Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Diagnosis / Me Speak Tonto

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Introducing Tonto!

I have cranial nerve damage. That's my diagnosis. For some reason, parts of my musculature involved in speech are not getting the right messages from my brain. Hence the diagnosis of cranial nerve damage. They are called cranial nerves because they originate in the brain and serve the brain, but my cranial nerve damage could be on a part of the nerve outside the brain.

There are six cranial nerves that affect speech: They are the trigeminal, facial, glossppharyngeal, vagus and hypoglossal nerves. At least one of mine is damaged.

I start speech therapy May 24th with Dr. Ramage. Sometime in May (I hope), I will also see Dr. Shoja, a psychiatrist with a specialty in speech disorders. Dr. Shoja will identify which nerves/nerve branches are damaged so that Dr. Ramage can prescribe the right therapies.

I can speak French easily with those who understand it. I can speak as Rand (Rand being the name I give my fake South African accent voice) but I loathe "speaking Rand" and don't feel I need to for the convenience of others.

I can speak in my own voice, easily and without damaging my larynx, if I "speak Tonto." Tonto's most famous line was: "White man speak with forked tongue." I say: "White man speak forked tongue." I cannot say "with" in that sentence but my friends totally understand me. I really like having my voice back and feel EXCEPTIONALLY good "speaking Tonto."

(My adopted father, Don Tyrell, was a friend for a brief time with Jay Silverheels, the actor who played Tonto on television.)

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