a start

Recovery has been remarkably rapid, beginning from the hour of the moment of the stroke, January 3, around 6 or 7pm, following awakening from a nap. Within an hour of the stroke, I was not lonly only able to hear and speak my name, but the names of many others, although within the first half hour I was anun unable to remember my own name or nayone‘s anyone’s.

Very significant: I was aware of myself and of others, yet I had no name of these clear ideas and people. For example, when I realised that I’d had a stroke, I looked for my associate’s telephone number and called him. As soon as I heard his voice — which I recognized — I realized that I had no name for him. In other words, I knew him as a person or idea, knew where to find him and his phone number, but I had no word or name for him.

As well, I spoke fluently with a sentence immediately, and as immediately recognized with mental clarity that I didn’t understand the words I spoke — lack of comprehension included my own speech, a typical Wernicke’s effect of grammatical fuency lacking in comprehension. I knew clearly what I wanted to say, but, since I couldn’t understand my own words, I couldn’t tell whether I was saying what I was intended. I was, however, in fact aware vaguely that the sentence was grammatically coherent; I simply wasn’t clear what it might have meant.

I tried then to avoid any further sentences, unwary of what I might say unintended. Instead, I focused on single words that I might control more easily. I tried to ask my associate’s name, simple simply saying, “name,” repeatedly. (Days later, my associate says that I spoke “name-ber” repeatedly. I assume that I conflated “name” and phone “number,” since both ideas were salient in the forefront in my concerns.)

I did not understand any his speech beyond the single word “hello.” I wonder wondered why, after I’d asking for his name, he didn’t seem to give him his name. After a few seconds of this, I came to the conclusion that possibly he had given his name, but I simply failed to recognized recognize.

Repetitious tenses are frequent in my writing since the stroke. Notice the sentence above. Repeated words are common, sycopation of complex tenses, at least “be,” and other missed words are all common in speech and writing since this stroke.

I will describe in more detail, but for now, I’ll list a few early deficits and abilities of the first two days of the stroke following by the time of the ER, when recovery had begun swiftly:

–no ability to read sentences, although I could understand individually individual words easily

–difficulty understanding long sentences and even slightly complex sentences,

–ability to sing melodies but complete lack of lyrics,

–ability to recognize and memorize new names, for example, the names of the residents in the ER, if I could read the name badges once, though I did not attempt last names

–ability to express short sentences

–inability to repeat the neurologist’s “ands ifs or buts” no matter how many trials

–frequent tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

–loss of simple compound words (looking for “bird-watcher,” I could think only of “bird-call/caller” — although “ornithology” retrieved easily, although the appropriate “ornithologist” would have been the appropriate category in the context of the conversation), [Notice the repetition of “appropriate” — this is a frequent effect of writing post-stroke.]

–elevated mood. In the first hours, the mood was almost giddy. Partly this was responsible for the fascination of the inside opportunity for a linguist seeing aphasia first-hand. But I have since become aware of a mood elevation for a while, and the first hours must surely have been beyond merely the excitement of science.

At two weeks, I still find several recalcitrant deficits, including negotiating long distant relationships, heavy noun phrases with many dependencies, tenses, mistaken parts of speech (using adjective for noun or adjective or verb), trouble retrieving simple words.

There does not to appear any trouble with memory storage. I can find after searching a tip-of-the-tongue; but retrieval seems frrequently off track.

The MRI indicates a large stroke from Wernicke’s area all the way through the frontal cortex. The ER neurologist diagnosed, based on repetition deficit, cunduction aphasia, and the chief neurologist diagnosed Wernicke’s, however, I seem effects of stubborn agrammaticality, while comprehension deficits seem to be ephemeral. After fourteen days, it seems to me that all from the effects are grammatical and retrieval problems.  [Don’t know why I wrote “from” — suggests a Wernicke’s suggestion effect, as if I were second guessing about my statement that there are no remaining Wernicke’s effect.]

Most prominent and recalcitrant are: mistaken part of speech, tense and common word retrieval loss.

Other similar effects: agentive/patient replacement (e.g., interested/interesting), syncopation of “be” (e.g., on the fourth night, I sense sensed that my utterance “I have never here” was missing a word, but, when I had corrected, “I have never been here” I could not explain why the correction should have been better. I am still a little puzzled by the necessity of “been” in this phrase.)


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