Aphasia is frustrating and difficult when trying to get things done on your own. You can prepare yourself for some things in advance- for a new day, a meeting, or a discussion. If you are ready, it makes our day more comfortable.
Today was the day for me to go to get my Covid 19 vaccine. My date scheduled was at 334 South Street, in Philadelphia. Having Aphasia, I was nervous about several things. I was going on my own. I wanted to be able to get things done on my own. I asked my wife not to come with me.
On Monday, I googled 334 South Street. It was for Theater of Living Arts. WTF? No information on google that this would be the sight for the vaccine. I called the information on my email, and I wanted to tell me that it was the right place. They did not know, but if it said 334 South Street, it must be.
On Tuesday, I needed to go on the bus, either bus 9, 21, or 42. It usually came from Market Street to 21st Street, and over to Chestnut St. I waited on 21st, and no bus came. I walked down to 17th street and finally saw a bus at 10:00 am. The bus stop said SEPTA but no number on the front. I asked the bus driver what bus she was, and she said it was number 21. It was the correct number for me. I knew it would be late, but I had no idea how long. Because of Aphasia, I clarify everything I ask.
The bus took another detour and went down Chestnut Street on 13th street to Market and then back to Chestnut on 9th street. I got off at Chestnut and 4th street and hurried on walking for the seven blocks to South Street. Fortunately, I saw a bus, asked him if he went to South Street and got took the bus. I arrived early, around 10:15, and made it.
It seemed that there were five stations for the vaccine. I was right on their first and second stations but struggled on the third. The challenge with Aphasia is when I receive more than one question when I need to slow down and request after my first response. If someone asks, “What are your name and your birthday” I get the first answer and need to request the second question. I told the nurse about Aphasia, and she understood. Also, I have a problem with long words.
The fourth station asked me if I had a “red wristband.” I did not understand that she needed a question regarding an allergy to the vaccine. The “red wristband” would be if I needed to show a problem with allergy. The second question was about whether I was a “medical personal.” I had no idea how to answer that question. He asked me if I was a patient. I said yes.
He told me that I could go to chair nine and wait for 15 minutes to make sure there were no vaccine issues. I waited, and someone came to me if I wanted to get the second vaccine in one month. He asked me if he was ready for April Fools Day. I had no idea what he meant. A few times and telling me that I had Aphasia, he said, “April 1 at noon,” and I finally got understood.
I left to go and wrote on the welcome sheet “Aphasia Rocks, Ed N” at the vaccine station and got on a bus at Walnut Street. Along the way, the bus could not go on as there was a Brinks truck blocking us, and we could not move. I asked to let me off and walked the rest of the way.
Another day at Aphasia.