Tuesday, October 9, 2007

my story 4

On Monday morning, two days after the stroke, I get a visit from the speech therapist. She gives me permission to drink and eat. Whoa! What a relief to see that I can swallow! I'm eating very slowly so that I don't accidentally inhale anything. I'm told that the most common sickness after a stroke is pnemonia.

But eating is no easy task either: the right side of my face from my eyebrow down to my chin is paralysed, including the right side of my tongue. This feels very weird: all of a sudden, the four wheeler car I have been driving blasted off two tires and I am trying to manage on two wheels alone. So continously I bite my right cheek, lip and tongue. By the end of the breakfast I'm a bloody mess.

Then comes the speech assesment. I cannot produce any recognisable sound whatsoever. The only sounds coming out of my mouth are: "Hmmm Hmmm!" (to indicate yes) "Ummmm!" (to indicate no).
Everything is oddly fuzzy. At the same time everything is very clear too, but whatever I'm trying to focus on that becomes instantly fuzzy. You know the feeling of looking at the stars, they all seem very bright but when you want to focus on a particular star, that almost disappears. My visual skew is especially true on my right side. Allthough I have plenty of peripheral vision, I still feel like looking through a tunnel. The analogy with 'the stars at night' is also true for words. Whatever concept I am trying to think of and remember the name, it escapes me."It's right at the tip of my tongue." But as hard as I try to remember I cannot do it. Another issue is get my muscles to move. Just like a paralysed arm or a leg my brain cannot command my muscles to do anything at my will. The funny thing is that I also seem to have lost my gestures. Exept for showing thumbs up or down for yes or no, I cannot do any other gesture to indicate my intentions. Oh, yeah there is also another movement I do quite often: bringing my hands together infront of me and circling them around each other. Whatever I want to say I do this circling motion. "What time is it?" Circling. "Water please!" More circling.

The speech therapist gives me a pad and pencil. She wants me to write my name. I write it down. Hoorray! I can write! I can write! Hooray! Then she wants me to write my husband Mehmet's name. But my hand writes my name again. She wants me to write my son Kaan's name. As if somebody else is in command of my hand, my name comes out. This is highly interesting. What ever I try to write, it is always the same: "Banu Turhan".

1 comment:

The Bee Folks - Lori Titus said...

I find this very interesting. I struggled for a long time with my husband to use hand gestures when he trouble using the right word. He refused to do so for a long time, saying that he did not want to lose the ability to speak because he was using sign. Now I wonder if, for a while, he was actually unable to, and it became a learned "skill".