The following are stories from the Speak EZ group members. Speak EZ is an aphasia support group associated with Portland State University.
Aphasia is hard
Not being able to talk to family is hard
Not being able to say happy birthday to my grandson Josh is hard
Not being able to say happy birthday to my granddaughters Gab, Marissa, Maranda, Candace, and Alexas is hard
Not talking to my daughters on the phone is hard
Not having dogs and cats is hard
I have lost many words, but I never lost “Bobbi”, “Sue”, and “Jon”
Aphasia is hard but saying my kids’ names is easy
I have lost many words but
I never lost “Bob”
Aphasia is hard, but saying my husband’s name is easy
I have lost many words, but I never lost “I love you”
Aphasia is hard but saying “I love you” is easy
I want to visit more places in the world. I want to visit Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Canada. I would like to go on a cruise to visit some of these places. It would be nice to go on the ship that sails around Africa helping people medically. When I am 90 years old I’m going to move to Portland and into a high rise apartment near the Rose and Japanese gardens in Washington Park. I would eat at the restaurants on Northwest 21st and 23rd. I think I’ll make it to 100 years old.
I was born on July 31st, 1945 in the Dalles, Oregon. Right after I was born on August, 2nd, 1945 my family moved to Dee, Oregon. I was still a brand new baby! And then when I was one year old we moved across the country to Williamsburg, Virginia. We moved so much because my father was in the army. In September of 1946 we moved again to Bainbridge, Maryland. When I was two years old we visited the northwest again and traveled to Walla Walla, Washington. We then moved in July 1947 to Boston Massachusetts. In May 1947 we moved back to Dee, Oregon and then we visited my grandmother in Idaho. I got to ride a horse. My mother remarried when I was six years old and changed my last name from Predmore to Garrett. We then moved to Vancouver, Washington. When I was in third grade we moved to Portland, Oregon and I started school at Parkrose Knott Street School.
My dad jumped a fence and the owner of the property shot him and the bullet went through his wallet but it didn’t kill him, luckily. My dad lived in Portland too, but I didn’t see him very often.
When I was twelve I was crowned the princess of the fun-o-rama. I was in a big parade and had to wave to the crowd.
When I was in seventh grade I went to Parkrose Heights Junior High and then afterward when I was in ninth grade I went to Parkrose High School.
When I was sixteen I went to prom with my now husband, Mike. Mike and I got married on July, 10th 1965. We had two children and I stayed at home with them until they were older and then I started working for the Parkrose School District. I worked at the elementary, middle, and high school. I worked there for 25 years until I had my stroke. After that I had to stop working. Mike was at work when I had my stroke. He was staying in La Grande. That night nobody found me for hours. I was on the floor for a long time before Mike found me. I had my stoke earlier in the morning. I had no signs of a stroke, but my doctor prescribed me a combination of medications that caused my stroke. I was relatively healthy at the time and only in my 50’s. I gained a lot of weight afterward because I couldn’t move around. But recently I’ve lost more than 40 pounds.
I had my stroke in 1997. I hope I can get back to fishing. I used to wake up and go fishing by myself on the weekends. I fished on the Wilson and Columbia Rivers. I also fished on the Tillamook Bay. I used to catch blue gill, salmon, albacore, crab, trout, steelhead, cat fish, and bass. Now fishing is a struggle because there are not many places that are accessible and finding transportation is difficult. I also have to go fishing with other people. I can’t do it independently. I hope to return to these places where I once fished.