It’s true. Over the past month my focus was with the parole hearing, the civil lawsuit, and the Vantrease Propaganda Blitzkrieg. Sadly, I’ve had to deal with some very bad people and it has been prominent in my life.
A longtime reader and supporter of Ryan made a simple comment on yesterday’s post that made me think. She simply said, “Wondering how Ryan is doing these days” and nothing more. To her, I say, thank you. It made me realize just how long it has been since I wrote about Ryan specifically.
Ryan continues to be in excellent physical health. He works hard every day with therapies that keeps his body pristine. I admire him so much. He is up at six o’clock every morning and gets right to work. By noon he has:
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
- Infrared Helmet
- Leg Cycling (Functional Electrical Stimulation and/or Passive Pedaling)
- Arm Cycling (Functional Electrical Stimulation and/or Passive Pedaling)
- Vibration Therapy
- Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and/or Neuro-Feedback
- Standing Frame
Sure these therapies are all mechanical, meant to keep his body flexible, strong, and healthy… but the entire time I introduce sensory stimulation. It might be as simple as placing a baseball in his hand while stretching his arm. Or as complex as asking him to respond while using Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) when he’s upright in the standing frame.
I wish I had a definitive statement on this. It’s just so hard to tell. Sometimes I’m fairly convinced he is responding. Other times… nothing. It’s so inconsistent that to say one way or the other would only be a guess. I’ll give you an example. Just minutes ago Sue was talking to him and asked him to reply. He began “vocalizing” (which often sounds like he’s clearing his throat). Now, was he responding or was he clearing his throat? Will he do it again later and give us hope?
It’s just so damned frustrating to not know conclusively.
There are sure signs that his brain continues to heal. One is his core body temperature that his brain regulates. For the first year it would swing wildly. We checked it every hour because it could turn that quickly. It was up to us to step-in where his brain was not up to the task of performing a basic function of keeping him from either burning up with fever or freezing to death. We switch between ice packs and dryer-warmed blankets all day, every day! Well, over the last six months or so this has happened rarely (two or three times).
It’s a sign of the brain healing.
Another encouraging sign is he has been free of infection. Until late last year he was plagued with urinary tract infections (UTIs). Without fail, only two or three weeks would pass since he came off an antibiotic for one before he had another. This has stopped. At least for now.
I must be careful — while the civil suit is active — of what I say on the website. Be it good or bad news, attorneys will shape it into why my $22 million claim should be reduced. It’s just so wrong!
Also, I sometimes laugh when people tell me what this website should be about. Some tell me I shouldn’t even write about the violent criminals (Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May of Newark, DE). They wonder why I bad-mouth their families and support systems. I am told that Ryan wouldn’t want me to post about certain topics or show heart-wrenching photographs.
Yep, there’s no shortage of advice on how to run this website.I appreciate the advice. I really do. It’s almost always the readers who suggest successful changes to its layout (e.g., the new auction page, PayPal donations, Wish List, Guest Post, and the list goes on). I read every comment… every email… every text… every thing. This site continues to be in the top 1% visited in the United States because you see value in coming back to it time-and-time again. It draws as many as 70,000 readers on a good day. Millions have found their way to Ryan through this website because, without you, this would be just another website that tells of a tragedy with the purpose to drum-up donations.
I want it to this, sure, but so much more. It is the lynchpin in a social media campaign. It is the stage where content is the performance. It is meant to educate and entertain. I want people to laugh, even in the face of unimaginable travesty. I want my passion to be your passion. I want it to be real… and raw. It all comes back to one simple goal.
Keeping Ryan Relevant!
If making people enraged serves that purpose then I’ll damned-tootin’ do it. There are times when my words bring people to tears. Other times I can draw a good belly laugh. I hate writing about some things, but one only need look at the “Most Commented Posts” in the right sidebar to see what engages people. Eight of the top 10 involve conflict. Make no mistake, Ryan giving kisses is much more enjoyable to me than what readers are drawn to. I get it… the core readers (Team Diviney) are interested in everything, but what attracts others is the darker — but sadly, real — side of this tragedy. I use this to bring them to Ryan. I don’t pretend that everything is peachy-keen. It’s not.
