Hello, my name is Bryn. At age 26, I was loving life in Anchorage, Alaska where I was working as a Critical Care Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit with my boyfriend, Derek. We worked together and on our days off, we skied, hiked and enjoyed the beauty of Alaska.
According to The Mayo Clinic, Aphasia is a condition that affects your ability to communicate. It can affect your speech, as well as the way you write and understand both spoken and written language.
Aphasia typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumor or a
disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative). The severity of aphasia depends on a number of conditions, including the cause and the extent of the brain damage”
Four weeks after my subarachnoid hemorrhages, I could only say “you”. Though I am exactly the same person on the inside, all aspects of my ability to communicate have been profoundly affected. In just a few seconds, I lost my language skills. I know exactly what I want to say but struggle with words (aphasia). Other times, it is difficult for my mouth to form the sounds to create words (apraxia) . I’m learning phonics, grammer, and spelling all over again. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the insurmountable loss of my career and life before brain injury. If I’m being honest, I’ve had many frustrating days filled with tears. Aphasia is often misunderstood. People sometimes confuse an inability to speak for a lack of intelligence. Sometimes very well-meaning people shout or speak in a “childlike” manner, thinking it might help. Aphasia affects everything. Even ordering a meal or coffee is really hard work. Much of my recovery day is spent in speech therapy and practicing speech. I am determined to speak, read and write fluently again. I have made great gains through intensive speech therapy and the hard work of my gifted of speech pathologists. When I can speak again, i will help others with aphasia. I hope to help healthcare providers effectively communicate with their patients who have aphasia as well as to advocate for intensive speech therapy benefits for all with aphasia.
- B is for balance. Look for a sudden loss of balance.
- E is for eyes. Is there a sudden loss of vision in one eye or both eyes? Or, double vision?
- F is for face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- A is for arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S is for speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his/her speech slurred or strange?
- T is for time. If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.