Pillaton WI Meeting Report - November 2010

Talking to one another, sharing conversation with friends and colleagues; ad lib, spontaneous chat – what fun, isn’t it? The ability to make those links between brain and tongue is so taken for granted that listening to guest speaker Maurice Diaper’s illuminating and highly personal presentation about Aphasia brought each and every one of us up with a jolt.

What is Aphasia? The dictionary definition defines it as “the inability to express thought in words or to understand thought as expressed in the spoken or written words of others, caused by brain damage or disease”. What the dictionary cannot convey is what that actually means to the sufferer.

Maurice spoke to the November meeting about his struggle to regain both his mobility and the power of speech following a stroke at the age of only 52 years. Using notes to help him keep on track, he explained how Aphasia causes hesitation in speech, causes him to use the wrong words sometimes, and has left him unable to understand – even recognize – numbers. Worst of all, he tried to make us understand how Aphasia affects a sufferer’s relationship with other people. Speech may be slurred so the sufferer is perceived as being “drunk”. Inability to grasp the meaning behind spoken words leads to misunderstandings. Telephone conversations (because they allow for no non verbal communication prompts such as facial expression or gesture) become unintelligible.

Maurice has now lived with Aphasia for nearly ten years and is keen to educate the general public about the condition and the work he does with a charity called Connect, which helps sufferers by organizing weekly conversation groups.

He ended with some sobering statistics – written down, of course, as he cannot relate to numbers unless he can read them out – that there are some 5,000 Cornish stroke victims annually and that a quarter of all stroke victims are aged under 65 years.

The business meeting recapped on some of the diary dates announced during September and October for which bookings are now closed and highlighted forthcoming events for 2011. (What, already?)

Lists are now open for anyone keen to attend the following County events: February 18 “All a Buzz”; February 23 “Come and Try”; and March 11 “Operetta” with Peter Clarke. Details are in your County News. Pillaton’s own diary dates to remember include December 4 for our annual visit to Barbara Smetherham’s farmhouse home for an afternoon of festive flower arranging and chatter; and December 19 for Carol Singing around the village. Family and friends are welcome to join the WI for this event, starting at the Weary Friar at 5 pm and with ShelterBox as our chosen charity this year.

The next meeting will be on December 13, when we will enjoy our Christmas Party with food by Shirley Floyd, Christmas crackers and silly hats and a gift from Secret Santa. Please let Treasurer Sue Archer have your money for the party as soon as possible!

We are a friendly group and welcome new members, so if you would like to come along to see what we do, please join us in Pillaton Village Hall. We meet at 7.30 pm on the second Monday of each month. If you would like to know more about Pillaton WI, please contact me on 351289.

Ann Henderson

Last updated: 14 January 2011 Contact Us