Thursday, October 17, 2013


“Pin the Tail on the Donkey” was a game determined to make the blindfolded pinner look asinine. The experience of being blindfolded changed our requirements for functioning. Our emotions rushed from stomach to head causing our fingers holding the pin to tingle. We became aware of sounds and emotions we could no longer see.

A transient ischemic attack, commonly called a mini-stroke or TIA, changes the game. We experience loss that may be insignificant or earth shaking. The insignificant TIAs are more common than we care to know. A more serious stroke effects balance and we fall breaking a bone or hip. Or we lose the ability to speak with words that accurately describe what we think. This “spell” may last for a few minutes before we recover or we may permanently struggle like our residents say, “close but no cigar.” 

At Adagio we encourage each other by laughing when the wanted word hovers just to the left of right. As Nora Ephron wrote, “I know the word I want; it’s floating over there, but my brain doesn’t have peripheral vision.”

TIA’s force us to live along dotted lines. Our firm boundaries have broken down and we need our families to wander with us while we determine where we are and where we aren’t any longer. We also need them to gently provide the backbone as we hope with little hope to return to normal.


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