Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where Do the Words Go?


This is my cat Mystery talking to you.


My cat can talk, but not my friend who had a brain hemorrhage last week. Oh, she can say a few words, even a simple sentence, but then the aphasia robs her of words.

Aphasia: lack of language abilities; the partial or total inability to produce and understand speech as a result of brain damage caused by injury or disease

My friend is frightened. How much of the damage will be permanent? No one knows. She has a long period of speech rehab ahead of her. Some physical rehab too, because her balance is off. Last week, she was working up a storm. She was fierce in her work. This week she requires aid to get out of bed and a walker to go a few steps.

She can’t tell us how she injured her head. She doesn’t remember. One of these days, when she’s making headway, I’m going to tell her about the four empty bottles of mouthwash. She will have trouble staying sober through this if she lives in denial. I have a theory that drinking mouthwash is a desperate act to keep from drinking booze. That theory might not fit her. Only she can say, and she can’t say right now.

Wednesday is Haiku Day at You Know…That Blog. Haiku is the perfect poem for someone who is low on language. It’s just five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables, brief and to the point. The theme this week is Dreams.


Scenes that flash quickly
Nonsensical images
The landscape of dreams


Desire to attain
Passionate unending work
Dream in the making


I have a big dream
All people are satisfied
No one is hungry


Your mind is restored
We can have conversations
An Alzheimer dream

~~~~~

I wonder where words go when you can't find them. Are they like socks lost in the dryer? Do they hide in filing cabinets in your brain? What if you couldn't find words to communicate? I can't imagine being without language.



25 comments:

Brian Miller said...

it would be toough not to communicate...hope your friend gets better...

like the haiku...esp no one going hungry. smiles.

the walking man said...

It is we that leave the words not the words that leave the us. I asked a dictionary for words and yep, they were still there waiting.

Your friend as she desires will regain words to describe maybe not the how but the the why.

Karen said...

I can't imagine being without language, either, Chris. What a horrible disability!

When my husband was a kid, he used to hang around the fire station where his dad was chief. The fire and police stations were in the same buildings, and the winos in jail used to send him to G. C. Murphy's to buy them hair tonic and mouthwash. They drank it because it was cheap. Addiction is horrible.

I hope your friend recovers.

sarah said...

I really feel for your friend....to not be able to talk or others who can't use parts of their body. I've always been at war with my body but when it comes down to it....I know I need it. Somehow I pray she will find a way to live in spite of no vocal words.....Stay strong Chris.

Collette said...

I pray that your friend will recover her speech. It is going to be a hard road.
Beautiful haiku! (((HUGS)))

Garnet said...

What a tough path for your friend. She's lucky to have you walking it with her.

TechnoBabe said...

I share your dream for all people. Great haiku. I like the bottom picture of the cat.

Woman in a Window said...

Chris, you are in a soft and thoughtful place. Each sentence here, each deliberation, a jumping point for more thought. I'd like to think your friend can lose the fear and grasp hold of something else. These things we lose, each one is a chance to grab hold of something new. I hope she finds it.

No, I can't imagine being without language either. I wonder what I might find in its wake?

xo
erin

Jazzbumpa said...

Such a sad story.

On of my friends died just about a year ago from a brain tumor. He had surgery, but was never right afterward.

He lasted about 15 months after the episode when he first discovered something was wrong.

I wish your friend better luck.

Yes - drinking mouth wash is an act of both desperation and denial.

Alas,
JzB

Secretia said...

Oh, that is so very sad. My prayers for her recovery.

5thsister said...

what a beautiful, thoughtful and insightful post. My father just had a "mini stroke" where he lost his ability to speak. It's a struggle and he is now in daily therapy. Don't know if he'll ever fully recover but it must be so frustrating. God bless!

LadyFi said...

My mom lost speech when she had a stroke... It will come back, in fragments, like a forgotten dream...

In the meantime, Hugs to you and your friend.

chitowngreg said...

The tough thing with stroke patients is that they often lose physical function while still maintaining their mental acuity. It can make for some pretty angry patients. I hope your friends aphasia is only temporary. Thanks for sharing.

Syd said...

I wonder if it's just a different kind of language. I wonder at my cousin's frustration at having limited vocabulary after a brain tumor and radiation. He says very little. I wonder if he thinks and wills his words to come out and is frustrated when all he says is "okay, no or yes".

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

Your friend's cry for help is at least being heard, but so sad that it had to take something so serious to make it so. Her road ahead is going to be very rough. I hope she takes the opportunity to turn her life around.

Wonderful haiku - very well done.

Lorenzo at the Alchemist's Pillow said...

Hi, Enchanted Oak. I'm new to the blog after your encouraging comments on mine. Love the name and the header picture. Aphasia, such a clinical and aseptic term for what must be a terrifying condition. I wish your friend the best of luck with a speedy and full recovery.

Marla said...

My MIL drank mouthwash, hairspray, perfume, you name it. I was in a constant state of anger or sorrow depending on the day. I miss her but not the drinking.

I am praying for your friend.

Thom said...

Very nice. I hope you friend heals. My thoughts are with you. Excellent my friend :)

Nessa said...

I have dysnomia which is related to aphasia. It's where you have trouble retrieving specific words. I can literally feel the words sitting in my brain and yet I am unable to get them out without some serious brain remapping. I feel for your friend. it is very frustrating.

Nessa said...

Your cat is adorable. You have some very wonderful haiku dreams.

moorebloglife said...

Well wishes for your friends I hope her recovery goes well in all aspects of it. This was a beautiful idea for a dream not unobtainable in many minds so who knows?

Magpie said...

Praying for your friend's quick and complete recovery - on all counts.

Strokes scare me more than anything else. The idea of being trapped in my body with no way to communicate frightens me beyond words.

Judy Sheldon-Walker said...

My mother has had a series of strokes. The first one rendered her speechless. We used to have wonderful chats. She was a mother who waited up for me after my dates to chat, like a girl friend. I miss our chats, but I have my mom. They refused to give her a renewal on her speech therapy. Sometimes health care is inadequate and fails miserably. I hope your friend gets all the treatments/care she needs.

Bing (PinkLady) said...

when we dream, we might as well dream big... i love your "no one is hungry" fantasy. great haiku collection here!

Terra said...

Your friend is facing a tough time, and is fortunate she has a friend in you.
Your kitty is adorable, and the name Mystery is perfect for a cat. I had never thought of that name but boy, it's appropriate.

Albert Einstein Quotes