Imagine my surprise when my husband asked if I could speak . . . and I couldn't say a word. He called 911 that day, and the paramedics arrived quickly. They were just through the door when one of them asked how long I had been having a stroke. That is the first time my husband and I thought of the word.
Aphasia Word Puzzle #1
How Do You Spell . . .
It was more than speaking that was affected that day, though. I couldn't remember the English language very well. I couldn't spell much anymore. I couldn't think of how words fit together. I tried to remember how to even think about how a word started.
It was nine months into my recovery when I started typing on the computer. It literally took the entire day to write two paragraphs. The first problem was hand placement on the keyboard. My right hand went out of position all the time and I had to rewrite things over, and over, and over. Then, there the words themselves. It spent hours working through the thesaurus until I came up with the 103 words I needed for a blog.
Ok. I knew some of the words like good, had, and can't. Thinking of how to spell weird, faculties, and breaking point was almost beyond reach. My friends would probably tell you that I have grit. That is definitely so. I wrote a book. It took 4-1/2 years to write and publish Stroke Forward: How to Become Your Own Healthcare Advocate . . . One Step at a Time. Hear me now, stroke survivors. NEVER GIVE UP. EVER.
Aphasia Is a Dirty Word -- at Least for Me
Have you been trying to think of ways you can get over your aphasia? The National Aphasia Association says, "If the symptoms of aphasia last longer than two or three months after a stroke, a complete recovery is unlikely. However, it is important to note that some people continue to improve over a period of years and even decades. Improvement is a slow process that usually involves both helping the individual and family understand the nature of aphasia and learning compensatory strategies for communicating."
Despite the discouraging news, I worked through a lot of games and word puzzles (including Scrabble) so that I could defeat aphasia. (I also had help from a couple of doctors, but that is another story.)
I found, that with time, I learned the language again. So I have put together a puzzle for stroke survivors. You will have to think about the letters and how they fit together. Some words are backward. Some words are diagonal. Some words are bottom to top. Some words go from left to right, the way they are supposed to go. The object is to get you to think.
Here’s a secret that you already know. Sometimes I couldn’t find many words. That’s ok. Over time, with enough practice, I got to the point where I could write my book. The trick is to take it one step at a time. If you don’t see it now, you might later in the day. If you want to see the answers, click here.
I would be grateful if you tell me how the puzzle above works (or doesn’t work) for you. You should print it out to play. You actually get more from drawing on paper than you do from working on your computer. Good luck!