speech therapy part deux

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Ahem! After weeks of waiting after my initial speech therapy appointment for insurance approval and scheduling, etc., etc., I have finally embarked on speech therapy (yes, a weird misnomer–my speech therapist is supposed to help me with my memory) in earnest. Friday was my second appointment, a long awaited second episode in an ongoing series.

My speech therapist started off the appointment by asking me to name 20 things I had done in the last 48 hours–I could use my “compensatory strategies” (e.g., reading my memory notebook where I write everything I do, aka my diary) as needed. I started naming the things I’d done, things I’d eaten, places I’d been.

In a way, it was a nice review of my mother’s visit (yes more on that to come in a later post) thus far as I listed my ongoings and activities–and bordered on story telling or confessional work (was I teetering on the brink of psychotherapy there?). After what I thought was a substantial list, I asked my therapist how many I’d stated: eleven. She said I was doing well, and she did not hide her gleeful surprise. I got to twenty without opening my book, all on my own.

Who knows–it may have been the act of keeping a diary and jotting these things down that have helped me to retain things, and it may be that I’ve just been busy during my mother’s visit, but it is clear that I am getting measurably better.

Now of course I’m scared that I’ve progressed so far that the insurance company will not deem this necessary, even though my neurologist, who prescribed this treatment, said I’d be treading new ground with my speech therapy, a treatment traditionally for the severely disabled. But a part of me is so happy to have measured improvement in the last month.

We discussed new goals for the next 4 weeks. I listed some hefty ones: to be able to write fiction, and accomplish writing a whole short story, to up my reading rate to 50 pages/day (she said that was a rather large goal)…to learn other compensatory skills in addition to my memory book (because I can’t have my notebook with me ALL the time, especially in the ever expanding amounts of conversations I am having)…to be able to sit in a meeting of more than 3 people and hold myself together and participate (I’m thinking ahead to the Fall, when I’ll be in school again, in classes full of competitive student peers)…the most important items being able to read at velocity and to write fiction again.

“These are big goals!” she exclaimed.

Yes, I know–and if I don’t achieve them, oh well…but I so wanted to try. I really want to try. I wouldn’t be Me if I couldn’t at least strive to get those skills back for myself.

But of course I know that I will never be the same again. I am grieving for that change, but at the same time, beginning to accept that reality in earnest. I’m also beginning to realize that a “100% recovery,” as predicted and stated by doctors, doesn’t mean, “Exactly the same as you were before.”

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9 Comments

Filed under The Stroke

9 responses to “speech therapy part deux

  1. w

    They may be “big goals” but they’re a part of you, and with your working your brain so well, you’ll be able to reach these goals, I know it, and surprise all the doctors even more.

    With writing, I wonder if you might start out small—a back-to-basics thing?—with writing exercises, etc., and perhaps timed ones. Doing memes is an excellent exercise, for example, as is, of course, writing here and in your notebooks. And character sketches should be very interesting.

    Anyway, I know you’re teeming with ideas, and I just wanted to add one tiny one. And to say how glad I am of your progress.

  2. W–those are really good ideas, I think I will try to tackle them. It is really uncharted territory, going from brain injury to writing stories again…so it just makes sense that I ought to break fiction down into incremental steps.

    Thank you.

  3. w

    You’re very welcome. You could fill a whole different notebook with such writings, and it would be fascinating for you (and for others, if you ever want to share!) to see the progress of mapping out your fiction. You already have, and will continue to have, a record of personal stuff—frustrations, hopes, fears, questions—so a separate record of fiction exercises would be equally wonderful and challenging for your brain. No pressure; when you’re ready and/or willing, of course!

  4. Lovely to hear of your improvement. I suppose part of the healing process is about learning to accept the gap between “100% better” and “the way you were”. You seem to be doing an amazing job of that.

  5. Jade….you have such strong determination and drive when you want something. Your progress, to use a medical term, is “remarkable” and it is that progress that fuels your desire to achieve greater things. I really like how you have been able to use this blog and your notebook to benchmark your journey, your progress.

    I love “pushing the envelope” even if it means some frustration at times because the exhilaration of achieving the goals can more than offset it. So while I understand what others are saying about breaking down goals into “baby steps” (and I agree with them), I also prefer going for the “big enchilada”! Some might call it wanting your cake and ice cream. So be it *smile*

  6. I love your on-the-fly pictures–this one, and the melting landscape of Hurtling.

  7. mel

    congrats on your progress, jade.

  8. Congratulations on your big step! I love to hear it, and nearly cried, honestly, when I read this post.

    I agree about breaking your goals down into baby steps. I also reccomend that you set “back-up” goals, so that you don’t feel overwhelmingly disappointed if one of these goals is missed by a little. For instance, you may say to yourself, “I’ll be completely thrilled if I can read 50 pg fiction a day, but I’ll also be incredibly happy with 40 or 35.” Having these goals set up like this encourages you to keep working toward your ultimate goal if by chance you don’t meet the deadline you’ve set for it.

    I thought that W’s idea about keeping your writings in a journal was fabulous, too. I for one would love to see how your progression back into fiction writing develops. It would be facinating both from a fiction writing and a rehab standpoint.

  9. slynne–the support here is enormous! I began writing for myself in this space (as I had barely any audience when I began this blog) and now I feel the synergy of readership and writer. It is the nugget for which I write, and it encourages me onward to an incredible degree.

    The suggestions you give are tremendous–yes, W’s idea about keeping my writings in a journal, and most importantly taking incremental BABY steps towards writing fiction again is incredible. I would not have thought about making a path for myself but now I see yes, little writing exercises to make my wway back is key.

    And your suggestion for “back up goals” is so very helpful. Yes.

    Thank you very much.

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