Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Aphasic Thanksgiving!

Yesterday--Thanksgiving day--I went for a short walk. It was a beautiful day. I saw a small group approaching from the other way. They smiled, and I smiled.

"Happy!" I said in greeting.

I was a little embarrassed. They were probably a little puzzled.

It's the thought that counts.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Aphasia, Five Weeks After My Stroke

When I woke up in the hospital after the stroke, I couldn't speak, spell or read. I could understand a lot. One of the language centers, Broca's region, had been damaged in my brain.

This video clip shows what my speech sounded like, five weeks after the stroke, in March 2010.

(Note: It's hard to follow that I was trying to say, of course! I was trying to say--in a nutshell-- is: "my memories of those first few weeks are already fading. Your brain can't remember everything! But I also I think that I've been listening more intensely, especially the first week at MGH, because listening was all I could do." If you're bored, you could fast-forward it the end, to see my demonstration of my arm movement.)

My love and thanks for my family, especially Neal, are beyond words, especially for being there at that scary time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Vocabulary Lessons

I've starting to collect stroke-related words and phrases. Here are some my favorites:

Tone (noun): Specialized usage. Shortened version of the phrase "abnormally high muscle tone," or spasticity. The affected muscles are rigid and tight, which makes movement difficult and sometimes painful. Example: "I thought I was being complimented when my PT was talking about my tone.  Now she's saying  that if my tone doesn't get better soon,  I might have to have Botox injections to relax my leg."

Cryptogenic (adjective): Of unknown or mysterious origin. Example: "All the tests came back negative; your case is cryptogenic. Basically we don't know why your brain started to bleed."

Perseverate (verb): To repeat or prolong an action, thought, or word after the stimulus that prompted it has ceased. Example: "The patient has severe aphasia and has been perseverating. She keeps repeating 'why?' even though her family has told her repeatedly that they don't know why she had a stroke."

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Many times a day, I remind myself that I have to put weight on my right leg and hip when I am getting up from a sitting position. If I forget, I often sit down and try again.

Is this mindfulness? If not, what is it?