Fantastic charity night at Ashington Football Club on 7 June organised by Julie Ann Carr! Julie raised over £750 for NETA (North East Trust for Aphasia) and brought that up to £1,000 with her other fundraising activities!
The stars of the show:
- Lost Voice Guy aka Lee Ridley, who previewed his new show for the Edinburgh Fringe, “Laughter is the Worst Medicine“
- Steffan Peddie, who hosted the night and was equally funny!
- Charlotte Reay, fabulous singer and SLT2B
- Janet Speight, Chair of NETA, who gave a very moving presentation
- The amazing Julie Carr herself!
- The audience, who were game for all the tom-foolery and fundraising stunts that Steffan Peddie threw at them!
Giving Voice Song
My contribution was to bridge the information-giving and entertainment parts of the evening with my “Giving Voice” ukulele song. (See previous blog post: May 2014 – International Communication Project Month of Action #ICP2014 #ukulele).
My Mild Aphasia
I keep meaning to write about my own recent experience of mild aphasia and more than usual general slow-wittedness. This was due to the combined effects of severe sepsis that led to a heart attack, a period of TIAs (transient ischaemic attacks aka mini-strokes), three operations under general anaesthetic in three days and much morphine to kill the pain. The effects of a TIA are short-lived so I imagine the main reasons were the after-effects of the general anaesthetic and post-sepsis syndrome.
Janet’s presentation was a reminder of my own efforts not so very long ago. My word-finding problems have almost resolved and I am nearly, but not quite, back up to speed. I still need to sleep a lot. If I do not then I slow down and get a bit befuddled until I catch up again.
My life was saved last October/November at the RVI (Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary). I was already confused and was very ill before I went in. For several months afterwards it felt like my brain was a bucket of treacle. Constructing a sentence was a slow and conscious activity, a laboured process of dredging individual words like rusty old nuts and bolts from the murky, viscous depths. Most often, a word eluded me altogether. Sometimes the wrong word materialised, a near miss, not quite on target.
I was not especially anxious about performing at this event. It is not the first time that I have got up on stage since coming out of hospital. However, it was the biggest event by far, the most “exposed” in terms of performing by myself and it was the first to a paying audience geared up to see famous headline acts like Lost Voice Guy and Steffan Peddie!
When I had run through the song at home earlier that day, I had surprised myself by how well I remembered it. On the night, Julie asked me if I was going to do the song once or twice. I had completely forgotten that when we did the song at Bar Loco last year that we did it twice, the second time leaving out words for the audience to fill in the gaps and shout out the missing words! That had worked very well so I wanted to do it that way again but I had not rehearsed a “missing words” version this time – that did make me a bit more nervous!
When I got up on stage, I decided to mention my own experience of mild aphasia in my introduction to the song. Not just because it seemed relevant to the event and the audience. There was a cowardly part of me that thought, “This is a NETA benefit! If it does all go horribly wrong and the words disappear back into the treacle, if the audience know why then they are less likely to start booing and hissing and throwing cake at me!”
I got through the song the first time without any mishaps. The second time around, leaving out words, was a bit more tricky. There were a couple of glitches where I got a bit lost for a moment or two but nothing too ridiculously disruptive to the flow of things.
So, thankfully, it all ended happily and I even won a beautiful photograph in the auction: a picture of the waterfall at Jesmond Dene taken by Paul Carr, Julie’s dad. Lost Voice Guy and Steffan Peddie were both so funny I spent most of the night laughing! An unexpected pleasure was bumping into an old speech therapy friend and her husband, who I have not seen we were all on the same Video Interaction Guidance course in 2009. My only regret is that I was too tired to stay to the end and so missed seeing Charlotte Reay perform!