Write to Dan

Mail can be sent to Dan at:

Lt Dan Berschinski
PO Box 4180
6900 Georgia Ave NW
Washington DC 20307


08/30/2009 Dear Friends, It means so much to me to be able to write to you all knowing how much you care for Dan. These last couple days have been really hard, but there have been some successes as well. Yesterday, at Dan's request, he was moved from the ICU to a ward. It's called Ward 57 and it is an orthopedic ward where he will remain until he becomes an outpatient. It is really nice in many respects. The majority of the personnel and all of the patients are Army. Everyone, including the nurses are in BDU's. The nurses are men as well as women. There's a lot of camaraderie. Dan was instantly more at ease and was able to sleep last night for the first time.

Bob and I are now in the "one here, one there" stage of our plan. I will be in PTC until Friday when I fly back to D.C. Next Sunday Bob will fly back to PTC so there will be someone with Dan until he is independent and someone here continuing the business.

Dan is working hard to articulate behind his wired jaw so he can talk. Bob will be setting him up this week with his cell and a "hot spot" for his computer. Right now, email is probably the best way to get in touch. I expect he will be able to get and receive email by Tuesday evening. Monday he is slated for more surgeries. Remember, Walter Reed has absolutely, terrible cell phone reception.

UPDATE Dear Friends,
Bob and I have been at the hospital for the last 48 hours. Our luggage has enjoyed our hotel room, but we have just gotten settled in for our first night here. Robbie is spending the night at the hospital tonight.
We cannot say enough about the care at Walter Reed. The wonderful, devoted staff from cleaning crews through to the nurses and doctors is amazing. Even though they treat wounds like Dan's every day we feel so individually cared for. The nurses never let down. They work round the clock for Dan's comfort and the Doctors are the best in their field but highly approachable and personable. They are always saying that it is their privilege to treat Dan.
It has been an exhausting roller coaster ride. The first phase was keeping him alive through the infections and fever he had contracted from the blast. There are bacteria in the soil that the Afghans have developed an immunity to over the years that is virolent to our svirulent They said it made MRSA look like a bad cold. Most of the wounded come home with it. Yesterday Dan had a high fever and had to have ice packs around him. But over the night the fever broke and it set the stage for the progress he made today.

Today the breathing tube, feeding tube, chest drain and assorted other paraphanelia came out - much to Dan satisfaction. He is not sedated at all and is managing to sound reasonably good through his wired jaw. It was wonderful to realize that Dan is himself. Still ironic and sarcastic with an original take on everything. Of course he is sad about his legs, but he is determined to walk again and will be with other soldiers in the same situation and they will be a great support for each other.
So, after a very rough 2 days we are heartened and relieved and know that progress is being made. Love, Susan

08/26/2009. We were met at the Regan airport by an Army representative and taken to a hotel where Robbie and Sabrina joined us. From there we went to Walter Reed. Walter Reed is a huge facility within the borders of D.C. Every inch of it is taken up with brick or concrete buildings. Dan is in the main hospital in the ICU surgical unit. He will be there for some time. I mention the construction, because the hospital is a concrete fortress and there is no cell phone service and no WIFI. We feel thrown back to the Dark Ages except for random computers we are able to access. Dan was evaluated and seen by different medical teams. Finally around 10:30 after a thorough description of his wounds and how he was being treated we were allowed to see him. He is still heavily sedated. His eyes did open and he responded to Bob's voice. He is in good shape for the bad shape he is in. He has a variety fractures - jaw, pelvis, wrist - but they will all heal. He is so wired up and tubed up that we could only reach over and pat his head and rub his arm a little. So much for the hug I thought I would be able to give. The first 24 hours are considered the worst. Many tests are being run by different medical specialists. We are staying up and here overnight. He'll have more surgery tomorrow morning and we will go back to the hotel at that time.

Folks, we keep thinking we know that this is going to be slow. But we don't know slow like it will be. It may be a week before he really knows we're there. Personally, I'm not leaving til I hear, "Hi, Mom" Robbie did a great job on the digital photo album. Thank all of you for sending the pictures in. We look forward to showing it to him. Love Susan

08/25/2009. Oh Happy Days! Dan is in the air to Walter Reed with an entire medical team at his side. Bob and I have a 1:20 flight to Reagan. We'll be driven straight to the hospital and meet Robbie and Sabrina there and be by Dan's side as soon as he arrives. We will have a REAL update tonight or tomorrow. Love, Susan

08/23/2009. Dear Friends, Bob and I got the best 4am call we have ever gotten. Dan was at Landstuhl and arrived in good shape. It's not U.S. soil, but it's not Afghan soil either. He will have surgery tomorrow morning (10pm tonight our time) and during the night we will be called with the results. We also hope we will hear whether he will be on the Tuesday or Thursday plane. The decision may not be a medical one, it may just be based on "How do the flights look". So we should not take it as bad if he does not get out until Thursday. If he leaves on the Tuesday flight, Bob and I will meet him at Walter Reed. If he leaves on the Thursday flight, Bob, Robbie and I will leave tomorrow to go to Germany.Either way we will be able to see him soon. Thank all of you for keeping up with him and staying in touch with us. For those of you who sent email notes, I have kept them in a folder for Dan so he can read them when he is able. Susan and Bob


  1. although we do not know you, we are standing with you . . .we have a son in Iraq currently and a future son-in-law leaving next friday for Iraq as well. . .we are praying daily for your family and Daniel. . Do you have an address where we can mail cards to Walter Reed?
    btw, our daughter is best friends with Michelle Ellenburg. . that is how we heard about Daniel. . it is a honor to be able to lift you guys up in prayer. .

    bonnie & todd huckabee
    San Angelo, TX

  2. Daniel, Susan, Bob, & Rob,

    We are so relieved to know that you are now in Walter Reed hospital. Everyone there is terrific. They truly put your needs first & will give you terrific care. Please know our thoughts are with you and you are in our prayers. Daniel, we loved getting to see you before you deployed and are anxious to see you again.

    You're in our prayers,
    Colleen & Mike Ellenburg
    (Michelle & Christine's parents)