Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Isn't It Ironic

The patient, a writer of 27 novels, lies motionless in his VA hospital bed, unable to express a single full thought. Just shy of four score, he has the remnants of a handsome face--dimpled cheeks, the strong cut features of a cowboy. His right arm is contorted into the characteristic post-aneurysmic twist, right leg splayed rigid like a log. But it's not his days of skiing that Mr. H mourns. We ask our first question, and his eyes light up instantly with the answer in mind. But his left-sided stroke led to an expressive aphasia, so even though he understands us, and there's nothing physically the matter with his mouth or tongue, he cannot find the words to piece together his answer. A pen wouldn't help, either--he quite literally can no longer get his thoughts outside of his head. Through an unfortunate nerve block, Mr. H now suffers in silence with the ultimate writer's block.


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