About the Disabled Guy

The Disabled Guy- I started referring to him as that online because that's what he is and he knows it. He is aware that he's disabled. He despises the softened, politically correct things people use to describe him.

"Differently-abled"

"Physically challenged"

He is disabled. Handicapped. If he wasn't disabled, he'd have a job and be earning a paycheck instead of living off disability from the Veteran's Administration.

He was twenty-eight years old (six months and ten days after his honorable discharge from the Army) when he was felled by the stroke. And that's literal- felled. He fell down. He was unloading the trailer to the semi-truck he drove (he became a long-haul trucker after the Army) when he staggered, dropped the box he was carrying and crumbled. This was told to me by the man who caught him. He said that Jerry had been talking and walking just fine and they were about half-done with their work. That's when he stopped talking, staggered and fell. The man, who had the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger (and was even wearing a weight belt), caught him before he fell all the way down. Jerry ended up with only a scraped knee (as opposed to a broken arm, broken hip, head wound).

I've told this story so many times before- we were living in Savannah, Georgia. He had the stroke in a suburb of Washington DC and was in the hospital in Laurel, Maryland. Our kids were 5 1/2, 3, and 1 1/2 years old at the time. They have no memories of their father from before the stroke. He is paralyzed on his right side, has no use of his right hand and arm and walks with a slight limp.

The last fifteen years have been a challenge and filled with ups and downs and sometimes spirals and loop-de-loops. It hasn't all been good and it hasn't all been bad.

The disorders Jerry has- aphasia and apraxia- are common with brain injuries.

~Source~

Fluent Aphasia (also called Wernicke's aphasia): People with Wernicke's aphasia usually have great difficulty understanding speech, and they are often unaware of their mistakes.

Non-fluent Aphasia: They often omit small words such as "is," "and," and "the." For example, a person with Broca's aphasia may say, "Walk dog," meaning, "I will take the dog for a walk."

There are other types of aphasia, each of which results from damage to different language areas in the brain. Some people may have difficulty repeating words and sentences even though they can speak and they understand the meaning of the word or sentence. Others may have difficulty naming objects even though they know what the object is and what it may be used for. **end of source**

Jerry has a combination of those three types. Sometimes he's unaware of his mistakes. We don't laugh at him or tease him when he's unaware. When we're alone (without our kids around), I'll let him know what his mistake was, but I don't make a scene out of the situation. He also drops words or adds words to what he's trying to say. Such as: "I beg to differ" comes out as "I beg to be differ". Plus he has trouble coming up with seemingly easy to recall words. He interchanges gender pronouns, calling our pets him or her (despite the actual gender of the animal). He also calls the kids by the wrong name at times- and by that, I mean he will pull a name out of his past from 25 years ago and call our kids by that name.

From the same site as above- the definition of Jerry's type of Apraxia.

Apraxia of speech: A severe speech disorder characterized by inability to speak, or a severe struggle to speak clearly. Apraxia of speech occurs when the oral- motor muscles do not or cannot obey commands from the brain, or when the brain cannot reliably send those commands. Children with apraxia can be helped significantly with intensive speech therapy.

And, of course, the more tired he is, the worse it gets.

I asked Jerry if he would mind if I started a blog about the "crazy shit" he says. He didn't care. I share snippets of our conversations with a few message boards I frequent. I have to say, the snopes Urban Legends Message Board group is by far the most appreciative and are part of the reason I thought about starting the blog.

To see an album of Jerry's wood-working projects, ~click here~.  Here is the link to ~The Disabled Guy Stuff album~ and the link to him ~rebuilding our deck~ on my Flickr. All his work is done one-handed, left-handed.