stroke recovery

On Automail Recovery Times

A limb amputation takes 4 to 8 weeks to heal. While port surgery can happen after the initial injury it’ll still involve a very large wound, so we can use that as our guideline for the surrounding flesh and skin to recover. (If anything, having a big foreign object in the way may make it take longer.)

Conventional nerve injuries come in multiple types. The most minor, neurapraxia, takes anywhere between several days and three months to heal. The others are listed as ‘much longer’, but I haven’t found much about recovery times for severed and surgically rejoined nerves because it seems to vary so much by technique and location, but sources suggest nerves heal at about an inch per month and I’ve not found anything that suggests less than a month recovery time, so let’s take 4 weeks as our minimum.

These days most pins used to fix broken bones are made from titanium or a titanium alloy. This is because the surface structure of titanium tricks the body into thinking it 'belongs’ and allows the bone to fuse itself to the metal, a process called osseointegration. Once the process is complete the metal cannot be removed and the join is just as strong as natural tissue, which would be ideal for automail. However, just as broken bones can take a long time to heal, so it takes time for osseointegration to finish. A decent strength can be achieved by 12 weeks and full bonding by 16.

We’re told that automail is heavy; you probably don’t want to be attaching a limb until you know that the port can support it without the patient suffering any damage. Something small like a finger (…do automail fingers exist?) will take at least a month before the nerves are ready and nothing will start bleeding, while for something like a limb you’ll want 3 to 4 months for everything to settle and to make sure the screws attaching the port can hold the automail’s weight.

Figuring out how long it takes to learn to use newly attached automail is trickier. Neurogenic muscle atrophy is what happens when nerve damage results in an unusable limb (as opposed to disuse atrophy where the limb is unusable for physical reasons and is less severe) and once you fix the underlying causes takes at least 12 weeks to fix. Stroke recovery starts around this time bracket and up. Modern artificial limbs take 6 to 12 months to learn. Taken together, we can estimate at least 3 months for gross controlled movement (ie no longer smacking yourself with your own arm or able to walk a few steps without face planting), 6 months for being able to do general tasks like walking without crutches or putting your clothes on (but probably not doing up your buttons) and 12+ months for full function. It’d also take around 6-12 months to build up the increased muscle mass to compensate for the heavier limbs and to adapt to your changed gait and balance.

That means for most adults automail recovery times are going to start at 16 months and go up from there, with longer times if one can’t get as much physical therapy. Ed managed it in 12 months and it can be assumed that more limbs equals longer overall recovery time, which is impressive. He did have two advantages though: firstly that he was still a kid at the time. The slow part of port recovery is the osseointegration. But children’s bones heal about twice as fast as adults and a smaller limb means lighter automail, meaning he’d be able to be fitted after 2 months instead of 4. His other advantage is living with the Rockbells and having constant access to people who can help him with his physical therapy, letting him cut 12+ months down to 10.

Lan Fan is another matter. She doesn’t have the advantage of youth (by mid teens bone healing rates are rapidly approaching adult ones) and even if she pushed herself to start rehab early using some additional limb support 3 months is just not enough. However! She does have another form of cheating: namely, medical alkestry. If someone could help her heal faster she could get her automail attached earlier. Even at 6 months she’d not have full usage of her new arm though nor time to finish building up the muscle strength. It’s likely her fight wrenched some muscles in her shoulder and that she was using her other training to compensate for not being able to hit precisely where she was wanting to slash. (And against a homunculi lacking vital organs and instant kill locations, sheer weight of slashes is what will do the trick in the end anyway.)

Interesting side notes: nerve healing requires increased Vitamins D and E, copper and selenium. The latter 3 can all be found in sunflower oil, with liver and nuts also being good sources. Patients recovering from automail surgery probably snack on a lot of trail mix and get put in deck chairs for a few hours a day. Rush Valley seems likely to have some nice relaxing parks with the odd sets of parallel bars for outdoor therapy.

The most widely used test of osseointegration progress is percussion analysis, where the external part of an implant is tapped with a dental tool. The pitch and tone of the ringing tells you how stable the implant is; still healing implants sound dull and low pitched while a fully healed one gives a higher pitched crystal ring. Mechanics performing port surgery are likely to have a good musical ear. Imagine apprentices learning the glockenspiel as part of their studies. Rush Valley probably has a nice glockenspiel orchestra.

For those of you that dont already know, this is my sister.

She had a stroke in March 2011 and now cant speak.

