Gelhar taking steps on long road to recovery
Throughout his days of playing hockey in Hastings, Ryan Gelhar seemed to have a different nickname every year.
He was "The Ox."
Then "The Wall."
Then "The Rock."
And now, his family just wants him to wake up and smile at them. If he did so today, on his 24th birthday, well that would be OK.
For now, though, the family waits. The doctors wait. The nurses wait. And, slowly, there appear to be some good signs. He has coughed, he has moved an arm and his eyes flutter. But nobody knows when he'll emerge from the coma. Nobody knows what will happen when he does. Traumatic brain injuries affect everyone differently.
Until Ryan wakes up, his wife, Heidi (Cordell), and his parents will simply be waiting. Most hours of the day, they can be found either by his side or curled up on a small couch in a waiting room. The waiting room is crowded with other people going through the very same thing.
Visitors have come and gone. They've left behind stuffed monkeys (Ryan's favorite animal) and a poster board filled with fun photos and inspiring hand-written messages. By the time he does wake up, it appears likely he'll have a room full of monkeys.
Early in the morning Sunday, Sept. 28, Ryan fell through the ceiling in a Red Wing garage. He has been at Regions Hospital in St. Paul since the accident.
Ryan's father is Mark Gelhar of Hastings. He is engaged to Belinda Tuckner of Hastings.
His mother is Nancy Olson. She is married to Daryl Olson of Ellsworth.
A Caring Bridge Web site has been set up. To visit the site, go to caringbridge.org/ visit/ryangelhar.
A benefit fund has also been established to aid the family with medical bills and bills at home. Ryan does not have health insurance. The fund is called the Ryan Gelhar Recovery Trust, and the account is at Wells Fargo.