Sam’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.
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.