Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Aphasia!" Damn "affakeica" which I "see" when I "read" Aphasia

Last June, a year ago, I went to the Idaho State University's aphasia group for a two-week intensive therapy session.

There were eight participants and we all had varying degrees of difficulty with communication and other things.

For two weeks we all heard our stroke stories. We shared tears and joy. It was heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time.

So what is aphasia? Here is a very good definition:

Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain-most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals. But brain injuries resulting in aphasia may also arise from head trauma, from brain tumors, or from infections.

Aphasia can be so severe as to make communication with the patient almost impossible, or it can be very mild. It may affect mainly a single aspect of language use, such as the ability to retrieve the names of objects, or the ability to put words together into sentences, or the ability to read. More commonly, however, multiple aspects of communication are impaired, while some channels remain accessible for a limited exchange of information. It is the job of the professional to determine the amount of function available in each of the channels for the comprehension of language, and to assess the possibility that treatment might enhance the use of the channels that are available.

Fast forward to 14 months, last Friday I had a meeting at Idaho State University trying to set up an aphasia support group.

I saw two of my friends from the ISU Aphasia group that I haven't seen in 14 months. Also at the Friday meeting, saw women that I know because of the St. Al's stroke support group. One man I did not know before.

It was like old home week. It was great to see the ISU group.

Several people commented that I don't seem to have any communications issues at all. I just don't realize that my recovery is going so well.

Even though I can't read very well, at this point most people can't tell that anything is wrong with me. My apraxia is gone for the most part.  My right arm is not paralyzed anymore. To the outside world I seem very normal. 

The new gentleman that I met on Friday told me something like "you don't have any issues like every one of us!"

I realized that I am luckier than I thought. Certainly I have issues with reading and maybe comprehension sometimes. 

But, I still have Aphasia. When I type, I need a computer or an iPad. I cannot “write” any other way. I cannot address a card. I cannot address an address! I simply cannot hand-write anything.

I am grateful that ISU is forming this group. 

I do want to help in any way that I can. But, I know that I have limitations, but I continue with my recovery. But I am blessed in so many ways because I can communicate so well. Some cannot, and that is a lonely thought.

Great people!

1 comment:

Heather said...

Greetings Dunham family! I'm Heather and I was hoping you would answer a quick question about your blog! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com I would greatly appreciate it!