Lady Gaga’s dog walker Ryan Fischer, who was shot in the chest when the star’s two French Bulldogs were stolen on Feb. 24, is sharing a health update on his rocky road to recovery.
Fischer reveals on social media that he was released from the hospital, where he had been an ICU patient, only to have a major setback. His lung wasn’t healing properly and collapsed, leading him to be readmitted less than a week later. He’s since had surgery to “remove portions of my lung,” as it wasn’t healing on its own, and he’s now recovering from that as well as the “emotional trauma” of being shot and left for dead.
Fischer shared a quote he was told in the hospital after he had been moved from the ICU and his recovery was progressing swiftly: “Recovery isn’t a straight line.” He said it didn’t resonate right away, but it does now.
That’s because, “I was recovering remarkably fast,” Gaga’s friend wrote on Instagram. “In days I had gone from bleeding out on a sidewalk, to overly-active ICU patient (which they were VERY not used to), to just waiting for my lung to heal so I could go home: everything appeared quite straight-forward.”
Once his chest tube was removed, which he compared “to an alien baby extraction,” and his blood oxygen stabilized, he was released and his “journey outside to recover with loved ones began.” He was optimistic. “I was prepared to quietly start a path to healing from the emotional trauma and continue on my way. Life would be back to normal soon enough,” he wrote.
But his health deteriorated, he wrote. “Unfortunately, the strange hissing and glugging coming from my chest every time I took a breath begged to differ with that assessment. A doctor visit and X-ray followed, and soon after I was whisked to the same ER where I had been only a week earlier: my lung had collapsed, and air was filling up my chest cavity. Along with accepting the news that I was about to be readmitted, several nurses and doctors told me how they had been in the room when I came in with my gunshot. How they didn’t think I was going to make it. My mind transported me to that night when I was evaluating the shock and concern on their faces as blood spurted out of me on to them, the table, and floor (and I tried to bring levity to the situation by making jokes and obvious statements like, ‘Well that doesn’t look good,’ as they raced around attempting to stabilize me), but to hear them actually say it… I had truly been confronted with my mortality.”
While hospitalized the second time, his lung collapsed again and again, he wrote. “It became quite clear that my lung was not healing, and the bullet wound had scarred my tissue like a burn. It could take months, if ever, for the hole to seal.” So the decision was made to “remove portions of my lung. As I was being wheeled into surgery, I finally accepted my recovery had become anything but a straight line.”
Fischer, who also suffered nerve damage in his right shoulder and tricep from the gunshot, is now back in the “outside world” again. And that’s its own journey as “triggers are real and working through trauma is WAY more than dealing with one unfortunate moment in life.”
In the video accompanying his post, Fischer changes from his hospital gown into his own jeans and top and gingerly dances around the room — not to Gaga, but Carly Simon’s “Coming Around Again.”
“I look back at my exit from the hospital and smile that I continue to approach each day the same way,” he wrote. “The journey is hard, it’s assuredly painful, and questionable choices that no longer serve me like wearing skinny jeans are made. But I try. And somewhere within that I find the absurdity and wonder and beauty this life offers us all.”
Fischer is the long-time caretaker of Gaga’s pets, treating them royally as she travels for work — including to Rome earlier this year, where she’s filming Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci. On Feb. 24, Fischer was walking the Frenchies — Gustav, Koji and Asia — when a white sedan pulled up, two men got out, shot him and tried to grab all three dogs. Gustav and Koji were dognapped and Fischer, holding Asia, was left screaming in pain on the sidewalk.
Gaga offered a $500,000 reward for the dogs, which were turned into police two days later by a woman who said she found them tied to a pole in an alley. The woman, said to have been “uninvolved,” per police, will get the reward money when the investigation clears her. The LAPD continues to search for the suspects, telling Yahoo Entertainment on Friday that there is “no update” on the investigation to share publicly at this time.
Fischer celebrated the return of the dogs, writing on social media at the time to Gaga, “Your babies are back and the family is whole… we did it! You have shown so much support throughout this whole crisis to both me and my family. But your support as a friend, despite your own traumatic loss from your kids, was unwavering. I love you and thank you.”
Gaga said Fischer was “forever a hero.”
Over the weekend, Gaga marked her 35th birthday — and shared a giant bouquet sent from boyfriend Michael Polansky. She wrote on Instagram, “I can’t wait to be home with you and our dogs, that’s all I need.”
On Friday, Gaga’s mother Cynthia Germanotta shared a post-dognapping update, saying, “Under the circumstances, everybody’s doing as well as they can and on the path toward healing.”
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