Blogger was down. Took my Q-post for a while. Now it is back. The backwards alphabet is now out of order. Oops. Oh well. Looks like I do not know my alphabet. But I do. I don’t know much ’bout much, but I can sing my ABC’s…and recite them backwards, quickly….while hopping on one foot, spinning in a circle, skipping, playing hopscotch….I know because that’s how I learned.
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz…….zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcba…..spin, hop, repeat…I know my alphabet, I love letters and words. They float around my brain all day, random phrases looking for connections with other lost words. Often, when I go to speak, something unexpected pops out…especially if I am working when someone tries to talk to me….
Looking foolish is something that cannot always be controlled.
Recently I sat down with an accomplished psychiatrist, a lady with lots of letters after her name. A woman with nearly twenty years of schooling, decades of working, loads of knowledge….who had a stroke. She fights daily to recall words. Aphasia is the medical term for her condition. The interview took much longer than what I had originally expected while she hunted and pecked for her words. Often she’d do some simple charades to help me figure out what she was trying to say. She also can’t read well anymore, which is a sad twist since, from the looks of her home library, was a passion of hers.
In the course of the sometimes difficult interview, I saw the graceful way she handled the frustration, she may have felt foolish for not remembering a simple word, but it didn’t show. She continued to fight and reach to be understood correctly. And I tried my best to capture her words. It turned into more than a simple question and answer session, for me at least. I studied her poise. I was angry at the irony of a woman who spent her life listening and talking, studying and helping…to suffer a stroke that hit the very part of her brain that dealt with language. I made a new commitment to my health, my work and my relationships…while sitting there scribbling answers and playing charades with a stranger.