Ten months after suffering a stroke Stu Shiffman is regaining his speaking ability reports Tom Whitmore on Stu’s Caringbridge page —
Stu is now doing almost all his communication by speech (rather than spelling things out). He’s still a little croaky, but only a little difficult to understand. He’s also continuing to work out a couple of times a week at the gym upstairs. He still can’t stand or walk, but they’re working on keeping his muscles in shape.
This is very fine news!
Fanartist Stu Shiffman’s recovery from last June’s stroke has entered a new phase. Tom Whitmore reported on Stu’s CaringBridge page that he’s managing to talk for several minutes at a time (despite still having a trache in place) –
A bit over a week ago when I was visiting, he managed clearly to say the number 6 while counting to 10 — according to Andi, he can now manage a lot of words in a row. We’re all very excited about this. His speech and respiratory therapists are continuing to spend more time with him just because he’s so responsive.
On Stu Shiffman’s birthday — February 12 — friends celebrated both the date and his continuing, gradual recovery from last June’s stroke. As Tom Whitmore told followers of Stu’s CaringBridge journal —
Stu is continuing to be off the ventilator for a part of each day — it varies a lot depending on how much therapy he’s had, and he’s the one who has to decide when he’s going to be on or off it. Which is pretty cool. He’s forming words well now with his mouth, and he’s starting to be able to write again — the words are sprawled and a bit difficult to recognize, but he’s using a normal pen and I could read a couple of the words Andi showed me from Sunday.
There’s new progress in Stu Shiffman’s recovery from the stroke he had in June. Despite a setback near the end of 2012 that required treatment in the Neurological ICU at HarborviewMedicalCenter, Tom Whitmore reports at CaringBridge he’s now back at Seattle Medical and Rehabilitation:
He’s in the same room, and they even left his drawings up on the walls. It’s definitely the right place for him, and he’s been doing so well that they’re going to increase the time he spends doing therapy, and work toward more abilities. Andi’s really pleased with the staff and the care there — they are always willing to take the time to give her a full explanation of what’s going on.
The ground that Stu had lost with the difficulty with the shunt (which is why he went back to Harborview) has all been regained. All the medical people are very impressed with how much he’s gained over the last month or so.
It’s a pleasure to hear that Stu is gaining ground.
Stu Shiffman, after a period of steady improvement while recovering from a stroke suffered in June, was returned to the Neurological ICU at Harborview on December 21 to determine why he was becoming less responsive.
Now doctors have learned the problem – serious, but not life-threatening – is a Methicillin-Resistant Staphlococcus Aureus infection in his throat. MSRA is a bacterium that is resistant to some but not all antibiotics. It’s treatable, localized, and not in any major organs or his brain.
Tom Whitmore also noted in his CaringBridge update, “Knowing what’s going on has given Andi some real relief. The medical team is not particularly worried about this, and that lack of worry means Andi isn’t worried.”
Stu Shiffman, who had been back in ICU for some days, has now been moved to a new long-term acute care facility, Kindred Hospital Northgate (in Seattle), that works with people with breathing and heart problems.
Tom Whitmore reports on Stu’s Caring Bridge journal that Stu is not on a ventilator and has been breathing on his own recently.
Stu Shiffman has been intubated again, after his breathing became erratic reports Tom Whitmore on Caring Bridge. Doctors also put in an arterial line for delivering drugs directly into his bloodstream so they can more easily treat his spiking blood pressure.
Shiffman has been in ICU since September 18 to monitor breathing, an infection and other issues.
Doctors have diagnosed Stu’s latest problem – the one that put him back in ICU – to be an infection of Clostridium difficile, a disease generally associated with having been in hospitals and on antibiotics. It usually reacts well to certain other antibiotics and Stu will be staying in the ICU for a little longer while they get that going. The infection is described as serious but rarely life-threatening.
Stu Shiffman went back into ICU on September 18 because there they can monitor his breathing and heart problems better than in Acute Care. Recently his heartbeat has been somewhat erratic and while his breathing with the use of his CPAP machine is usually fine, occasionally “things just go strange,” says his Caring Bridge journal.
Stu has been showing much more reaction since moving back to the hospital.
Andi Shecter would appreciate having visitors a lot over the next few days. She’s been dealing with her power wheelchair dying (she’s got a scooter she can use until they fix it, but still!)
Taral Wayne has produced a one-shot, The Slan of Baker Street [PDF file], that he hopes friend and fellow fanartist Stu Shiffman soon will be reading:
I don’t remember my first thoughts when I learned of Stu’s stroke. I doubt it was until the second day, or even the third, that I decided Something Ought to be Done. Since I was unable to perform miracles, I decided that perhaps a one-shot, get-well zine would help cheer Stu up, and aid his convalescence.
The Slan of Baker Street contains memoirs from Taral, Andrew P. Hooper and Rob Hansen, and artistic tributes by Taral, Sheryl Birkhead, Kurt Erichsen, Alan White, Steve Stiles, Brad Foster. Its grand finale is a gallery of Stu’s work from the Seventies and Eighties
I’m a big fan of the writing of Andrew Hooper: his contribution to The Slan of Baker Street shows why you should be, too:
The flights are as safe as one can make a ride in an antique airplane, but I feel just a little uneasy as I peer between the trees and clouds to see the tall tailfin float by again. Another flying B-17, Liberty Belle, made a forced landing in Illinois last year, and was totally destroyed by the fire that followed. Aluminum Overcast drifts overhead so slowly that it gives an impression of searching for something, like an aircraft lost in an old Twilight Zone episode, confronted with the 21st Century landscape below. These anxious fantasies come easily to mind this week, because I’m waiting for someone to get well, someone whose condition seems analogous to an aircraft trying to make its way home through a persistent fog. Stu Shiffman is one of my oldest friends in fandom, a longtime collaborator, correspondent and colleague.