But that doesnt put her down, she smiles for a reason. love and family kept her happy <3

and we have ALOT of love for her :)

im so thankful i have her. yea i cant hear her voice ever again, but i have her love with me :)

i miss her voice. shes my only sister. she is my best friend.

and the guy next to her, is her husband “/

p.s. a year ago she was pushing almost 400 pounds…. she is 200 now :)

and still dropping pounds <3 :)

That last headcanon was inspiring so I wrote you a fic

Matt Murdock had a list that he kept in his head. It occurred to him that there wasn’t much that could truly scare him anymore, and when something did scare him…well, he made a mental note of it and tucked it away. He liked to be aware of these things. It helped keep him grounded, somehow. It reminded him of what was important.

The day Foggy collapsed in court  was damn near the top of that list.

Matt couldn’t help but blame himself just a little bit when it happened. He felt the fever on Foggy’s skin that morning (even thought it was a low-grade). He noticed when Foggy hadn’t touched his breakfast at all, or even his coffee. Matt tried to convince him to take the day off because he hadn’t been feeling well all week and would resting be such a bad idea?

 Foggy insisted that he would be fine. He was just a little under the weather, that was all, and kicking some corporate ass in the courtroom was just the pick-me-up that he needed.

 Foggy had the floor. Matt heard the slight hitch in his partner’s breathing in the middle of his opening statement, and had to force himself to stay sitting until Foggy was on the ground (can’t act suspicious can’t clue anyone in oh God Foggy please be okay), and surged toward him. People were already dialing 911. Dropping to his knees beside Foggy’s head, he was greeted by the sound of harsh, heavy breathing.

“Foggy. Stay with me, okay? That’s all you have to do, just stay with me.”

A siren wailed nearby.

It was his appendix, of all things. Foggy had been in immense danger since the day Matt put on the mask, and he’d almost been taken away by a stupid, inflamed organ that was roughly the size of his index finger. Life was funny like that.

Matt contemplated this as he sat by Foggy’s in recovery, stroking his boyfriend’s hair away from his face. Karen had fallen asleep in the chair on the other side of the room about an hour ago. Matt focused on the sound of oxygen flowing through the thin plastic tubes of Foggy’s nasal cannula. A friendly nurse assured him that supplemental oxygen was a standard post-op procedure, nothing to be worried about, the operation had gone as smoothly as possible under the circumstances of a ruptured appendix, Foggy would be fine (albeit sore) and was actually quite lucky.

Matt held on to her words as though they were a lifeline, replaying them in his head over and over again. It was the little things.

He didn’t realize that he’d zoned out until mumbling from right next to him snapped him out of it.

“You’re an angel, right? Or something like that. Does this mean I’m dead?”

Matt smiled. “What brought you to that conclusion?”

“You’re an angel,” Foggy said dreamily. “You have to be. You’re so beautiful. Angels are beautiful.”

Matt laughed heartily and pressed a kiss to Foggy’s temple. “I’m your boyfriend, and you’re a dork.”

Foggy took a minute to fully absorb this information. “Oh man,” he said. “I hit the jackpot, didn’t I? Are you like a…a trophy boyfriend?” This earned another belly laugh from Matt.

Neither of them noticed that Karen had woken up, and was recording the whole exchange on her phone.

I got new occupational therapy supplies today. And by that I mean I bought Legos. Because Legos are essentially an infinitely reconfigurable, reusable 3-D puzzle requiring spatial reasoning, fine motor skills, and the ability to read and follow directions so they count as occupational therapy, right? If only I could use my HSA to buy them.

Beside You

“You’re going to be okay,” Harry whispered, pressing a kiss to the side of your head. You made some inaudible mumbles before turning your back to him, your throat tight and uncomfortable. “You heard the doctor, you have every chance of making a full recovery.” He stroked your hair, trying to sooth you the best he could.

You were going in for surgery the next morning and you were absolutely terrified. You’d been a healthy kid growing up and had only been at the hospital when your siblings were sick. Hospitals scared you and being unconscious while people were cutting into you was unimaginable. You’d woken up just a little bit earlier that night, screaming from a nightmare, and woken Harry up with you.

“It’s going to be alright.” His arms wrapped around you, pulling you in tight to his chest. 

“I’m scared, Harry,” You mumbled, turning in his arms to bury your face into his chest. He held you tighter, placing soft, gentle kisses to your hair. That’s how you fell asleep that night, and you slept comfortably until morning.

In the morning, you dressed in soft sweatpants and a worn shirt and sat at the kitchen island, drinking water and watching Harry eat his normal breakfast of cereal with banana.

“You’ll be there when I wake up?” You asked on the car ride to the hospital. Harry was driving with one hand on the wheel and the other tight in between both of yours.

“You know I’ll be right beside you.” You worried the entire way to the pre-op room. The nurses let Harry stay with you up until you went into operation, so Harry was sitting next to you and squeezing your hand gently as the inserted the IV in your arm and the anesthesiologist started you off. You drifted slowly, the anesthesia kicking in and Harry standing next to you just smiling.

“Stop being so tall,” you grumbled, swatting at his leg. He stared at you for a second before getting down his knees and resting his chin on the edge of your bed.

