A Good Day

The last time I had Ryan in the improvised standing frame was the week before Christmas. He was miserable. His pulse was around 170. His respiration was fast and shallow. It was a disaster.

Ryan's Improvised Tilt Table (from 12/2010)

What a difference between then and yesterday. He was so calm, at times, I thought he might be enjoying it. I must be making some progress reversing his foot drop (although I can’t see it), because the ankle harness can be pinned down further.  I left him in this standing position for almost two hours and talked to him. Talking is something I do all day. I want Ryan to know, if he is able, that I am right with him.

If he understands, he surely thinks I’m crazy. I’ve developed a potentially hazardous habit of thinking out-loud. It’s gotten me in hot water from time-to-time. How many husbands are told by their wife, “We want people to like us. So, no talking about watching porn in your underwear and smoking cigars today!”,… or “you intimidate the doctors.”,… or even more broadly “you scare people.”?

Sorry, I lost my filter at the ICU entrance of WVU Ruby Memorial Hospital on November 7, 2009. If found, consider giving it to the Vantrease Family.


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19 Responses to A Good Day

  1. Jo Hobbs says:

    Ken, we love it when you make us laugh! When the Winter bugs have left the area, there are many of us who would love to come over and read to Ryan and talk with him (I say “with” knowing he will speak to us one of these days!). Most of us know all about the required protective garb, and we are quite willing to wear it for his protection from germs and viruses. Just let us know when he is ready. When he’s ready, we will come! Hope this is a good day. Still here.

  2. Bobbi Doherty says:


    I love your sense of humor through all of this… We like you because you are who you are! When I read the post article I laughed and cried all at once. I thought the porn comment was classic! So, happy Ryan is adjusting to home.

    By the way, you should consider writing a book 🙂

    Stay Strong Diviney’s

  3. Cass says:

    You don’t scare me at all! 🙂
    Hugs to everyone,
    P.S. I’m so happy to hear Ryan is coming back. I knew he would!

  4. Paula Yocom says:

    …chuckle…the winter blues has struck me hard, but reading your post this morning was like a breath of fresh air — thanks!! I know Ryan can hear you, and I think he’s just so grateful his Dad is right there, talking to him, not leaving him in silence to feel lonely. Instead, his Dad is right there, wow, if there was ever a blessing in any of this, that is it. Producing a book of your experiences would be make for a fascinating read, but, moreover, it would be a public service. There are so many out there whose lives have been shattered by violent crime, but they don’t have your fortitude nor your perspective — they would benefit from your words, I believe. Here’s to hoping that you and Ryan continue to enjoy a smooth day. And, of course I am still holding you, Sue, Ryan and Kari close to my heart in prayer. Love, Paula

  5. Will says:

    I continue to pray for Ryan and for his family. God you are the giver of strength, hope and love send these your gifts to this family.

    Please continue to talk to Ryan. I really believe he can hear and understand. There have been many studies to indicate that this is possibly true. So continue to talk to Ryan and include him in all family activities.

  6. Grey Hubler says:

    I’ll send some Cuban cigars Ken!

  7. Anna says:

    Ken, now I know where Ryan got his sense of humor! Jonny said he is one of the funniest guys he knows. I love some of his stories about Ryan and Duke, especially the one of Duke begging food and what Ryan says to him. Keep up the talking outloud, and Sue don’t worry we all LOVE Ken, who wouldn’t love a father like him? Let him intimidate the doctors, as a nurse I find that great! Most folks feel intimidated by the doctors when they are just regular people in the business of practicing medicine, just like an accountant, or a cashier, or a health club manager. All people who have a job have a speciality, theirs just happen to be in medicine. challenging them makes them think and become better doctors. Keep up the good work Ken, and keep laughing and talking outloud it keeps you sane!

  8. Jill in Morgantown says:

    You are amazing!!!!!! I love your sense of humor. Vantrease might have taken a lot, but he didn’t take your spirit!!!! Ryan is a fighter and I GUARANTEE he is fighting because of the love and devotion your family shows every single day. He knows he’s got a lot to live for. I agree with Anna……keep those doctors on their toes. You never learn if you don’t ask questions. As a health care provider I’m sure Anna will agree with me, if the doctors feel threatened or intimidated by you then they’re not on top of their game and shouldn’t be taking care of patients in the first place. Still here and praying in snowy Morgantown

  9. Sense of humor is surely good medicine. Keep up the good work Ken. Ryan can hear you. He’s making excellent progress. More progress to come.

  10. Carla Liberty says:

    Ok Ken, I’m going to sound like the proverbial broken record here, but I agree with all of these posts. (A) you are an AMAZING writer (B) your sense of humor is refreshing (C) take note on A&B above: my dad wrote a book to pass down to all of us – all from keeping letters, writings, etc. from days gone by. It has been a cherished possession of mine. I know Ryan and Kari would love it, as would Sue and the rest of your extended family and friends. This may all be redundant and you may have something in the works. If so, humor me. I think you’re pretty spectacular!

    Shout outs to you, our boy Ryan, Sue, and Kari. Your love/courage/stamina is an inspirational.

    ❤ carla
    PS: Crabcake Sunday, yes! ❤ rkd

  11. Carla Liberty says:

    ***oops typo……. delete “an”.

  12. Greg Wells says:

    Sweet! Nothin like a good day.

  13. Debbie Blankers says:

    Ken, I know Ryan knows that you are right there with him and have been since November 7, 2009. What an amazing “Papa Bear” you are. That is so wonderful that you are always talking to Ryan. I’m sure he loves it. I must also add that you are a brilliant writer…yes you are! You write from the heart. Its as if you are talking right to my face. I am so glad that Ryan is having a good day today. You made me laugh out loud today with those comments that get you in hot water from time to time! Lots of love to you, Sue, Kari and Ryan……also Duke and Tucker. XOXOXOXO

  14. sally ellis says:

    Ditto to all of this.

  15. deb okane says:

    Ken, glad to see that today was so great and it even gave you a laugh for a few minutes of your day. Sure made me laugh

  16. Susanne says:

    Today’s post and the responses are priceless! Ken, I loved your comments and the chuckles it brought from yourself and everyone else. We’re trying to brighten your day and your good news from today lit up everyone’s faces. Isn’t that the way it goes? Just like your comments about planning Ryan’s schedule for the day, and God reminds us that He’s in control! You continue to provide fantastic care for Ryan. Never forget how special your family is and how grateful we are that you graciously allow us into your lives. Keep talking….We’ll keep praying!

  17. Keith In Morgantown WV says:

    I just Love to read the info you give us all Each day! I am with Jill because Ryan is Fighting because the Love and Support that he has of His family. I am Just glad that each day theres improvements. I know theres gonna be a Miracle out of this and I am holding onto that! God is With You All!!! My Prayers goes Continuous to You all! Keep Your Head High because theres a Bright Future in sight! God Bless

  18. Hi. I am Sam’s newest friend here in chilly MN. I know how much time and energy that it takes to get someone in a stander and you are awesome. Two hours is sooo good for Ryan! My Thomas cannot use his stander anymore- his bones are too fragile. Ryan is going to be ready to run a marathon the minute that he wakes up with the therapy that his family provides!!

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