I caught something on TV the other night about someone who had a minor stroke while on holiday in the UK. As a result, he could no longer read when he woke up. He knew the individual letters on his hotel shampoo bottles, but couldn’t string them together into words. Even though they were written in English, he was convinced they were written in a foreign language.
While this in itself is odd, the thing that struck me was that he informed his wife he couldn’t read, She didn’t believe him and he put it to one side mentally. He then just carried on as normal until later when he had to read something else and it all came back to him.
This reminds me of the time I first noticed my doublevision. I can’t put an exact date on when it happened, other than it was March/April 2008 and I was at work when I noticed it. I found it odd and I tried to put it right by trying to un-cross my eyes. When I found that I couldn’t, I just carried on doing what I was doing, double-checking it was still there every now and then. I think I thought “It’ll go…” until a few days later when it obviously wasn’t going to go. Nearly a year later it’s still there.
I wonder if the magical brain somehow cushions the shock caused by the injury by despatching some sort of psychological swat team – convincing the mind that the doublevision or inability to read is a normal thing and to carry on as normal. And I wonder if the man with a stroke would have noticed his inability to read if he had been at home instead of on holiday. I wonder if he would have carried on as normal for days, avoiding books or newspapers before it started to bother him.