“Better?” He asked. You glared at him for a minute, your vision blurring a little.

“Weirdo.” That was the last thing you said to him before you went under. You had no memory for the next six hours. But when you woke up, Harry was next to you, sitting in one of the uncomfortable hospital chairs you normally occupied, dozing lightly.

“Hey,” you croaked, your voice barely audible.

“You’re awake!” Harry jumped, grinning that stupid wide smile.

“You’re still too tall,” you teased, stretching out your muscles slowly and apprehensively. They were stiff and full of kinks so you went as timidly as possible, just trying to make sure everything was in order.

“I talked to the doctor about shrinking surgery, but apparently the technology isn’t quite here yet.” He seemed genuinely apologetic which had you laughing. Once you started, it was difficult to stop and Harry began laughing at your laughter. When you two both finally calmed down, he moved up onto the hospital bed to lay next to you.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, running his fingers up and down your arm in a soothing motion.

“Not sure…” You rested your head on his big wide shoulder and sighed. “You stayed here the entire time?”

“I stayed right where I belonged.” He turned to press a kiss to your forehead softly. “Beside you.”  


Someone on different strokes recommended people start filming the techniques the use for daily tasks, so heres my technique for getting in and out of the bath, hope it helps someone develop their own technique. PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOUR SAFETY OR HEALTH AT RISK BY TRYING TO COPY THIS, I believe you will know your abilities and it took me months of practising before I could do this with water, so practice first fully clothed, with any supports/shoes you need on and someone close by to help if you need it and when you feel confident, lose the shoes/support, then eventually when you master that try it without anyone in the room, and you will know when you are ready to take a bath. good luck! 


For everyone that was ever told they wouldn’t improve after their first year of stroke recovery…


I am so so proud of him. A few years ago my grandpa had a massive stroke and has had, if I remember correctly, a few smaller ones and a number of seizures ever since. He struggles to walk, go to the bathroom or bathe on his own, his speech has been very slurred and he gets really confused at times. There was even a point that he forgot that he and my grandma were divorced. :’( He had to relive that all over again from his hospital bed.

(She’s been with him helping to take care of him and stuff since her second divorce but he still had to go through all of the emotions with finding out that she was no longer his wife, hadn’t been for many many years and had, in fact, already been married to and divorced from another man.)

He’s always been such a strong man and hard-worker. He had his own construction company and traveled all over the country building mansions and restaurants. After his stroke he wasn’t able to do that anymore. It was hard seeing him going from being so independent and busy to being so weak and seeming so vulnerable. He lost his physical independence but not his stubbornness and it gets him into a bit of trouble. He’s convinced that one day he’ll be able to go get his driver’s license again and even go back to work at construction sites. I’m glad he has goals and I hope that some of them may even come true for him one day. Who am I to say he can’t do these things? My only hope is that, as hard-headed as he is, he notices and treasures the SMALL steps he’s making too. This little card attached to my Christmas gift from him this year, this is PROGRESS! My sister got hers first and I heard her ask dad if our grandpa wrote it himself and he said yes. I was confused at first but when I got my bag and saw the tag I got all teared up. We both did. We get so excited every time we look at these little tags. It’s really one of the best Christmas gifts we’ve ever had! More than we ever could have asked for from him! He wrote our names, guys! He wrote MY name! He wrote this himself!!! Gah… I can’t even describe to y'all how good it feels to see that! I just hope he sees his progress for what it is and keeps pushing forward. <3

My Survival Story

I have had a colostomy almost 2 years now. My colon burst due to extreme constipation, which I had been trying to manage for some time. I was in a lot of pain! I saw my doctor just 2 days before. I was given yet another pain pill, which I had been on several over the past 4 years due to spinal and hip surgeries. I went into septic shock, and other life threatening infections.

I was not expected to survive, somehow I did! The surgeon removed a large amount of stool from my abdomen that filled a huge metal bowl. He took a picture of it, and showed me 2 months later, when I was out of my coma, and had a stroke in a coma because of the sepsis, and almost no blood pressure. It has been a long and rough recovery process. After I left the nursing home, I still wasn’t able to live on my own until 3 months ago. I had a failed attempt to reconnect in February 2012.

After waiting for enough recovery time, for a year now,
I was referred to a specialist at a hospital for colorectal issues. I met with my new surgeon and am going to have to go through several tests and procedures to see if I am even capable of having the reconnection. I am glad to have somewhere to talk about this because I do not have anyone that really understands what I am going through. I am going through my stroke recovery too at the same time, and dealing with osteoarthritis, and spondylolisthesis.

