More words

Editor's note:  I know I said this would be up "tomorrow," but I meant tomorrow in blog language.  Also, we're headed to Duke soon to meet with my team, so we'll see what they have to say about all of this stuff below.

More thoughts on word usage: since I’ve clearly turned a corner and entered a new kind of energetic lifestyle that is, in fact, my old style—frenetic, happy, driven, and full of ideas—I’m discovering some of the language changes that have taken place that weren’t as visible before. Eliza and Biffle are right that I haven’t changed much, but I have changed. Perhaps these changes are just transitory parts of the recovery process, or perhaps they’re new elements of my language functioning. Regardless, they’re here—at least for now—and they’re minor. If they are permanent, who cares? I’m doing great. But I want to acknowledge them.

For instance, the other day I couldn’t come up with the word “hyperbole.” Biffle did as the speech language pathologist advised and tried to give me some hints, but they didn’t work. Even with the clue that the word starts with “hyper,” I couldn’t come up with it. He finally said “hyperbole,” and then I was all over it, talking about my concept being hyperbolic, but before that I could just say, “You know, exaggerated, intentionally over the top—it’s a literary term.” It is, of course, incredibly valuable to have been able to say what I said to describe the idea, and in a class or conversation I can easily steer around forgetting the word hyperbole so that it’s invisible to the person(s) I’m talking with. But still.

Another example:  These days I sometimes forget lyrics to songs I’ve sung many times to Maybelle. I remember lyrics weirdly easily, and the ones I’ve been forgetting have generally been in complicated songs like They Might Be Giants’ “James K. Polk.”  This is not a life-challenging situation, but it’s definitely different—I don’t remember this happening before in my life.

This morning I’d been on the computer a bit, and I said to Maybelle, as I was fixing her oatmeal, “Are you ready for your email?” These sorts of word slippages are common for everyone in the world, but they’re happening a little more often around here. Again, not a big deal, but one that I might have to acknowledge in public settings and figure out how to work around. Biffle suggested coming up with some sort of humorous way of acknowledging the brain tumor, but I’m leaning more toward matter of fact. One because humor isn’t my strong point, and two because my brain tumor is like Maybelle’s Down syndrome is like Biffle’s and my need to wear glasses: it’s just part of who I am these days, and it doesn’t need to be apologized for or justified. (Although I will say I’m not at all dismissing the humor possibility, because Biffle and I are both aware of the need for humor in educating folks about Down syndrome, thus our “My kid has more chromosomes than yours” bumper stickers.)


Tawanda Bee said...

Smiling because I now have an accurate definition of hyperbole. Love that word. Maybe I will find an opportunity to use it in a sentence!

Aaron said...

I'm glad that walter has a good enough vocabulary to help you out in those situations. If you were hanging out with me when this happened, I would have said things liks... "uh.... REALLY exagerated...uh.. VERY exagerated....hmmm... redonkulous.."

Quiche said...

Reading your post yesterday made me think of the research I have been doing lately on intellectual giftedness, specifically on learning disorders in an effort to help my son (he inherited a few things from me)- every page/ article on the subject of giftedness you find dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, visual-spatial learner, twice exceptional, attention deficit, Kazimierz Dabrowski's "overexcitabilities" (and Theory of Positive Disintegration), etc., thoroughly mentioned, practically part and parcel of giftedness, since gifted children and adults often have one or more learning disorders. What I realized in researching the subject for my son's dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and being a visual-spatial learner, is how I, and others who have similar "disorders" and deficits have compensated, adapted/rewired our brains, literally, and overcame what would be perceived as a "handicap". Your mention of your brain scan showing that your language centers were all over the map, not in the usual places is a perfect example of this, and I have no doubt you will adapt to this new change (:

Christie said...

I have sometimes said I'm like an autistic savant when it comes to song lyrics - you get me started on most any song and if I have ever heard it before all the way through, I can finish it for you. It would be very disconcerting, altho not awful, to lose that.

Maybe the humorous approach will make more sense after this visit to Duke and you get "objective" confirmation of how well you are doing. At work I notice that the only alcoholics who joke about alcoholism are the ones who have been sober for quite a while - those still active or in very early recovery find it too vulnerable a subject to laugh about.

Still, I'm curious to hear more about strategizing to cover up any new "deficiencies." Why should other people be made more comfortable about your having a brain tumor? What would a bumper sticker championing you say?