Why is talking so hard?

Sometimes I forget what it was like when Gordon could speak freely.  At home, we have mostly normal conversations–he says a sentence, I say a sentence, and so on.  He needs a few prompts now and then but we mostly understand each other.  But when we go to a meeting or have a phone appointment, I watch his language disappear.  It is clear from the look on his face that he is trying SO HARD to get coherent, orderly words to come out of his mouth.  Instead, choppy, disorganized words start coming, then all words stop and he looks at me to express his thoughts for him.

For a long time, I thought if he could relax, the words would come.  Not so.  Regaining language and cognition is much more complicated than that.  Even now, 6 years post-stroke, we have at least one conversation every day where Gordon starts in the middle of a thought and I have to ask him to start over from the beginning of his thought.  It doesn’t occur to him that I don’t know what he is thinking.

Jill Viggiano