I am some what struggling with my situation partly because I don’t have anything I can explain why I have “a bag”… I do have a colostomy. However, I have a difficult time with other people even family that really doesn’t understand. I had been severely constipated due to meds for spinal and hip surgeries. I was trying to get help. Two days b4 my colon ruptured, I was telling my Doc, and about how severe the pain was. All he did was put me on yet another pain med. Yes, I have learned so much!

NOW, I would shout from the mountain tops—” I CAN’T POOP!!!! Needless to say I got sepsis, and so many other infections, went into a coma, blood pressure dropped, and had a stroke. I died, and family was told that I probably wouldn’t come off of life support. after almost 2 mo. I was taken off vent. and I started breathing on my own. I ended up going to nursing home, and stroke recovery, etc. I know I am meant to be here for some reason.. In February I had a failed reconnect.

Now, I have to undergo tests, and some procedures to see if I am even able to have a re-connection. Yes, I am typing on my laptop!! :D For a while there, I didn’t know I had a computer, cellphone, a car, or how old I was!! I have been given a second chance, and my surgeon calls me his miracle.I also want to speak up about this. We have nothing to be ashamed of!


Hello lovely people!

This is what has been happening:

Christian had to have his brace adjusted, since his ankle is naturally dorsiflexing more when he walks.

I have so many videos and photos to share, but Tumblr is still giving me grief.  So this is the only way I can keep track. :)

Christian is able to pick the starting letter of words with 80% accuracy. There will be a picture of an item, and he has three choices of starting letters, none of the letters are spoken and there are no other audio prompts.

Christian continues to make progress with his arm movement. Also, his hand his most always open now, it is not gnarled into a fist due to spasticity. It does tighten up when he walks though.

He has also been very moody, and I do not know if this is BECAUSE he is getting so much better cognitively. It is very difficult to live with and I am always trying to cheer him up, or snap him out of it, have him concentrate on the good things that are happening. I am afraid that I am getting burned out.

We almost got ripped to shreds by the escalator at Carrefour.  :/  it is a flat escalator and we have been riding it with him in his wheelchair, because it is a long walk to the supermarket. This time, the wheels of  the chair got stuck and the escalator kept running upwards and all of the market patrons were yelling at us because they had to keep stepping backwards with their shopping carts, etc.  I finally was able to get it unlodged, but the escaltor had ripped the tubing off the rims of the wheelchair, so a stranger helped me get Christian off the escalator in his chair. Then 3 (AMAZING, LOVELY AND KIND) strangers helped get Christian out of the chair, flipped it over on its side and reattached the tubing on the wheelchair for us. It was so kind, I almost wanted to cry.  We have experienced this type of kindness from absolute strangers quite a bit inthe past few weeks.

Yesterday we went to an overpriced American owned Bar and Grill and had bad food. The fun part is we went with all sorts of people from the ward, including an 18 year old Russian car accident survivor and her Mom, Mr. E (Chinese PhD student at Univ. Of IOwa, also a car accident survivor),Mr. E's awesome Mom, American Ms. P and her 21 year old son (stroke), and American Mrs. B and her husband (stroke) and their helper, Ms. M. I think I am going overboard with the secret names, but I am sure you can understand. The food was horribly overpriced, but we all had fun and there were fireworks, so you win some, you lose some. :) I hope everyone’s Fourth of July was fantastic!!

TODAY, JULY 5th, CHRISTIAN GOT CONSISTENT D’s. He can say “Panda” ten times in a row, with no cueing!!

Today, I wrote the administrator of International Health, Ruth Lycke, because she has not come to visit Christian or see how he is doing for the past 6 weeks.  She said she was “a bit apprehensive” since I cc “6” people in my emails to her and I recorded a conversation we had about fees. If you have nothing to hide and are conducting business ethically, why is there any need to be apprehensive? 


my dad is being released from the hospital in like 2 days!!! he had a really damaging stroke and has been in the hospital for over a month but now he’s been sitting up on his own and answering questions and ak;dlkfajdoifjaeifjaej I am so proud of him. 

I wanted to shout it on top of a mountain but all I have is tumblr so here I am lol

Mom is walking around on her own and doing laudry!!!

About a week before Christmas mom had just started walking around without her walker but she was still a tad unsteady. At Christmas eve at her parents’ house she went in with her walker but was able to walk around without it but still kept her hand out to steady herself. She’s been able to see my room at this house for the first time and TODAY she came to my room and asked if I had towels! She’s going to do laundry for the first time since her stroke!!!! Seriously the last time she did laundry (which she loves doing) was the night of her stroke. She was literally walking to the washer to move the clothes to the dryer when her stroke hit! And now she is up and doing towels all by herself!!! I asked her if she needed help and she flashed the biggest grin and was like, “Nope!” :D I am so so proud of her and all of the hard work she’s put in and so grateful to Michael, her super awesome PT, for being so patient and amazing and helping her through this and bringing her so much peace!