Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I have worked as a speech therapist for about 20 years. I assess and treat adults who have difficulties with communication and swallowing following strokes, head injuries etc.

In that twenty years, I've seen a lot of patients. There are some that have truly inspired me with their courage and determination. I am seeing a patient now who had a brain tumor. The radiation and chemo treatments have taken a toll on his body and his mind. But he marches into our therapy sessions every week with no complaints. When I ask him how he is doing, he always smiles and says "I'm happy to have another day!"

But, I really wanted to post on another patient I saw today. A 90 year old woman who had a stroke a few days back. I was asked to see her for a speech evaluation. I went over her chart, reviewing her history and physical, read the doctor's notes, the physical therapist's notes, the nursing notes and so on. The MD reported the pt was quite aphasic, meaning she was having trouble understanding and verbalizing. The PT notes indicated she wasn't walking and couldn't follow commands. The RN charted the pt was not able to eat, had a nasal gastric tube for nutritional support and was essentially non verbal.

I wasn't expecting her to be able to do too much. It seemed like a pretty routine evaluation.

She did respond to a few one step commands appropriately. She was not able to answer simple yes/no questions, And even though she was trying to talk to me, her speech was garbled and completely unintelligible. I pulled out my speech therapy bag of tricks. I tried to get her to sing with me in unison. I tried having her count 1 to 5 in imitation. I tried getting her to imitate simple greetings like "hi" and "bye". We tried imitating simple vowels and syllables. Nothing worked. I mean nothing.
That didn't stop her from smiling at me and laughing with each new task I presented to her. She continued to try to get me to understand her. Each mumbled sentence punctuated with a wave of her hand and a little giggle.

When I felt I had gathered all of the information needed to write up my report, I got up to say goodbye. She shook my outstretched hand as I told her it had been really nice meeting her. I thanked her for her time and was halfway out the door when I heard her reply, "You bet." Clearly.

I turned around to see her getting teary as she realized I had finally understood her. As she reached out for my hand again, I also came to a realization. I should never think of any of these encounters as routine.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

This Week

Most Sundays, I try to watch "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." I enjoy politics even though I don't enjoy most politicians.

Today's guest was Republican Mitt Romney and his wife, Anne. Mr. Romney is running for President of the United States. He seems like a nice enough man.

One of the things that is making his presidential bid interesting is that he is a Morman by faith.

Some say this country isn't ready for a woman president. Or an African American president. Are we ready for a Morman president?

I won't be voting for him. Not because of his religion. Not because he is a Republican. Not even because I don't agree with his views on gun control and abortion.

No. I won't vote for Mr. Romney because America isn't ready for a president named "Mitt."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

First Entry

I decided to finally start using this blog account. I signed up on Blogger so I could post on a friend's blog. You can't make comments on another blog unless you sign up. And, I wanted to post my witty comments and observations on their blog ( I am so sure they are happy I did. ;) That is how this blog came to be.

I got a "write it down" book for Christmas. A diary of sorts. A very thoughtful gift from a friend who felt I could use it to write some of my feelings down. A way of working through some issues.
I have to say it has been helpful. I use it to record private thoughts, hurts, hopes etc. I will continue to use it. It's been good therapy for me.

But, my blog has sat here. Empty. But, that is going to change.

I don't plan to use this space in the same way as my "write it down" book. That would be a bit too personal for the internet. No one should be subjected to that anyway.

No.. I am going to use this blog as a way to vent. A way to rant. A way to blow off steam. I might gripe about politics. T.V. Music. Religion. Family. Friends. Traffic. Frozen dinners. Well, maybe not frozen dinners. That might be boring. The point is, I am going to vent it all here.

Very few will take the time to find it and read it. But, I will know it's here.
And if it doesn't work out.
Well, I still have my "write it down" book.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cool Cat

Now this, is one cool cat!