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.