This week has been a busy mix of mental and physical improvements.
We now have a regular weekly visit from the language therapist who sits with Amanda for an hour each Monday morning and helps with the (for me) mystifying and frustrating effects of aphasia. Slowly but surely she is re-learning to write, spell and put names to colours, shapes and the symbols we know as letters and numbers. This is improving and getting to the point where some things are now automatic.
We have been given the chance for a number of sessions with a neuropsychologist. On the basis of taking every opportunity offered, we accepted the chance to have an expert assessment of where Amanda’s brain currently is and potentially where it might end up. This initial consultation was only for 40 minutes; as much concentrated questioning as she can manage at this stage. The psychologist mentioned something called emotional blunting
Amanda seems to have the ‘positive’ version of this. The phrase she often uses to explain her situation is ‘go with the flow’. If you know her, you’ll know she is one of the most laid-back, unfazeable and relaxed people you could meet. This trait has clearly helped her cope with the stroke and has been even further accentuated. The neuropsychologist likened it to ‘sandpapering off the edges of emotions‘. Since her stroke we have laughed far more than we have been upset by it, and not once have I seen Amanda express any negative emotion, anger, frustration or self-pity about her situation.
In fact her relentless positivity seems to be a continuation of her brain’s ongoing recovery towards adult maturity. You might remember, on admission to Nelson Hospital her mental capacity at that point was likened to that of an 18 month old. I joked a few weeks ago she must be around 12 years old by now. Then I remembered, and found her school report from February 1979; a week after she turned 15.
Her form tutor wrote ‘She sparkles happily about the school entirely in tune with everything.’ While Mr Morgan may have been smoking weed when he wrote this, he accurately summed up her demeanour then, and it seems to fit quite well now as well.
Another visit from Jason the physiotherapist who is pleased with the progress Amanda continues to make. Practicing with squeezing a laundry peg is paying off as she can now successfully zip her jacket.
Today was the second visit to work; this time with the occupational therapist on hand to ensure she was being given suitable tasks, which she was. Her two hours stretched to two hours thirty as so many people were keen to see her again, some of them in tears apparently.
On Friday afternoon we also had new handrails fitted to the back steps. This means Amanda can now safely make her own way into the garden just as spring starts to warm it up again.
On Saturday Amanda had her hair done by the lovely Jo At Serenity.
Another step towards normality.
Another trip to the hydrotherapy pool for some gentle jogging, arm movements and even some holding the bar and kicking!
Amanda realised the language therapist is back tomorrow and asked me to check what her homework was. She hadn’t yet written her name and address without copying. But she manged this homework easily.. at 8 o’clock on Sunday night.
“It’s been a good week.” She said.