I was able to come through my stroke with my sight unimpaired and a re-doable brain. Now, at first I couldn’t understand some words – they just wouldn’t be processed in my brain.
My speech therapist Catherine initially worked with me by giving me a list of synonyms, really basic stuff, but it was not showing a lot room for improvement when I started out getting stuck on three-letter words. Words like (and I’m looking at my notes here): rip.
I remember the thought process of mentally thumbing through my brain’s rolodex searching for the right meaning and the feeling of helplessness of coming up with a complete blank. The closest I came was: rest in peace. I knocked at the door and no one answered, although I knew someone was home; I could hear them. I was excluded from a world I had previously known intimately. I was denied access to my own brain’s archives and the comfort it once brought me. My memory museum was nearly empty.
There were two ways of reacting to Catherine’s synonym exercises: thinking and saying. If you could think it correctly, you can say it aloud (albeit, not perfectly).
The most important thing Catherine taught me was teaching my brain how to speak internally.
Once that took root in the electronically-impaired circuitry of my brain, I was well on my way to re-doing my brain. No longer would I be starved of the oxygen of not knowing the right word, (well mostly). And it gave me the impetus to start this blog no matter how hard the typing is.
Now, ten letters don’t faze me: in the crossword the other day the clue was concordant. Harmonious.
I am generally back where I was with words although I have periods of blackness where my vocabulary deserts me on a particular word. I sat trying to will my keyboard to type the word I needed in the last blog, meaning a dual meaning, a life lesson, something that could mean something else, a simile.
I spent 30 minutes on that word, not using Lethean or portmanteau word as being too obscure or not quite the meaning, (but I did use memory museum). How can I remember Greek mythology and French, yet forget the blatantly obvious?
In my hurry to complete the blog I went with simile when I really meant metaphor or analogy. I’ve since corrected it thanks to Amyleebell who sent a comment that she loved my analogy. An analogy! That’s it. Thank you Amyleebell.
Times like that brain fart are rare in my experience, but worrying.
Still, from the first synonym list Catherine tried out on me, I now get 90% right of words and it’s all down, I think, to getting the brain to talk internally.
As I’ve said before: the stroke took away my speech, but not my voice.
And you can quote me that.
I can quote me on that – aloud.