I have been driving into Boston once a week and volunteering at the rehab hospital. When I'm done for the day, I have to stop in the lobby and tell the guard my name so that he can validate my parking ticket.
"Carpenter. Just like it sounds," I tell him.
He starts to the write down the name. "C-A-R--?" he says, with a question mark in his voice. He assumes I will rattle off the rest of the the letters in my last name.
I hesitate. "T," I say, "I mean, "P--" My mouth gropes for the next letters. I want to say "T," but I have a feeling that I'm mixing up letters and sounds. After what seems like a long time, I tell the guard,
"I can't say it. I have aphasia," I say.
He looks a little bit embarrassed that he had asked me. "Don't worry," he says, "that's good enough," and stamps my ticket.
I can easily write down my name on paper. And if I had an unusual name, I would probably tried harder to work on spelling out loud. But stroke survivors have to chose their battles, or at least, prioritize. So I read aloud to my daughter; I work on my walking; I usually make dinner--these things (and many others) are really important to me. But for now, being able to spell "carpenter" out loud is still way down the list.
15 hours ago