Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Anomic Aphasia and me!"

Yesterday I had a doctors appointment. My wife is out of town and my son was still asleep when I left.

Therefore, I wrote a note for our son to explain. Same handwriting! No misspellings other than a dog's name.

The phrase "wrote a note" would seem to be second nature. 

However, when you have aphasia, simple every day tasks sometimes are an unbearable struggle.

For several years since my strokes, writing a simple note was incredibly difficult.

When I try to write notes, I have to concentrate on every single letter. I used to be a grammar and spelling whiz. Today, my spelling skills are at best mediocre.

That same doctors appointment, I had to fill out work. I had to write down our pharmacy which is "Fred Meyer on Franklin and Orchard."

I had problems remembering the spelling of "Meyer." I could not remember how to spell "orchard." 

Recently, noticed that filling out paperwork or writing notes are getting better if I "speak" what I need to write.

My wife has noticed that when I type my blog or write a note I "speak it" also.

Certainly, I am compensating. Subtly, I seem to be recovering to the point where simple written communication is getting a little better.

Recently, our Idaho Aphasia Support Group heard a presentation about different forms of Aphasia.   

It seems that I have a form of aphasia called "Anomic" with a little bit of "conduction aphasia" for good measure. 

According to Wikipedia, 

"Anomic aphasia is one of the milder forms of aphasia. The term is applied to persons who are left with a persistent inability to supply the words for the very things they want to talk about, particularly the significant nouns and verbs. Their speech is fluent and grammatically correct but it is full of vague words (such as ‘thing’) and circumlocutions (attempts to describe the word they are trying to find). The feeling is often that of having the word on the tip of one’s tongue, which results in their speech having lots of expressions of frustration. 

People with anomic aphasia understand speech well and they can repeat words and sentences.  In most cases they can read adequately. Difficulty finding words is as evident in writing as it is in speech."

That is the textbook definition. It describes me better than most definitions. However, I don't struggle with nouns and verbs. I struggle with prepositions or "connector words." It is rare for me to struggle for "words." I understand financials, but I cannot calculate or ask questions about math because of the conduction part of my aphasia. 

Just like every stroke is different, my aphasia is different.

My aphasia is better than most. I made only one typo: "Lucy" versus "Lusy!" Not bad.

Pretty grateful.


Rebecca Dutton said...

I recovered my ability to do simple math by saying the numbers in my head (nine minus eight, borrow a one =). The more I used this compensatory strategy the faster and more accurate I got. I don't mind fooling other people.

Francis Harlow said...

Well we have a story! I had a stroke January 5, 2012. It was severe. I was told that I would go home with 24 hour care for the rest of my life. I wouldn't talk well, wouldn't walk or drive a car. I said "I don't think so!" When I did come home it was with a walking cane (which I put away two days later), no 24 hour care other than my wife, and I could talk, not well, but I could talk! I was a Realtor for 15 years and prior to that I was a Roman Catholic Priest (with a dispensation from Pope John Paul II for marriage). What's more I was in Boise. I was a Priest at Sacred Heart Parish where your son had his first Holy Communion!

Like I said, we have a story! I met Becky Enrico Crum, a Realtor, at an open house today. She told me about you.

Mark Dunham said...

Francis! We should get together! The Enrico's are so special to me!

Francis Harlow said...

We can do that! My email is fgharlow@gmail.com.