There’s nothing mysterious going on here. I write about what Ryan and my family endures and experiences. Ryan is relevant not just because he is brain injured. This story (i.e., our life) involves recovery and tragedy, crime and accountability, caring and violence, hope and despair, love and hate, angelic and despicable characters, fear and resolve, strength and weakness, life and death, and every plot line of every story every told.
It is yet to be completely written.
The final chapter scares us all. Yet, we hope. You and I, well, we are stronger than our fear. I will, one day, write the last page and I know you will be there.
Have you read the book “The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up” by Rich Blake? Fascinating true story about a New York firefighter who was in a vegetative state after being without oxygen for 6 minutes. One of his doctors prescribed an experimental cocktail of medications, and Donny did wake up and talk to his family for almost 16 hours straight. Unfortunately after that he lapsed back into his former state, but still an amazing story and gives hope!!! You can google his name, if interested.
Ryan's Rally LLC says
I began reading it but never finished. The book is actually sitting about 5 feet from me. Someday, I hope, I’ll get back to it.
Take care, Ken, and thanks for your responses.
Rhonda Morin says
I am going to push the positive again. 🙂
I was reading last night about people that have been in the same state as Ryan for years and they are given an Ambien and somehow it wakes them up. Perhaps the connections in their brains had reformed and the Ambien just allows it all to work better. It was something about the gama that makes it work.
Have you talked to anyone or tried this or waiting to see if both sides of the brain start communicating? Some of the people that I read about didn’t have any brain activity so I am not sure that connection needs to be full documented.
Just pushing goodness to the top of the shiat! 🙂
Ryan's Rally LLC says
Yes, we have and we try it periodically.
Thanks for the updates!! It was fantastic to hear Ryan’s vocalizations. I believe he is definitely responding to your voices and presence.
I hate to go off-topic, but I noticed Austin’s sister has posted on FB “Some new info to share. Take a minute to read the eye-opening deposition that was recently recorded as part of the civil lawsuit against Austin.”
The deposition was nothing more than one person’s perception of the evening, he was not even an eyewitness to the physical attack. I think everyone realizes that smoking and drinking was going on that evening. (I’m sure on the Delaware side as well). Was that her point? Does she really think that gave her brother the right to hit and kick others in the head? Eh, I shouldn’t be posting this, but it really is unbelievable.
Ryan's Rally LLC says
H.D., a few items need corrected:
1. Ryan was not smoking marijuana that night, or at least 28 days leading up to the beating. His forensic lab results showed NO drugs in his system.
2. The Doctor reported that Ryan had only an inconsequential level of alcohol in his bloodstream.
3. The deposition she refers to is taken by a (suspected/known) drug abuser.
4. Here is who she is claiming has “eye-opening” information:
Whoa, Ken. Thanks for setting the record straight. In other words, the story she is trying to sell is a pack of lies. I am so sorry you and your family have to put up with her nasty behavior. 🙁
Rhonda Morin says
I am trying to push good articles up past the nasty stuff on the side bar but also to ask a question:
I knew I had read about Ryan’s eyes and there being damage if his eyes could not be closed. So you did the partial, it didn’t work, you did it again, was it finally done as a full closure? And where are his eyes now? When he is sleeping can you see them moving in REM sleep? My dog’s eyes twitch when they are dreaming and I am wondering if Ryan does this as well or if his eyes are not moving at all??? Can you do light therapy through his eyelids?
Also does Ryan have involuntary movements like raising his arms or legs… wait that isn’t right, does he respond to you asking him to raise his legs or arms or moving his hands, squeezing things? Has his brain not made those transfer connections yet?
And lastly, what is the vibrational therapy you are doing? What is it’s purpose and have you seen some results? Lotta questions, I know but I really want to know how he is doing. You are amazing with everything you do.
Ryan's Rally LLC says
It is still a partial, so he can still (hopefully) see through the small openings near the nose-side. Ryan’s eyes twitch and dart, so it’s difficult to say if this is happening during REM sleep. As for moving other body parts — like arms, legs, thumbs, eyebrows,etc — it the same old story of us not knowing what is responsive or what is just twitching (clonus).
So… The answer is maybe, or maybe not. This is what is so frustrating.
More on the vibration therapy in an upcoming post, but for now I know it is helping his flexibility. I’m targeting a frequency that might increase bone density, but won’t know until the next DEXAscan in the fall.
Rhonda Morin says
RE: vibration therapy – cool! Saying prayers to it working huge. He really is fit, you have done an amazing job. He’s probably more flexible than me!
I see about the movements, that is frustrating. Has anyone suggested flashing images that mean something to him? I know there are these goggle like things you can put on that flash images and they then monitor certain parts of your body for reaction. Usually it’s for sexual stimulus, what I have seen, but maybe ask the eye doc if that is something he knows anything about OR his neuro docs to see if they can measure the brainwaves with the images of family and things he loves.
I don’t know maybe it would help to get the brain to make those connections. ????
I was reading old posts about his eyes because I knew there were some posts and I didn’t want to ask a stupid question but I didn’t realize there was such a thing as a baclofen pump. Is he still having spasms or has all the working out stopped them? I know from my father in law they can be intense and even for a man that could not move his legs if my hands got under his legs and he had one, I could not get my hand out from under him until it let up. And for a man who couldn’t feel anything from his chest down he would talk about the intense pain in his spine from them.
Oh, and according to everyone, news, weather, schools, we are in the fall…. when it technically doesn’t happen until late September people!!! 🙂
Love to you all
You and Sue help keep me going. Alot is different but alot is the same. I appreciate your honesty and your faithfulness to your son. Alot of other parents would have given up and allowed others to care for their loved ones. I’ve seen wives walk away but I cannot do that! I hate bens and Ryan’s brain injuries, it has robbed them and those closest to them! It’s a hard hard life we live and no one will understand what we walk through every single day. Your faithfulness to Ryan helps me stick with it with Ben….well and my deep love for him! We all continue to fight together!
Jenny Kuhn says
Ken..Your post is spot on in all ways, are we a society that thrives on the bad and the ugly-but through your website and your love for Ryan..have brought so many to his story because we are engaged by what you have to say and because we want to help keep Ryan relevant! Its not about anything here but Ryan, what he went thru and where he is now! I am a complete stranger to the Diviney family…but was drawn to Ryan and his story because someone shared this link on FB…and that is because of you, his parents…the ones who love him unconditionally. We do anything we can to protect our children and I love that about your family. Keep on blogging, sharing pics of Ryan, keeping us up to date on the trials and tribulations and updates with the trash who caused this. Much love and many prayers from Ohio.
Jeremy Smith says
I remember when you guys were having to forcibly shove things down Ryan’s throat to make him cough, so I’m happy to hear about his volcalzing.
I love your post today, Ken! It’s a beautiful piece of writing all the way around. Ryan is definitely in a far better place than he was 3 1/2 years ago. This of course is a direct result of you, Sue and Kari never giving up on him. He is such a handsome young man – and I can see in the pictures how his physical being has wonderfully improved. I am praying you receive enough donations to get Ryan into the hot tub for water therapy – I am sure it will help him relax and ease any stiffness his muscles may have.
I’m not a speech therapist, but to my mind if someone speaks to Ryan, and he responds to them, he is attempting to dialogue. If he just made sounds randomly, I might be less confident that he is trying to communicate. But if Sue asks him a question, and he vocalizes back to her, it seems he is replying. I’m hoping he may do other things that signal he’s alert. And shame on any person who would even consider reducing the amount of the civil claim just because Ryan demonstrates a measure of improvement. They should be rejoicing that after three and a half years, Ryan is slowly emerging from the brink of death!
