Time÷2 = Before this and after this: doh!


“There are moments which mark your life – moments you
realise will never be the same, and time is divided into two parts – before
this and after this.” – Fallen

I wrote that down several years back in my writer’s diary as
something that meant something to me. It only emerged now to stare at me with
the glaring high-beam of realisation that I could say this about my stroke. For
there is a “before this,” and “after this” about my situation.

Before this stroke I could talk intelligently and think
straight. “After this” I’m virtually mute, struggling to get vowels out with
scrambled eggs for brains. Thanks to whoever that writer is (I can’t name them
as a source but I’m working on it. I’m thinking possibly Dean Koontz or James
Herbert) but they put my current life into a compact phrase. I may even get it
made into T-shirts.

“After this” I’m relying on my speech therapist Catherine to
help change that gloomy, but accurate outlook. I have weekly appointments and special
exercises to practice.

When I first went in I couldn’t blow up my cheeks. (It took
two weeks of trying)

I couldn’t coordinate my sticking my tongue out of my lips
from left to right repeatedly. (Although I practiced for several weeks, indeed
months, I still can’t do it properly and I’ve dismissed it as something I don’t
really need on my CV)

I had problems with remembering words – I’d just come to a
spot in a (very short) sentence and I couldn’t remember the word I needed and
I’d spend five minutes trying to find it, or a synonym, or even the first
letter of the word I was searching for. I sounded like a sound track of King
George VI just starting to practice for the King’s Speech.

And I learned to break a word up into syllables (sy-al-bles)
if I stumbled over it. I was getting better at Catherine’s sight games – naming
a picture such as a car, or bee, or train. So much so that I was graduated to
the game where it’s a word and you have to come with a synonym – sometimes I
could even come with four or five synonyms.

Reply=retort=answer

Quiz=questioning=test=interrogation=interviews

(Taken from the synonym test, exercise two)

It sounds simple, but looking back on the exercise, this,
more than anything, got me back to a balanced brain, or least one I could work
with. It enables me to have a voice (albeit silent) in writing re-doable. It
let me think the orderly thoughts that came up with the name “re-doable” for a
blog title – that the brain can be re-doable, re-loaded, refreshed after a
stroke.

As creativity started flowing into my brain, trickle is
probably a better word as it wasn’t a tidal surge, I no longer had an image of
my brain like this one.

And I quit using the phrase “doh!”

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4 responses to “Time÷2 = Before this and after this: doh!

  1. That homer pic is a classic. I think it might even be somewhere on my blog – who knows, you know he’s always arguing with people about his brain (or even to his brain! My favourite is when he says too Marge, ‘everytime I learn something new it pushes something else out?’ -‘you remember the time I took that wine making course and forgot how to drive?’ Marge retorts ‘you were drunk homer’ GENIUS. I know too much Simpsons, as for speaking, that’s one thing I can assure you will come, if it did for me (which it did in 7 weeks). It will for you. Can you type with both hands?

  2. I type one handed, mainly my left hand, but helped sporadically (when it feels like it) by my right hand. I try to encourage the right to do more but it’s like a sulky teenager: “Oh!! Do I have to? It’s so unfair!!!

  3. You did a really good job writing this so everyone is able to understand what you are going through. I always like to learn about how strokes affect other people. I am eight years out from when I had my stroke. I still know I make various improvements.

    I do not have any speech impairments from my stroke. I do, however, read another blog that you many find interesting: http://byonaphasia.wordpress.com

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