As a person with limited ability to speak because of aphasia
after a stroke, yet no limits on vocabulary when I remember the words, I’ve
been having remarkable conversations lately.
Baxter and I go into great detail of the most inane
subjects. And when we hold our conversations I find he doesn’t hold to grammar
rules; we don’t always include articles in sentences; we sometimes indulge in
the fantasy of made-up words; we argue with one-word summations.
It’s very fulfilling as a person with a limited ability to
speak because of aphasia, because as my speech language therapist Catherine says
I should put myself in situations where I have to talk. I need the practice to
get better. So I have the occasional argument with authority figures (council
officials, the telephone company, doctor’s go-betweens) as well as normal
conversations around the house (I have a habit of reading news articles aloud
to Amoret which she kindly puts up with) as well as a teen-age daughter for
whom single word sentences are the norm when I’m talking with her; non-stop noise
pollution when she’s talking about her world.
Baxter and I were talking and he asked to use my mobile:
Who you gonna call?
Anabog? That’s unusual name.
Not an overseas call then?
This isn’t costing me money is it?
Where is Anabog?
He’s in the jungle.
Sounds like it’s far away.
No. Just over there.
Can I go there? (I’ll have to notify the Northampton Tourist
And on and on it goes with Baxter having no preconceived
ideas about speech patterns, judgemental thoughts about my elongating
“Nort-hamp-TON,” or my stopping to think of the words “unusual” and “overseas.”
The conversation just happens, naturally.
Baxter’s about to turn 3 next month. For a grandson he’s
certainly intelligent and keeping up with learning the language and how to
speak it. I can’t wait until our next conversation. It’s like having kids from Outnumbered as family.
And Grandad? I’m trying to re-wire my brain and re-learn
speech one conversation at a time.