In college, I learned for each hour of class time I needed to spend two hours in study time. With stroke deficits, the ratio is more like for every hour of professional time (with the therapist) spent I have to do six hours of study/ practice time. It boggles the mind doesn't it? Especially when you consider the fact that I spend six hours in professional therapy hours a week, it equates to thirty-six hours of at home practice. That's a huge chunk of time.
Is it necessary? It depends. How bad do you want to recover? For me, I want/need to recover all that I can. Do I have the stamina to continue this for the years it may take? I dunno. We'll have to see. I'm almost a year out from my stroke and have continued my therapy program adding new, fun ways to do it to keep it interesting.
|James at Easter 2013|
I often forget he can't hear in our conversations until he reminds me that my head was turned away. He'll say, "I can't hear you. Repeat that."
This is just one of my life's little challenges I have to overcome with aphasia. I find the more I practice the better I get. When we go to McDonalds, I'll stand at the counter and order. I remember what my speech therapist told me, "Slow, loud and clear." So I might stumble over my words and get weird looks from the cashier or waitress in a restaurant, who cares? I'm practicing and vocalizing. If I get too flustered I can always point in the menu or make the symbol for the number I'm ordering with my fingers. The point is that I'm making an effort. Not making an effort or letting someone else do the talking for me is easier, but what benefit is it to me and my recovery?
The words are coming easier now without the extremely long pauses in between. I'll still lose words and have to back track when speaking. Using inappropriate words for things- not so much as a few months ago. I'm constantly being corrected by those around me in a loving way. I can always count on my #2 and #4 daughters to correct with humor. My #4 daughter also suffers from a mild form of aphasia. In that case, it's the affected correcting the affected, and we'll poke fun at each other.
The real trick is when both of us can't remember a word. But there are usually others around to play twenty questions. Our oldest daughter will cock her hand at the wrist and hit her chest and go, "D-a-a-a-a-h!" in a totally stupid way. My husband will outstretch his arms in front of him, with palms out clapping, and barking like a seal. Either response brings laughter. Having this kind of loving support is essential to my recovering my speech.
While I have trouble speaking, I found it has been easier to find the words when I type. So increasing to amount I blog is working. At least it is getting easier as I go along. This is also my home therapy regime. I imagine my readers are tired of my constant blogs, but this I do for me. It helps with my strategy and planning deficits too. Having a plan makes it easier on my mind for focusing. This particular blog was written April 10th for example to give me time to find any errors. I read this blog aloud to my husband to practice my vocal and reading skills. It's a relearning triangle that goes full circle. It's how we learned these skills in the first place.
I still have not managed humor or sarcasm yet, but I'm confident I'll get those back too.
The cognitive difficulties, I'll address in another post.