Be sure not to miss the last item! It’s precious… unless you’re adverse to kittens. Anyhow, it seems people enjoyed when I put together the top ten list last month. So much so, that I’d like to do it again.
- Hot Tub Lift. Ugh! Did you get that? Ugh, I say! This is going so mother-fuddruckin’ slowly. I thought the lift would be installed by now, but the red tape — on so many levels — is insane. It’s not like the funds aren’t available either, because people donated and Sue and I can cover for the balance of the full cost. I’m trying to run it through insurance, so I guess this is where I blew it. That, and I can’t seem to get the middleman to return my call. I have no idea if the insurance company was even notified. It doesn’t really matter because either the rehab agent or insurance — or both — could care less that we are willing to pay for it up-front and receive the (unlikely) reimbursement months later.
- Website Improvements. Hopefully I can do what needs done with minimal interruption, but plan on me taking down the site for up to a day or two. I am upgrading both the framework and theme, while optimizing and reducing the database. I expect it will improve performance, load much faster, allow more functionality, and have a different look… but not enough to become confusing. I’ll use Ryan’s Facebook Fan Page to let people know when this is happening.
- Kari Home for Thanksgiving. I am beside myself with excitement for my daughter to be with us over her “Fall Break”. She brings such positive energy, laughter, and love into the house. She is just so good for me. I never tire of her still calling me “daddy”. I just hope she doesn’t bring home a pet… more on that below in the final item.
- Infections. It has now been a full year since Ryan suffered from any type of infection that required oral antibiotics. The last was a urinary tract infection (UTI). It was the last one in what was a chronic condition; requiring strong antibiotics every four to five weeks. The last respiratory infection was over Christmas 2010; when he required hospitalization in the ICU for two weeks.
- Upcoming Tests. Bone density (also called a DEXI-scan) and a sleep study are in the process of being scheduled.
- Eyes. Last month we received support from a corneal specialist to take Ryan on as a patient. Thank you Dr. Hinkel for making this happen! This was huge, since the eye surgeon demanded this ongoing monitoring before even considering the possibility of relaxing the sutures in Ryan’s eyelids. Currently, Ryan’s eyes are sewn mostly shut (called a tarsorrhaphy) to protect them from “melting away”. You see, he is unable to close his eyes or blink consistently as a result of the brain injury. This exposure was causing severe dryness that was introducing infection and scarring. We are hoping that we can get at least one eye, and possibly both, 50% open. The visual stimulation is so important in his recovery, but the real possibility of losing his eyes is concerning.
- Grace Singers. The first concert Evidence of Grace, of their series directed by Paula Hamrick, was held at Hamlin United Methodist Church (Hamlin, WV). The next concert was November 10th at the Belle Meade United Methodist Church. The third, held this past Sunday, was at the host church, Community of Grace (Huntington, WV). This one was be streamed online and is now available. You can watch it in the video window (below) now or later for viewing anytime! Just to be clear, the following video is the property of Community of Grace UMC and I am merely embedding it directly from their website, as they allow.
The parts about Ryan and the Grace Singers are at the 15-minute mark, although the entire service is well worth watching. Over $2,700 was raised by the amazing people of West Virginia for Ryan’s needs. The performers are now working on a Christmas musical and we will be back in full force for Ryan in January. Hopefully, a Methodist church in Northern Virginia will invite them to sing a few more times and raise more funds! Please… please… please… contact me if you can make this happen and I’ll introduce you to Paula. Finally, Paula asks that you “keep praying and stay strong in the faith”.
- Four Year Anniversary. Thank you for being with us in spirit and word on November 7th, the day Ryan was so viciously attack four years ago. Sue, Kari, and I struggled mightily that day… and for days before and afterwards. My heart swelled with all those who changed their profile pictures on Facebook to Ryan’s logo. For those who unselfishly made donations. For those — over one-hundred thousand — people who remembered the day by visiting the website. Yes, because of you, Ryan remains relevant.
- The Violent Offenders. To my knowledge, neither Austin Vantrease nor Jonathan May, both of Newark, Delaware, have made any attempt to satisfy their court-ordered criminal restitution of over $100,000 since Felon Vantrease magically coughed-up roughly $40 right before his parole hearing. Jonathan May, from what I heard last, is lying low with his mother and step-father in Delaware. He has been employed for at least a year now (again, as I understand it). Austin Vantrease was moved from Huttonsville to the St. Mary’s Correctional Center (whose mission is to provide for the custody, control and care of convicted, adult, male felons who have been convicted of severe crimes against man or nature) following the denial of parole in July.
- New Addition to the Family. If you read my post Groundhogs and Butterflies, you know how much my family loves animals. We consider pets as an enhancement to the family, and even a unique part of it. Now, I know there are tons of you out their who refer to your pets as your child and call yourself mommy or daddy to them, but as much as we love them it just doesn’t reach that level with me. To me, pets are faithful companions that have my faithfulness returned to them. Well, except cats… let’s face it, their a bit self-centered. Or, that’s what I thought. We’ve had a cat for many years now. Kari and Sue “adopted” him from a farmer who brought him to the ball field where Ryan was playing and I was coaching. Ryan actually named him “Maddux” after the Atlanta Braves pitcher Greg Maddux. Turns out this tabby cat is every bit into himself, just like I expected. We love him anyhow. You know, like the way Sue loves me even though I’m much like egotistical cats.
Okay, so our daughter can NEVER be left alone in a pet shop. When Kari was young — ah, strike that — even to this day I would purposely avoid them. To do otherwise has found Kari walking out with whatever animal she felt sorry for. I kid you not, she once felt bad for a particular hermit crab (of hundreds in the cage) and before I knew it we had bought it… and a virtual crab castle. Of course, Ryan jumped at this and picked out his own crab and accompanying crustacean kingdom. Yep, we kept them right next to the goldfish Kari brought home from a carnival.
So, Sue and I were not the least surprised when she called us and told us she and another college roommate got a kitten. This was despite my advice to wait on getting any type of pet until after she graduates and settles in somewhere. Kari is ready for my resistance when she calls and she called it their “house cat” that would be taken care of by all in her college home. It’s the typical sob story. This poor feline was living in a cage for six months. No one is buying her. She’s doomed unless Kari comes to the rescue.
Then, not even a week later, she calls again. Turns out, the two roommates that bought this kitten didn’t ask the third. She’s not okay with it and goes completely bonkers. Oh, and the kitten hasn’t had any of its shots. By damned, seems she has worms too… because her poop shouldn’t be moving, I explain.
First things first, and that’s tending to the kitten’s health. Sue gives Kari our credit card information to use at a veterinarian to treat the kitten for the worms. Shots, we figure, can wait until she decides what to do with the kitten. Long story short, we took care of this (and spaying) right here because I went to Morgantown and brought the little puff-ball home. We couldn’t bear to return her to the pet store or just give her away. We named her Katrina, Kat for short. He middle name is Bob. She is now known affectionately as Kat Bob.
I’m telling you, it was one of the best things that would’ve happened that this animal made its way into our home.
This kitten is the most easy-going pet we’ve ever had. Better yet, she simply adores Ryan! She sleeps with him every night; from the time we get him into bed until we get him out. It’s just remarkable! Kat Bob snuggles into Ryan or curls up on his belly. She’s now at the point where she is waiting on the bed for us to bring Ryan out of the shower.
The greatest mystery is how she winds up with Ryan’s hand on her as they both sleep. Is she sliding under it or is Ryan aware enough to reach out to her? This, my friends, is what we call animal magnetism.
I could just check the video footage. Honestly, I really like not knowing. Because either way is the definition of the word “precious”.