Monday, May 6, 2013

One of those light-bulb moments

Barry with a bunch of Dad's Sweet Peas, 1950

If you recall, last week Barry struggled to play Bingo with ten cards from a standard pack, plus milk-bottle tops to indicate a winner. He had to listen to the caller, check his layout to see if he had the called card, either raise his hand or call 'got it', and place the bottle-top on the card. This was all too much for him, and the stress - bordering on panic - was apparent in his body language. He relied on my to identify the card, and often did not quite get the gist of what I was saying to him.

We spent some time reading the 'Daily Telegraph' our city tabloid paper with a reading age of about 11 years. He talked about the photos of ANZAC Day, but the only word he could read was 'and'. He was quite happy to look at the photos and chat on from there.

Howewver, this week when I arrived, Barry was perched on his bed doing a brand-new book of Sudokos. He had finished all the 'easy' pages and was into the games labelled 'medium'. He was enjoying himself by the looks of it. I did not check to see if the games were correct. That is condescending and rude. However, he was filling them in in biro and there was no crossings-out that I noticed. He explained to me how to do Sudoku.

Barry in Pa Coles' backyard in Drummoyne, c early 1948

We went along to the Activity Room to wait for the Catholic Mass to commence at 1030am. [Bary remembered that the priest wanted him to go to Confession prior to giving him communion.] I pulled out a box of Animal Dominoes that I play with Alannah. He had no problem playing this at all. He remembered the rules from childhood, and corrected me on a couple of issues. I always stand corrected in these circumstances. So, he could recognise the animals. He knew which dominoes were doubles. He knew how to turn corners. Can you see a pattern here? The cards are symbols [numbers and suites]. The dominoes are symbols: Lion, tiger, elephant, hippo, monkey, bear, Red Panda. Symbols and numbers are processed by a different part of the brain to words and language.

Then I shuffed the deck of cards. I asked him to put them into four piles by suite. Not a problem. He even removed the Jokers and put them separately. Them I asked him to sort each suite from Ace up to King in order. Not a problem, indeed, he presorted in his fingers, defly going from one run to another. He was quite chuffed. Then the priest came over and took him aside for Confession.

We were told that Barry's stroke resulted in a pool of blood lying in the centre of his left hemisphere. My guess is that this is the temporal lobe. But 'tis nowt but a guess.

Barry and Julie, Hunter Street, Hornsby, c 1950


Joan Elizabeth said...

Your evaluation and notes are fascinating. I can't do Sudoku so he has one up on me.

brattcat said...

you are such a fine, keen observer, julie. you have a beautifully scientific mind.

diane b said...

You are making great discoveries about Barry's strengths and weaknesses. The brain is so complex. Fancy being able to do sodukos, amazing.