Category: Health

Doubting my voice

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One the literal side effects of the stroke is that I speak with a different voice. I know what I am trying to say, I almost hear myself in my brain say it, but I go to speak it out loud and the voice I say it in is not one I automatically recognise. I prepare by thinking what I am going to say in my normal voice, I have conversations in my brain which are normal, but when I open my mouth it isn’t the voice I imagine.

This has several effects like I cannot phone in a foreign food takeaway as I sound as if I am not taking the take away staff seriously. Do I doubt myself? Yes. I often try to put something over as best I can put it verbally. But afterwards I find doubt creeping in. I do not know if the children do not understand what I am saying or whether they are being children and listening “creatively”, (was it the stroke or my children just being that age?)

I was in a situation today where I had cause to phone an ambulance. I dialled 999 without thinking. The operator put me through, I gave the details as clearly as I could. The wind was pretty bad, I took shelter behind a parked minibus and the signal dropped. It came back and I continued to talk to the dispatcher. Soon the call was over and the ambulance was on its way. I waited at the bottom of an adjoining street in order to guide the ambulance the right way, also as not to crowd the person on the ground. As I stood there I doubted myself.

Had I made myself clear? Yes, they had said an ambulance was on the way.
Had I remembered the address of the street properly? Yes, I think so. I checked the address on my phone and I had addressed it properly.
Had they taken me seriously? I didn’t know.

I was suddenly very conscious of not being able to speak in my own voice. I thought back over the conversations where people had heard me, then my mind turned to the conversations where people hadn’t heard me, the times when I had said something and not got the responses I expected or perhaps, any responses at all. I thought of times where I was quiet. Was this being quiet a sign that I was comfortable, conscious of how when I am nervous I fill silences, or was this quiet because I didn’t know what to say or how to say it because I was scared of using my current voice and looking like a fool.

Perhaps this was summed up by two men as I waited for the ambulance. One man asked what had happened. I told him that a man was on the ground and they were looking after him. He said “What?’ meaning can you repeat it again please? I did and he said “Right” and walked off. Later a man walked passed me and said “Hello”, I said “Hello” back and he made a comment about the weather before continuing on. They’re understanding was deeper than my ability to communicate.

The speech therapist has said there is nothing medically wrong with my talking, I can make all the sounds necessary, that meeting and having conversation will help bring back my own voice. When I am not thinking about the voice or what I am going to say the old voice can come back for a few minutes. Perhaps I am too nervous around what I have to say and how I will say it. The last few years of my doctorate have been about developing my voice. It looked at how I use my voice to say something distinctive and interesting. The critique I bring is dependant on me, the stuff which makes me whoever I am. I didn’t particularly like my old voice, it was to middle-y, but it was mine. And something in my brain hears it and connects with it. I wonder what I have said distinctively in my old voice. I wonder what I can say in this current voice which is new and distinctive. I didn’t take much notice of my old voice, but now when I think of saying something I doubt myself, I think again. I need to risk to find my old voice again. I doubted myself at the best of times, but now I need to chat. I was proud I had called 999 and had a discussion conveying important information while my current voice is different. All this doubt was internal and I need to try using my voice again. Hopefully next weeks activities will take another step towards having my old voice back.

I don’t understand wheels #needhelp #brokenwheels #bicycle

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Background

I have been cycling recently. It was hard to fit in during the school holidays but I have been back to it over the previous few days, setting my fastest time ever for the Lanark route, (fastest measured in minutes per km). It has been good to get out and I have been concerted in my plan to ride every weekday. I want to cycle as I enjoy it not particularly on the hills, but hey i over took another cyclist while going uphill for the first time on Monday. Also socially several people I know cycle as a past time. My neighbour David can do one of the 22km routes I do around 14 minutes faster than I can flat-out out, my friend Rich is also around that time frame from the times I see on social media. If I want to ride with these guys then I need to speed up and train more. (also the benefits of losing weight are not lost on me…)

The problem

This morning I dressed, got the children ready for school and went to do some basic maintenance on my bicycle chain (cleaning with the new chain cleaner I got last night), to my horror three of the spokes in the rear wheel had snapped, must have happened on the ride yesterday. I am not risking riding in the rain with a compromised back tyre.

The help

The wheels are the standard wheels on the bike when i bought it 3 years ago.
The bike is the standard bike I bought off the shelf 3 years ago.
I was thinking of upgrading some components from solid to decent.

So what wheels should I buy?
not a large budget but enough to cover new wheels and a set of winter road tyres (around £200 hopefully).
Why are some wheel sets different sizes? – what is the advantage? (currently both of mine are the same size)
What is a decent winter road tyre for Scotland?

My #secret is out, I am a ballet dancing, high heel wearing, 40-50 year old woman.

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My brother recently become British champion of Decathlon form men aged 40-45. Well done. I have been trying to match my brother, by getting fitter. I doubt I will be running 100m in under 12.54 seconds anytime soon. Before the summer I was running around 9k, slowly but running, and my times for a 22k road cycle route near my house were edging down towards the hour mark.

In July at Solas Festival I hurt my right foot. The week afterwards the foot was sore to walk on. Over the summer the pain has gone mostly, but if I try to cycle or even worse run it gets very sore. For the day or two afterwards I am in pain when I walk. I went to the doctors, described my symptoms. He knew exactly what it was; Mortons Neuroma.

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So the nerve between the bones of the foot is annoyed when I exercise. I can honestly say my body doesn’t like when I exercise. aAccording to this website. (because everything on the internet is true),

It is a condition that affects one of the common plantar digital nerves that run between the long bones (metatarsals) in the foot. It most commonly affects the nerve between the third and fourth metatarsal bones, causing pain and numbness in the third and fourth toes.

That sounds like what I experience. So far so accurate. It’s under the section of who typically gets Mortons Neuroma that the website adopts a revelationary role.

About three people out of four who have Morton’s neuroma are women. It commonly affects people between the ages of 40 and 50 but can occur at any age.

Poorly fitting or constricting shoes can contribute to Morton’s neuroma.It is more common in women who habitually wear high-heeled shoes or in men who are required to wear tight (constrictive) footwear. It may also be more common in ballet dancers.

So at last I can confess.
I am a 40-50 year old woman, who habitually wears high-heeled shoes (today is a lovely set from Chloe), while doing my ballet dancing. That is certainly something I thought I lacked the repertoire to achieve, but you know its certainly a look that I can carry off, at least 3 times out of 4 i can.

Anyway, I am due to see the specialist soon to see what I can do about it, if you see me wearing special shoes soon you know whats happened right?