Monday, January 11, 2010

Word Search

Janet writes: Tim’s daughter has been spending her winter break from college completing word search puzzles. Tim has just been playing “word search” – searching for the right word to say. Repeatedly over the past week, Tim has substituted words for the ones he wanted, confusing all of us listening to him. He doesn’t speak jumbled sentences or gibberish, but just substitutes a single word, usually the name of something, at a crucial point in a conversation. The latest was this morning, when he came back from the hardware store with a couple of new “magazines” to hang on the wall. After I replied “What are you talking about?” he corrected himself and said “I mean calendars”. Since all of us in the house know that he does this we all stop and ask what he means, and he is able to correct what he has said before it becomes an issue.

We have had quite a bit of stress in our household recently and Tim has been feeling the effects of this stress. While he has complained of headaches and fatigue, the most noticeable effect of this stress is Tim’s increased word finding problems. Stress can magnify all cognitive symptoms, including short term memory loss, word finding difficulties, problems solving and decision making skills, as well as others. Remove the stress and the symptoms improve. This is why all those doctors preach “reduce your stress” to MS patients. Here’s what the National MS Society has to say about reducing stress.

Tim, of course, will deny having word finding problems if you ask him. He says that he has his personal dictionary and spell checker right over there. Of course, he is pointing at me. Hmmm. I don’t really think he want me putting words in his mouth………

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