Monday, April 21, 2008

9th day

Now Mehmet has a weird schedule: In the morning, at eight he brings me to speech therapy, waits there for me, at nine we drive home, then he drives Kaan to preschool, drives to work, at noon he picks Kaan from school, drives back to work. I'm sure at work his mind is nothing but at his work, instead he researches my condition, why that happened, everything from what my blood counts should be, to how to afford the Michigan treatment.

Sandy greets me with a big smile. We begin with a list of the following words:

Hi (*)
No (**)
Me (*)
Bye (**)
I (**)
See (?)



Out of the list, I've marked what I could say at the beginning of the one hour session with (*), and what I could say at the end of the session with (**).

Sandy says the words and I imitate her. She encourages me to use gestures with each word:

Greeting with "Hi", Waving good bye with "Bye".

After I have mastered "Hi" and "By", Sandy literally takes me by the hand and walks me over the therapy floor and encourages me to say Hi and Bye to everybody I see on the floor. The whole shabang with waving and greeting.

She divides speech therapy into two parts: First half is speech production, second half is word retrieval.

She doesn't spend any time on dysarthria ( right side of my face, and half of my tongue being paralyzed and everything) because she says that when I push to use those muscles on my face hard enough to produce sounds, paralysis will take care of its own. She compares it to two people training for Karate. One of them does a lot of push-ups and a lot of that kind of exercise, the other one just fights, but they spent equal amounts of time doing their own thing. When the one that only fought so far is challenged to do push-ups, she can do as many push ups as the other one, who exercised, plus she is much better at fighting.

So, the second half of speech therapy is spend with me trying to write things on a sheet of paper.

First of all, she wants me to write down my address and memorize it. That way, she says, I can be on my way towards independence. Then she gives me key words and wants me to use them in a sentence.

These are typical of the words she gave towards the end of the first week or second week, and the sentences I wrote with them: But beware! Facing every word my brain drew a blank. Total blank. Then after a lot of thinking I would formulate a concept like "therapy is good" than while writing it with great difficulty I would slowly add on words and concepts to it like "confidence", and of course I would have again great difficulty with prepositions and the word order. In the end after a good hard stare at the paper, I would come up with something like below. But each and every sentence I knew that I needed to push to its very limit, try to cram in as many concept as possible, and not be satisfied with just one concept, however long it may take. For example, I believe writing those 5 sentences below took me a good 30 minutes or more.

Therapy: "Therapy is very good, it gives me confidence."

Coffee: "Mehmet wakes up to the smell of coffee every morning"

Son: "My son is the most polite son in the world."(*)

Friday:"Friday is the 2nd of my son school." (meaning: Friday is the second day of my son's school. - a total nonsense by the way)

Work: "Work is somethink that I don't miss very much."

After that we would do an exercise like listing all the activities I could do to play with my son.


"playing with trucks"

"playing with the alhabet trains"

"playing with the train set"

"making pizza"

"watching tv togeter"


The Aphasia Decoder.... said...

Keep up the good work in speech class! It's hard work, though, I know.


Joyce said...

You are an inspiration keep striving forward as my thoughts are with you! You show me courage!!

Marcie said...

I just read your Newsweek article and I loved it. Especially the sentence, "Who knew that the greatest challenge of my life would turn out to be the greatest blessing?"

You are an inspiration. You are brave. As a mom of a 3-year-old, I imagine you were inspired by him to get better, as well. My 3-year-old keeps me on my toes, too.

I will keep checking on your progress and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Marcie in Arizona

Trish said...

My mom had a stroke the first part of February this year. I was researching info about aphasia treatment and found your blog. You know, I read all the things that your speech therapist is doing to help you with communication, and I wonder why they aren't doing any of this for my Mom.
It was obvious that she had expressive aphasia, but it took me a month or more to realize that she also has receptive aphasia. I wonder what our speech sounds like to her at those moments--just gibberish? Must be confusing and frightening.
Mom has had several TIAs in the past and has been on anti-coagulants for years. We knew she wouldn't be eligible for TPA so we didn't go to the emergency room. We took her to her doctor's office. He ordered up the home nursing visits, PT, OT, and speech therapy.
But the speech therapist says she is only to evaluate swallowing problems, not anything related to speech. Now all the therapy has ended altogether, anyway. I was reading on the web about Speech Language Pathologists and wondering if this could help Mama. Is this the sort of therapy that you are having?