts. If there is anything any of you need please don't hesitate to call.

    Dan I never got to officially say hi, but I spoke with you when you first arrived at Bethesda. You were pretty heavily sedated but it seemed as though you were trying to open your eyes when I spoke to you and mentioned Marc. I left you his challenge coin and I know well the brotherhood thing and know even though Marc's final deployment has taken him further away then we can imagine, he is still encouraging and challenging you to even more amazing things than you have already accomplished. Besides that you and I have a date for a race when you get your prosthetics, better go for the 5'2" so I have a little hope that I might be able to say I can out run a Navy SEAL, okay, okay so maybe that needs to be 4'2"? Okay, okay so let me think I could! ;o) Love all of you. God bless, Debbie Lee (MommaLee)

  15. I love this post- thanks so much for sharing the stories, Les! And Dan, we all can't wait to see you running again- whether you're over or under 6 feet!!!
    Cheers and take care of yourself- Jenny