Yawning is Good!

us marine challange coinSam’s medical status:  You would think a yawn would be the last thing to get excited about, but when we came in this morning to see Sam, the corpsman was very excited to tell us that Sam yawned! (this was the first time he has done that since he came to Bethesda). 

In the afternoon, there was a physical therapist working on Sam’s arms, wrist and fingers.  After he left, Sam kept moving his right index finger and thumb.  This kept going for most of the afternoon (another first).  He was also blinking his eyes quite a bit during the physical therapy—just the day before, he would open his eyes for a while during therapy but not blink. 

Later in the afternoon, a male nurse (Aaron!) was working on Sam and also noted that his pupils were “equal and brisk”.  When he checked Sam’s eyes a few weeks ago, they were “equal and sluggish”. 

One more improvement—when Sam coughed during the day, both his legs moved quite a bit inward in reaction to that cough.  I can’t believe the improvements he’s made since I saw him on Sunday evening.  He just seems to be having an overall increased reaction to pain and/or movement by the nursing staff.  

hospital corpsman challenge coin

Challenge Coins:  There is a tradition in the Marines and other branches of the military called “Challenge Coins”.   There is much debate as to the origin of the tradition, but the “challenge”, is that you must produce the coin if you are in a bar with others in your military organization, otherwise you buy everyone else in the group a drink.  But—the origin of the tradition goes much deeper than that.  The “Challenge Coin” was originally used to commemorate certain military events, organizations or people.  Erin was given a challenge coin by the assistant commandant of the Marine Corp and a few other organizations during her stay in Bethesda. 

Today, I was at the Navy Exchange at the hospital and noticed some challenge coins.  I’ve already mentioned how much I respect the Navy Corpsman for their courage and valor—and of course for ultimately saving Sam’s life.  I decided to buy a “Navy Corpsman” challenge coin” and keep it in my pocket with me at all times.  The coin is going to be my personal memorial to the one Navy Corpsman who died in the same IED attack that wounded Sam.  His name is Daniel Noble.  I plan to keep it in my pocket and when the opportunity presents its self, I’ll pull it out and show it off—and tell anyone who will listen about hero’s like Daniel, their job, and the special bond there is between the Navy Corpsman and the Marine. 


12 Responses to Yawning is Good!

  1. Ali says:

    I can’t wait to see Sam! I truly believe that all of his improvements are a testament to prayer. Imagine where he would be now if we had all given it up to fate instead of giving it up to God. I want to personally thank everyone who has visited this blog and prayed for Sam. There are strangers who seem to have made this their number one worry- that is so touching to someone who knows and loves Sam.

    Lord, we praise you for your mercy and you grace. Help us to not be put off by set backs or side-tracked by small triumphs. Help us to understand your plan and teach us not ask “why me?” but rather to ask “show me?”

  2. Liz Finberg-Timmerman says:

    Wow, i am so happy to hear this news. Everyday i get on this blog and see Sams improvements my faith gets stronger. I love Sam so much and I just cant wait to see him smiling again. I want to thank all of you who can be there with Sam holding his hand and talking to him, i so want to be there too. I also appreciate the story about the Challenge Coins. Just last night a new friend of mine showed me his Challenge Coins, he is in the Air Force. The story is good too. Its always nice to here when people get along. Here at home all I hear is my Army and Marine friends fighting about which is better.

    Much love to my other family! God Bless!

  3. Nicole Moen says:

    This is AMAZING news!!! I have NO DOUBT in my mind that Sam will wake up VERY soon! This is going to sound really wierd, but this is my story.

    I’ve always had a hard time believing in god, and I wasn’t ever sure of what to believe in. Now this is not true. The other night I prayed to God and I said “Dear God, please help Sam recover, please have him wake up and come back to his family and friends. I know God that I don’t know what exactly what I believe in, and there has been times where I don’t even believe in you. This is my test to you. Please show me some sign that Sam will be ok, that he will make it out of this, wake up and come back to us. God if you do this, I know that you exist and I will change my ways, and change my way of life”

    No joke, this is what I prayed for, and look what’s happening!!! Sam is getting better and better and having movement! I have no doubt in my mind that this was becuase of my, well everyones, prayers!!! I will pray everyday for Sam, Erin, The Neria’s and the Nichols! Hold on just a little bit longer and he will come back to all of us!!!

    Nicole Moen

  4. Carol Calloway says:

    I truly believe that our many prayers are being answered. This is confirmed each day when I read your blog. So each day I pray again and again for all of you and, most of all for Sam’s continued improvement.

    Nicole, you just keep believing! God has alot of good things in store for you if you are open to our loving God!

    Love and prayers to all,

  5. Shilo Marquez says:

    ahh! i want to hug erin ! this is so exciting! looks like that day donny spoke may be soon (*fingers crossed*)
    Love you both and all.
    Shi, Steve, And Isaiah
    The Marquez’s XOXO

  6. I love it when a plan comes together; God IS doing this; I know that He is knitting Sam’s body, and I just so look forward to a good report each day. Keep on keepin’ on.

    Ps 98:1
    O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

  7. Robin Sutcliffe says:

    I am so excited to hear such wonderful strides from Sam. He is showing everyone how strong he is. I have been a critical care nurse for 13 years and I see so many “responses” from patients that given families and loved ones false hope. I want you to know that, as an experienced nurse, Sam is showing true signs of improvement. Twitches happen but blinking, yawning, moving a finger over and over again after having therapy on those fingers, these things are true signs of improvement not false hope.

    I am so happy and overjoyed to hear such news. Thank you for allowing me, a stranger, into your life.

  8. Sami says:

    Praise God! Nothing more needs to be said.

  9. Bobbie Toyne says:

    So many good signs! I “ditto” Sami – “Praise God!”

  10. Erin Nichols says:

    reading the above entries just gave me goosebumps. Ali is right. We’re giving Sam’s recovery to God, and who better to take care of the son than the Father.

  11. Gordon says:

    That is great news!

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