Monday, 21 July 2014
Spectacles / Library of Congress
A stroke can disrupt your reading, called alexia. The term was coined by neurologist Joseph Jules Dejerine in the late 19th century. He was introduced to patient “Monsieur C.” The patient was a wealthy, cultivated textile merchant, who had a stroke. Soon after, he discovered he could not read, although he could speak and write normally. Monsieur C. could even read music — not the lyrics, but the musical notation.
Do any of you have alexia?
Thursday, 10 July 2014
Attention / Library of Congress
Were any of you prescribed concentration drugs? I was on one for awhile: a “wakefulness” drug. One morning, I took my first dose. An hour later, I was, well, zippy.
This was a very odd feeling. It felt like someone else has taken over my being. Someone who was more efficient than I was and had no need for pauses. In the background was the beat of a giant drum in a marching band.
I don’t take these drugs anymore. It feels too artificial and strange. Plus, I concentrate better now.
Do you have concentration stories?
Saturday, 5 July 2014
Write / Library of Congress
I wrote my name with my stroke hand! I used a magic marker and wrote in big cursive letters, but it was legible. This is the first time I’ve written using my right hand since my stroke. Progress!
Any other progress stories?
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Springtime / Library of Congress
It is official: more and more stroke victims are younger. Here is an article from the Washington Post:
“Strokes, long on the decline among the elderly, are rising among younger adults….”
Not a happy youth article.
Thursday, 5 June 2014
Opening Sunday / Library of Congress
My rehab hospital put me in a Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) program. For two weeks, I did four hours of hand therapy a day. At the end, my weaker hand was more dexterous, especially at picking up small objects. Thank you!
But, four hours a day for two weeks of hand therapy is deathly dull.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Carmen / Library of Congress
Here is a story of an opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City who had a stroke. He still has problems speaking now, but his singing has come back…different parts of the brain.
Do any of you have speaking/singing differences?
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Headphones / Library of Congress
I was on a national radio show recently, on TheMoth, the cool US storytelling show. To listen to my story, TheMoth has just added a podcast.
You can listen to my individual story here as before. Or you can get a podcast from “The Moth Podcast,” dated May 6, entitled “Live from Boston.” I’m the last storyteller of the night.
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
Sword is Drawn / Library of Congress
A few years ago, I had a royal bureaucratic mess with Medicare over an expensive brace that they should have paid for. (Medicare is the US government’s health insurance plan for the disabled.) I called my Congressman, my Senator and filed appeal after appeal.
Recently I ended up on a phone call with a Medicare Administrative Judge from Ohio, who swore me in. It was court by phone! His verdict: Medicare would pay for the brace, but it would have to be made again, for obscure legal reasons. I had to mail back my old brace, which was in fine shape. Then I had to go back to the hospital and get measured again. Then the company remade the brace. This struck me as a waste of time and money, not to mention environmentally stupid.
I did win, though. Don’t mess with me on bureaucracy. I usually triumph.
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Radio Girl / Library of Congress
I am on national radio this week! It’s TheMoth, the cool US storytelling radio show. I tell the story of me sneaking out of a hospital after brain surgery to go to a party. Hear me here. Or, if you are in the US, it’s on your local NPR station this week.
Thursday, 24 April 2014
Graduation / Library of Congress
A new study says that “better-educated people appear to be significantly more likely to recover from a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Those with at least a college education are seven times more likely than those who didn’t finish high school to be disability-free one year after serious TBI.” Study…
Another reason to slog through never-will-be-read-again term papers.