Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The day Anthony Coates forgot his name

The day Anthony Coates forgot his name
27 Oct

“I went to stand up and it was like an explosion or something like that, and that’s really the last thing I remember.”

Elycia describes her husband’s massive stroke at the hospital in June 2016 as like a shudder that went through his body.

“From that minute he couldn’t talk,” she said.

The stroke damaged around 30 per cent of Anthony’s brain, including his language centre. The 50-year-old became one of the approximately a third of stroke victims who develop aphasia, a condition that can affect people’s ability to speak and understand language, both written and spoken.

A scan of Anthony Coates' brain showing the damaged sections in white.

A scan of Anthony Coates’ brain showing the damaged sections in white.

“Someone along the way described it as your brain being like a filing cabinet and Anthony’s drawers have been turned upside down,” Elycia said.

“Gone,” added Anthony.

“The words are still there but they are hard to find,” Elycia said.

Frustratingly, for many people with aphasia, they retain full comprehension, having no difficulty understanding what’s being said to them, but are unable to properly communicate themselves.

Some lose the ability to speak all together. Others only retain a few words. One woman could say her husband’s name only.

“Occasionally we meet people who, pre-stroke, had language demands that were