Before the attack, our family would save some money for a year to get something we would all enjoy. It had to support the family. Every spring we would discuss this and make a purchase.
When Ryan and Kari were in high school, it was actually Ryan who pitched that we get a hot tub. We all agreed and, as a family, headed out and found one that we loved.
We used it like crazy. Ryan was obsessed with it. I can’t tell you how many nights we sat in it… just talking. It was here that we planned our lives. From family vacations to what we all wanted to be “when we grow up”. Those hours in that hot tub were so instrumental in learning Ryan’s beliefs, morals, wishes, and values. He shared his deepest thoughts freely and the depth of his “soul” was something to behold. I’m really not sure there is any other family that is so well-connected.
Some nights we just told jokes. Others would be intense with topics like the existence of God, Hitler, other galaxies, consciousness, and even how we would want it handled if we ever found ourselves in a coma. That one, seemingly unimaginable at the time, all began when my wife, Sue, told of how she couldn’t wake herself completely the night before. She knew she was sleeping, but couldn’t snap out of it.
I think we’ve all experienced this.
Yes, it was in that hot tub that Ryan told us that he would want us to do everything we possibly could for him if this ever happened. I remember that night like it happened just yesterday. The winter air was crisp and the stars were especially bright in the night sky. I distinctly remember looking up at them, with my breath visible each time I exhaled, and praying for my family’s well-being. Anyhow, we promised Ryan we would always be by his side. We intend to continue keeping this promise.
When Ryan was attacked that hot tub was the furthest thing from my mind. When we returned home months later it hadn’t been touched. It smelled of neglect. An odor that was a mixture of pond scum and decay. One day I found the time to drain it. Since then it has sat idle.
That is, until last month.
Sue started pushing me to get it filled and heated. She wanted to figure out a way to get Ryan back into it. No doubt, it would help his muscle tone. It would give another level of relaxation. It would (hopefully) fire some neurons in his brain when he sensed the familiar enjoyment. So, I got to work on it.
It was very bit as run-down as I feared. The gaskets dry rotted in many places and it was leaking like a sieve. The unit would flip the electrical breaker the instant I tried to power it up. It was in sad, sad shape. So poor, in fact, that I nearly threw in the towel at least a dozen times. Fixing one problem would expose another. What can I say, it honed my ability to cuss like a sailor?
Over the past month I would work on it — on and off — when I had the chance. Sue begged me to hire someone but I wanted to take a crack at it (and save the money for Ryan’s other needs). I figured out the source of the electrical malfunction and remedied it. I disconnected just about every plumbing joint and resealed them. About two weeks ago I thought I had it fixed. Hell, I even paraded around the house like I was the end-all of fix-it men… proudly proclaiming “I got your tool belt right here!”. I went so far as to buy a $3 whimsical sign (see photo). It ran for a couple of days, then just stopped. I was at my wit’s end.
Then one day, a loyal follower of this website dropped-off some stuff for the parole hearing. I was causally talking to her about the hot tub and how I think it needs a specific part. I really didn’t expect her to know what I was referring to, but she identified the part… an “impeller”. I must have looked pretty damned silly to her with my jaw on the ground. I was impressed! Anyhow, she said she knew just the man who could help me get it working.
Long story, short. The impeller is just fine. The problem is actually the bearings for the re-circulation pump and we should be switching this out sometime this week. The hot tub is working (i.e., limping along) on these faulty bearings, but it’s only a matter of time before they give out entirely.Remember how I said earlier that fixing one problem identifies others? Well, that brings me to the next issue. There’s the issue with his g-tube. It must be sealed; completely waterproof. Else he gets treated (chlorinated) water into his stomach. The good news is that this is doable.
Okay, so the hot tub is (mostly) repaired and that is great! Half the problem is solved. Now… how in the hell do we get Ryan into — and out of — the hot tub? It’s a daunting proposition. We need to lift him from his chair, elevate him above the hot tub frame and lower him in. Sure, there are plenty of products out there that can do this, but they cost a small fortune. Even the cheap ones, that I would NEVER consider, start at over $1,000. A quality one will run around four-grand.
I could always break out a credit card. There is plenty of money in Ryan’s Special Needs Trust Fund to buy one. But, by now everyone knows that we do everything to preserve (and grow) the Trust. We want this available to Ryan for when we are unable to care or otherwise provide for him. Let’s face it, in the scheme of things, this fund doesn’t even come close to providing for him for very long. Still, your donations allow us to hold our ground. It’s the ultimate “pay-as-you-go” scenario. How many times have we teetered on financial damage and you have come to our rescue? Too many to even begin to recall…
As for credit, Sue and I are doing everything possible not to add debt. In every sense, our money is his money. We sink every extra penny into his care, comfort, and treatment. We no longer think about vacations, let alone retirement. Long gone are the days of the family saving up an entire year for getting something special every spring… like the hot tub. If only those little, ruffian pricks (in my opinion) would step-up to the $22 million in harm they caused.
They won’t, so it’s just the way it has to be. My family and those who rally around us must pick-up the slack. For clarity, as of today, “slack” = $22.1M criminal and civil claim – $84 criminal restitution = $22,099,916. Ouch!
I’m confident that the Jacuzzi will be operational sometime this month. So much so that I’d like to begin a targeted fundraiser. Oh, how I really hate asking for your help again! It’s humbling… mostly because I know you’ll do it. It embarrassing… being so damned needy.
Again, the aim here is to get a high-quality spa-lift while not using any money from the Trust fund. I’ll set the target goal at $4,500. Making a contribution is easy too:
- Scroll up. In the right sidebar (top) is an area titled “Easy Online Donations”,
- Click on “Donate” under the “One-time Online Donation”,
- Fill out the online form (either use a credit card or a PayPal account).
- In the memo/note field, just type “Spa Lift”.
I have provided a way to track this by using a thermometer graphic; also in the right sidebar. I’ll update this at least once everyday (this means your donation will not be shown immediately). Again, thank you! Thank you so much!