Saturday, August 16, 2014

Big Brothers, Sandwiches and Electric Typewriters

My brothers have been a big influence in my life. My brothers are different in some ways but similar in so many ways. I am the youngest of the four brothers, and I learned a lot from them.

When I was in the 8th grade preparing to preregister for 9th grade at O’Leary Junior High, one of my brothers suggested that I should take typing in the 9th grade not the 10th grade which was normal. He took typing in the 10th grade.

He said the typing teacher at Twin Falls High School had some issues with him. It involved a sandwich and electric typewriters. It seems that my brother did not really like typing, the teacher, and perhaps school in general.

The fact that the typing teacher had been teaching since the early 40’s predating electric typewriters was not the issue. It seems that my brother took a bite out of her sandwich when she was not looking and he also sabotaged one of the electric typewriters.

I took his advice and took typing in the 9th grade. I knew my brothers well.

That same fall with I was in the 9th grade, I took Drivers Education. That first day, the teacher said, “Do you have any brothers?”

“Hmmm….” I thought this might be a trick question.  I replied, “Dan?”

He thought about it, and said, “No. I did not know Dan. Any others?”

I responded quickly, “Maybe Steve?”

“I think I remember him, but don’t you have another brother,” he asked?

I sighed, and said, “Dirk.”

“Ah Hah! Dirk! I assume you think you can drive already because of Dirk!”

“Yep!” I said. Honestly, I was proud of him.

He always pushed boundaries, and always wished that I had his courage. Even now. 

I was so glad to take typing in the 9th grade. I could whiz through the typical test typing:  

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country” in no time flat! 

Not just because of my ill-fated brother’s experience, It turned out to be the best class ever.

Typing prepared me for life. I wrote a regular column in my high school newspaper. After that, in college, word processing changed my life! I was just the fastest typist around. I could pound out articles, reports, op-ed pieces, and detailed, nuanced and thorough research written projects with no problems.

The stroke halted that in one instant. 

I could not even remember what  a letter was let alone the alphabet. The concept of typing was just “gone.” Because of apraxia and aphasia, when my therapist told me that “You HAVE to start writing again,” I said, “I cannot.”

Apraxia (from Greek praxis, an act, work, or deed[1]) is the inability to execute learned purposeful movements,[2] despite having the desire and the physical capacity to perform the movements. Apraxia is an acquired disorder of motor planning, but is not caused by incoordination, sensory loss, or failure to comprehend simple commands (which can be tested by asking the person to recognize the correct movement from a series). It is caused by damage to specific areas of the cerebrum. Apraxia should not be confused with ataxia, a lack of coordination of movements; Aphasia, an inability to produce and/or comprehend language; abulia, the lack of desire to carry out an action; or allochiria, in which patients perceive stimuli to one side of the body as occurring on the other. Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is the developmental disorder of motor planning.

I have been blogging for years, and after the stroke, it was very hard for me in many ways. Because of Apraxia, when I type the letters “P” and “K” are simply gone.

That old test when I type “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country” is incredibly difficult.

When I write this blog, I do not look at the keys but I have to “talk” when I write. Here is a test:  When I copy this text “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country”, this is with I type: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their countyur.”

Now! This is real time! I just did this now. One mistake! Perhaps I am getting better! 

In honor of my brother, I will have a sandwich and keep typing!

No comments: