Monday, September 19, 2005


Getting the disabled parking placard has been an aid to helping my son adjust to my disability. He and I have only used it once that I recall, but almost every time I pick him up or drop him off at school, he mentions something about whether or not we're parking in the disabled space, and then says something like: "You don't use a wheelchair because you can walk. But you just have a limp." He doesn't say the exact same thing every time, but that's the script. I think it helps him adjust.

One day recently, after I'd been to the physical therapist, I said at dinner that my PT had said that day that the same problem of the signals from my brain getting to my muscles also has an effect on my speaking. The PT said no such thing, but I wanted to get the topic out there in front of the kids, who I think must notice a difference between how I talk and how everyone else does. I'm slow all the time and often slurred. As a metric, I counted out loud to 15 as quickly as I could just now, and it took 4.1 seconds. I think you can do it faster.

My lovely wife, who I had not warned about this ploy, played along very well. She said it stands to reason, since the tongue is a muscle like any other. I asked my son if he thought my speech was slower. He said "Maybe," in a way that sounded to me like, "Yes, but I don't want to hurt your feelings."

Mission accomplished.

By the way, you may wonder why I focus so much on helping my son adjust, and don't talk much about my daughter adjusting. I care just as much about her, but she accepts me more readily because she's not yet three, while her brother, being almost six, provides much of the intellectual and emotional leadership, and helps frame her consciousness. By strategizing for his adjustment, I can also take care of her.
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