Saturday, June 14, 2014


I know that some people who have aphasia find singing very helpful. For me, singing is more frustrating than speaking, especially now.

For instance, the other day I tried to sing the chorus of Yankee Doodle. This is what came out of my mouth:

Yankee doodle wake it up,
Yankee doodle dandy
Mind ta ta ta ta ta ta
And let the girl be handy.

Just so you know, I sang this song before the stroke with my kids, and I have sung it approximately 63 times since the stroke. I have looked at the printed lyrics several times since the stroke. But each time I sing it, different words come out. (Here are the real words.) It's not a big deal except in church, where I worry about my mouth saying surprising things in a hymn.

I have some guesses about why singing is harder than speaking for me. I still have mild aphasia, but I think the motor control issues I have--such as apraxia and dysarthria--come to the forefront when I sing. Sometimes if I slow the tempo down--way down--and have the lyrics front of me, I can get through it without making hash out of the words.

But sometimes I think this what is really going on: I have gremlins in my mouth. Often, they're sleeping. But they like music, and when I start to sing, the gremlins wake up and dance in my mouth.



  1. Grace, I mess up lyrics all the time since my stroke, who really cares? Not me. I'm just glad I can try and sing with a joyful heart.

  2. Gremlins ... That sounds about right!
    I have a hard time memorizing lyrics or names for people or places.and get quite frustrated. I give a lot of long convoluted descriptions. I call a lot of people dear or sir/madam. I do a fair bit of singing and cling tight to the lyric page.