blue banana

Blue Banana and Other Aphasia Blogs

Personal accounts about aphasia usually come after the person has recovered. You read their first person account knowing that they’ve regained their ability to use language. If not, the book wouldn’t exist.

This is why Blue Banana, a blog written by a husband following his wife’s stroke, is such an important find. He begins with the stroke in late January 2017 and continues until today. The blog explains Amanda’s anomic aphasia in real time.

Why Blue Banana

The tagline for the blog is “Oranges are pink, bananas are blue. My memory discharged, so now 4+3=2.” But wait… bananas aren’t blue. That’s the point. The about page explains that the title is about life after a stroke. Her brain is trying to remember the word for that curved piece of fruit and the concept of colours. Hence the name of the blog: Blue Banana.

The Beginning

He first covers Amanda’s aphasia on the fourth day of rehab in March, about a month after the stroke. He explains:

She has aphasia and has difficulty saying meaningful sentences, naming objects or remembering people and events, even from earlier in the day. This was caused by the location of her bleed. This does seem to be improviing very slightly each day but I need to speak to the speech therapist to find out how I should be approaching it. She knows *what* to say and can understand what is being said to her, but either the completely wrong words come out, or none at all. This also affects her ability to read.

A few days later he delves deeper into her inability to use language.

She has absolutely no problem with speaking – apart from the actual words! The stroke has taken her ability to recognise nouns. So a book might be a cloud, or a comb might be an umbrella. But the frustrating thing is she KNOWS what she says out loud is wrong, she just cannot yet connect the brain to the mouth.

Reading Books

Reading is affected, too. After a few months, he shows her the blog and she makes her way through the first post. But it’s slow-going. He explains,

If I show her words written down in short sentences they are unreadable. Yet if I ask her to spell words out loud 99 times out of a 100 she gets the spelling correct every time. This means that she is somehow able to read some things… sometimes. But there is still no logic to what she seems to be able to make sense of writing-wise.

This week she progressed to returning to her cookbooks:

Amanda spent an hour looking through her many recipe books. This is the first time she has shown any interest in these for 6 months. Her anomic aphasia (we are narrowing it down to a very specific type now), means she can read in her head, but not aloud, or paraphrase what she has just read. But the books held her concentration for an hour.

This blog is a wonderful resource because the story is still unfolding, and you can read about Amanda’s progress in real time. While you can access the most current posts by clicking the “blog” tab at the top of the page, you can also read the blog chronologically. It begins in February and the “next post” button at the bottom of the page takes you through the story until today.

What are your favourite aphasia blogs?

Image: Brenda Godinez via Unsplash

Comments

5 Comments

  • Stephanie Evans
    August 29, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I too have Anomic Aphasia. It is very frustrating when I try to say things, because they come out all wrong. It’s not what I am trying to say. I could easily say a ” blue banana”

  • Julie Shulman
    August 29, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Hello,.
    I loved this blog. He’s a great writer and has a very unique approach to explain to others about aphasia and the trials and tribulations that come along with it. I would loved to share with the NAA my blog I’ve been writing for the past year and a half. I’ve titled it: Aphasia Families. http://www.aphasiafamilies.blogspot.com. I am a speech therapist and I live in Israel with my husband and 3 children. Ironically, in 2009, (over 8 years ago) my husband suffered a massive CVA and craniotomy at 37 years old. He has Brocas aphasia and is apraxic, hemiplegic and has difficulty walking. It took me a while to come to terms with our new reality and that it when I realized that as a speech therapist, who has a husband with aphasia, I felt it was my responsibility to help advocate for this population and help in spreading global awareness. I decided to focus my writing on raising children with a parent who has aphasia. I do discuss other topics and experiences as well, however, it is important for the world at large what happens to child rearing when a parent can’t communicate effectively.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Julie Shulman

  • Sonny Howell
    August 30, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    As there are stars in the sky, Aphasia attacks you in so many different ways. I am learning emotionally that my feelings can bounce like a rubber ball. Just as the blog just now, that learning not only what Aphasia is, but how Aphasia affects us externally and internally, and for our family and friends as well. I just noticed a story on Facebook because of a young couple. He had gotten out of the Navy Seals, and had a car wreck. I only could see the video, so I assumed that there was a lot of trauma. He was bedded, and was put on a wheelchair. Then I saw the word APHASIA showed up on the screen. Apparently she could not move her body was because the wreck was brain damage. This young wife actually worked physical therapy. I only to say, that the more we read, write, and spread the word of what Aphasia really is, and how it affects us; not just a strange word found on the internet or in a medical book. So, thank you to whom ever works on NAA. To everyone, I say, thank you.

  • ZeldaKMA
    September 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    My brother recently had a stoke, (I would say mild) which left him with Anomic Aphasia,. When my family told me about him it reminded me of myself. Embarrassed to say, I had no compassion for him as I put myself through college, worked myself up through management level, etc. All my life I have been frustrated with my mind and have had to work around my simplistic memory, my inability to pronounce so many words. When I was a teenage, someone said it was like working a crossword puzzle talking to me. I would be saying something then all of a sudden I would have to stop and ask for the word I wanted, play association. I learned to speak slow so I could think ahead. I learned to realize that I had a short vocabulary, for the lack of the correct word. I learned to also not speak up, not argue for myself. I can’t defend my position in politics or any thing. I also have had thoughts putting myself down, putting myself down while trying to fight for myself respect. Today, I’m standing up for myself, (a lot sometimes no), I’m sharing (as long as its not confrontational). I now call it ‘senior moment. I’m sharing because if its true that all my life I have had some form of Aphasia. I think I would feel good about myself for working through it. If not, then I’ll be asking myself the same question I have all my life. What’s wrong with me. No one thinks I have a problem. Maybe I don’t. It sure would save me if I could name it.

  • Kim Scotchie
    September 21, 2017 at 10:03 am

    In 2009 I had Gamma Knife radiation to treat a 2.0 cm acoustic neuroma brain tumor. Initially, the first symptom was almost total loss of hearing in my right ear. Post treatment, I began to notice the inability to find the word for the picture in my head. I do a lot of public speaking and they would laugh hysterically when I’d say, “If you know the word, just shout it out, it’s impossible to embarrass a hillbilly.” I don’t know what the tumor or the radiation would have to do with this. I’m also a recovering person with 28 years of sobriety that no doubt, may have done some damage added to everything else. I refuse to let it get me down, I just have fun with it. The hearing Loss is something else. Thanks for letting me share ❤️ Kim

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