I speak like a toddler who needs subtitles, so I ask the question of every journey: Are we there yet?

I saw some research in a newspaper, real scholastic university research, which figured (scientific, of course) that the universal children’s mantra in travelling of: “Are we there yet?” is first heard 31 minutes into a journey.  I think it was some UK university that got the grant for that research.

Of course devotees of The Simpsons will know it comes sooner than that, but each episode only lasts 22 minutes not including commercials and credits.

I confess I had uttered the phrase in childhood more than once and had it used on me by children, so it seemed like it was coming full circle when I asked my speech therapist Catherine “Are we there yet?”

Because after three, maybe four months, it just didn’t seem I was getting “there”, anywhere close to where I wanted to be. I still spoke like a toddler with subtitles and sign language superimposed. That, and that my elusive mojo hadn’t returned. I could have done the primary studies for the “are we there yet?” research.

And Catherine’s answer?

She disagreed with me and pulled out her notes to show me.

It went something like:

‘You see when you first came here you couldn’t blow up your cheeks. You couldn’t pronoun the sounds “ch.” You couldn’t pronounce “puh-tuh-kuh”, or find the most elementary synonym. You couldn’t get through the most simple of tongue twisters. Your reading aloud has improved (when you can get through The Sneetches without snnorching). Now you can.’

I should point out that Catherine is very soft-spoken and not prone to throwing things in your face. You can’t read that into the preceding paragraph, but it was delivered in the calm assurance that she held all the evidence and presented it factually. I guess that’s why I didn’t put quotes around it; I made it sound more strident than she deserves.

She had point. I guess I had improved in the face of that evidence. I felt reassured especially when she gave me new work.

I was to expand my writing, plan it, write ideas and write key words down. I was to copy something and write something on my own. Do lots of writing, little and often.

Oh yes. Catherine felt I would benefit from face to face talking with a bigger range of people and The Stroke Association and The Different Strokes were places where this could happen.

But, but, but… I’m not ready for personal appearances yet. I’ve had a stroke. I couldn’t possibly be seen like this. I can’t talk properly.

But I am getting better.

By L De La Foret

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