Here’s to the power of faith, hope and love – and never giving up. All of us will someday have to contend with that last chapter in the book of life – and Ryan will know he lived in a way that made a positive impact on so many people. He will know he conducted himself in a way he can be proud of. Between now and then he will continue to inspire and touch the lives of countless people. And as the song goes:
Long may you run
Long may you run
Although these changes
With your chrome heart
Shining in the sun
Long may you run
Sending you new hope with every dawn, and prayers for peace at every sunset
Love & hugs, Paula
Ann H Tearle says
You may be surprised by the last post you write Ken……..it may be a happy, enduring one you never dreamed could be. I’ll keep praying…you keep doing the heavy lifting. Ryan is amazing, as are you, my dear man. I liked Sam’s post, “humble, proud Papa post.” I am amazed also by the suggestion of a psychic. I had gone to one (who was recommended by a friend) for many years (now retired) who never gave me any incorrect or misleading info, and in fact, gave me chills sometimes because he mentioned things he had positively no way of knowing; raw, emotional, detailed things. Would be interesting if such a one could be found again, for Ryan. SHSP NGA ever, Annie
The human body is amazing. I do look back now and remember reading about your dip sticking the urine to check for any signs of infection, the crazy temperature changes, and the tumultuous time in the beginning of Ryan’s recovery. How far Ryan has come! Keep up the good work Ken, Sue and Kari.
I think you do an amazing job with the site. I rarely or never have commented but I read your posts without fail. People need to read the bad with the good and we are lucky you share it with us. So thank you!!!!
Dave Chagnon says
There are so many people in this world who don’t think they are responsible for their actions. Unbelievable!
Jan Farrell says
You and your family are amazing. <3 to Ryan.
I adored this post. I’ve been missing Ryan updates. It’s just so full of your amazing son. A very humble proud papa post. Thanks for sharing.
I read it, i may not comment, but i sure hope things get better for you and your family..
Thanks for the Ryan update Ken. While I’m on your site everyday, sometimes more than once, I appreciate all of your emotion when it comes to the pain endured at the hands of these low lives. I remain hopeful and supportive of Ryan and your family.
Lynn McKnight says
Keep up the good fight for Ryan & your family!! Always remember without hope, we have nothing. Keep the hope going! Love. Prayers. Peace.
Rhonda Morin says
Whoa! I am stopping you with “the final chapter” THAT IS VERY VERY FAR AWAY! That boy whether he is doing it himself of because of the stimulation you are using is in better shape than me and I am *sometimes* conscious of what I am doing.
I have wanted to ask you to create the plan you use for him from food to workouts because I want to be as fit as he is.
I never even thought about the temperature part of it. I have only worked with the brain working but not being able to get messages to the body. You keeping him free of UTI’s IS AMAZING BEYOND BELIEF! That is a huge undertaking. Congratulations!
I asked once before and I will ask again, would you be open to a psychic that can communicate with Ryan? I had a woman communicate with my dog. She flipped me out because we had joked about what her name would be had she given it to herself, and being a Cuban dog, we joked and called her Sarafina. But we let it slip our minds and could not remember what we joked about. When the psychic came out I asked her what Bailey wanted her name to be and the psychic came back with something like Warafina. My husband and I almost dropped to our knees. See when we joked that she would call herself Sarafina she had a very bad ear infection that was completely blocking her ear canal. If you heard the name Sarafina through muffled hearing you would hear Warafina. We laughed but were spooked as well. My little Bailey has a twisted sense of humor, just like her parents. So my pet’s pet name is Sarafina.
I think being able to communicate with him in other metaphysical ways would help him as well as you. He could tell you what his body needs, what he wants-I bet a good cold brew, and he could thank you for what you have done for him, and even maybe tell you how to help him wake up to a consciousness that we know.
I am so impressed by what you have done for him. Keeping him updated on sports, current events…. I wonder if he would want to watch some of that trash TV that is on. ??? Ask him then tell us about it.
Gail Doyle says
No matter what you write,It’s still about Ryan
and we will do our best to keep Ryan relevant!