Welcome back to the Healthy Life Podcast... today we’re going to talk about a challenging subject... Aphasia. Now for those who think I have no right to mention this subject let me share my bonafides...
I suffered a pontine brain bleed and a secondary ischemic stroke caused by the bleed while I was in a comma. One of the challenges that the stroke left me with was expressive aphasia. Words came out intermittently but were totally inappropriate and mixed up. The fact that I now host a podcast... even though I verbally stubble at times, is amazing. I would have never thought it possible.
With that background I hope it gives me some credibility and confidence to those who are listening... there is hope! If you are struggling with aphasia it is not a life sentence... you can improve. Remember again that the stroke we had was in the brain and that is where we need to focus.
I’ll be honest and share that the treatment I underwent was not easy... but simple. We need to stimulate the brain and although Chinese acupuncture is the fastest and best way that I have found... there are other things that can and need to be done. One an earlier podcast entitled, “Hand exercises... movement & control and regaining it... has it been too long?” I talk about relaxation which is a huge issue in healing from our stroke. You need to understand that we can heal from this “event” and even undo a lot of damage that’s been done.
Relaxation is the first key, then hydration.... and a lot of medications can cause dehydration. So drink, drink... drink. Many stroke survivors have bladder issues but they have so many good incontinence products that hydrating needs to be a goal! The next is data and its flow... the stroke tends to screw up our wiring and things get twisted, misdirected or translated incorrectly.
So one of the main things we need to focus on is correcting and speeding up data flow. One way we can do this is through stimulation of the side of the body that’s been affected. I have a video of stimulation on my website at stroke.global. Go to body/tips and click on self care.... scroll down to “Stimulation with a dry luffa”. You need to remind the brain of the connection. This is a simple exercise but needs to be done daily... morning and night.
Try to understand that aphasia can take on several forms but it comes down to this the data or information (words) gets twisted either in the input or output phase and the actual ability to speak is totally screwed up. We had one client that came to China whose family was so concerned that his adult daughter traveled with him because she wasn’t sure we could communicate with him. I laughed and said, “dot worry he’ll be talking in no time... oh only one draw back....” “really?!,” she said. ‘Yup, he’ll speak in Chinese!” I answered. With that we both had a good laugh and during his stay we say remarkable progress.
Not only did he begin speaking again but with 4 and 5 syllable words. The most exciting response happened this last year when as we were practicing singing and breathing techniques he started singing in harmony... he hadn’t done that in years! Since before his stroke.
Another thing that often afflicts aphasia sufferers is something that I refer to as information overload. This exhibits itself in the following ways...
It is something we need to be aware of and make subtle changes to accommodate for as we improve,
Practice thoughts and take talking slow...
Well that’s all our time today... I think we will continue this next week!
... thanks for joining me today and I look forward to sharing with you next week... tune in Monday, ...please feel free to leave me a message at stroke.global or on Facebook @stroke.global.
It really is an honor and it’s been a pleasure sharing today and I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast... we keep it brief so it’s easy to add to your day... we want to thank our sponsor TCM Restoration for helping us provide this venue. Feel free to share this podcast with others, offer your feedback and questions and follow us online on our website stroke.global or on our Facebook page. Well... I look forward to learning more with you next week.