Home After a Stroke
I had a stroke in the brain stem which connects the brain to the spinal cord. My stroke attacked a part of the brain stem called the pons - the bridge to the cerebellum which controls coordination. The inability to coordinate muscles of my lips, cheeks, and tongue made my speech severely slurred (dysarthria). The good news is that I never lost the ability to understand what people were saying. The bad news is that people could not understand me.
In nine years my dysarthria has never fully disappeared. When I am not fully awake or I am tired my speech is still somewhat slurred. I know this because people start staring at my mouth so they can read my lips. Sometimes I have to think about taking a full breathe because I am speaking too softly. I know this because people start saying "What?" after I speak.
I asked for help in the grocery store last night. The woman who helped me scowled and looked at me like I was retarded. After she left I realized I was incomprehensible because I was speaking so softly.
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