Breaking free – heading home

[I’ve spent the three last weeks recovering from a virus – a computer bug. At last I have my voice]

“They were playing a sport called bathgate. Wrong!

Damn aphasia, or speech loss.

I was pretty sure the sport ended with ball. bathball? No.

Probably it began with a b. I started running through the vowels: be, no, bi, no, definitely not u, maybe y? Wait…. bay? that’s it…

They were playing baseball!

That’s aphasia for you: sometimes your words come to you 3 minutes later.”


Maybe it’s my early American childhood, but I associate home with safe. There’s probably some baseball logic in there.

I don’t remember the trip home, even leaving the hospital. I do remember Amoret treating me like a ceramic sculpture, a large Capo Di Monte she didn’t want to break until she could get me in the safe surrounds of home. That was the hope; that when we got home all would back to normal – it’s as though when you shut the door it locks out all problems, leaving them outside in wind, to blow away with the breeze much as dead leaves swirl about to go visit other places.

If you get home, mentally it’s across the finish line, the umpire signals: “safe,” and you’d expect the sorry episode would finish. It doesn’t, it goes on forever,  it’s just the environment that’s changed, albeit a much more comfortable/safe environment than hospital. But the problem I had wasn’t going away no matter what the dreamed thinking.

The brain attack hit me on the right side, leaving me unable to use my muscles in the way I would expect. I could move my limbs, but not with certainty, more a concentrated effort to achieve the simplest result.

Lift a kettle.

Make a fist.


Put your leg in the right side of your trousers.

Stop drooling out of the right side of your mouth.

Grip a toothbrush and go back and forth, up and down.

And the balance isn’t so good. I gravitate to the right, the way those physios were so concerned about in the hospital. But I signed that away to get out…I say signed; Amoret signed actually, vouching for my signature, because all I could do was mark my X, but it got me out.

Gripping a pen; there’s another problem. Not since kindergarten have I experienced such foreign feeling in my hands.

I could visualise pen in hand and I knew how it worked, but I could not force my muscles to perform the motions of getting ink on paper, a crushing blow for a journalist and writer. This, more anything, preyed on my mind. For, being able write provided income, and ego satisfaction and a reason for being. It was like taking my voice away. Wait a minute. The stroke took my voice away. This is a double whammy – my voices, external and internal, had both been stolen.



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