Send An Atheist Some Positive Vibes November 28, 2010

Send An Atheist Some Positive Vibes

A fellow atheist blogger, Kate Holden of Cuddly Atheism, recently suffered a stroke. She’s doing ok, but she’s currently dealing with Broca’s aphasia. As her husband Jay puts it:

Broca’s aphasia is what is known as an expressive aphasia. It limits her ability to express the ideas in her head, whether in speech or in writing. She is still “all there”; she just has extreme difficulty in communicating. As you can well imagine, this is extremely frustrating, particularly for someone so rightly proud of her communication skills as Kate. She has shown some improvement over the last week, and I am also getting better at interpreting her.

Kate should get better but it will take some time.

Until then, one thing she could definitely use is some encouragement and positive energy.

Far more important than any amount of money, though, is support and encouragement. From everything I’ve read or heard from doctors and therapists this week, the effectiveness of speech therapy will be highly influenced by Kate’s attitude. Right now, she is very upbeat and excited, but it will be a long and frustrating process. Any little words of encouragement you could leave would be worth their weight in baby tears.

For anyone who’s dealt with this type of thing before, or anyone who just wishes her well, please leave your thoughts on her site.

And if you’d like to donate anything, you can do that as well.

God’s not going to help, so let’s see what a bunch of atheists can do to help her feel better 🙂

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  • Rebecca Waller

    You are not defined by your medical condition. Just remember that. On a side note, when I’m down, I look at pictures of funny cats. A., they’re on our side and B., who doesn’t like funny cats?

  • Jim [different Jim]

    I’ll pray for you. That way, I can pretend that I am doing something while I get to stay on my lazy ass and do nothing at all.

    But seriously, best wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

  • Catinthewall

    I’d like to point out that “Positive Energy” is one of those annoying phrases of “New Age” woowoo that displays a complete misunderstanding of what energy is. Encouragement is real, and it can help. “Positive Energy” is just as empty as prayer.

  • Matt

    As someone with a mild form of aphasia triggered by headaches, I can commiserate with how frustrating it can be to know your ideas but find yourself unable to communicate them. I hope things improve.

  • TychaBrahe

    OK, at times like this, I sort of envy Christians.

    It would be really nice to be able to say, “I’ll pray for her,” and believe that you are doing something as important as the doctor who steps in with drugs and procedures. It would be nice to think there is some magic man in the sky who has merely overlooked a good woman’s predicament and, having been reminded, will now turn his attention to her and grant her healing.

    It must be equally comforting to know that if there is no response to your prayers that this entity, who is surely more wise than you will ever be, has solid reasons for why a good woman should fail or die in the prime of her life. That despite the firm convictions that this woman is needed here and now to express her opinions, to be a presence in her community, to be a companion to her husband, that there is a purpose to us losing her.

    Being an atheist means standing alone against an indifferent, amoral universe. And while there are many things I could never stand about the requirements of faith, at times it seems like it would be so comforting.

  • Being an atheist means standing alone against an indifferent, amoral universe. And while there are many things I could never stand about the requirements of faith, at times it seems like it would be so comforting.

    I feel just the opposite! I don’t find the idea of some kind of deity toying with our lives comforting at all. If this deity had the power to heal people and chose not to, wouldn’t you constantly be pleading and worrying and upset with it when it chose to kill people that you loved? I find the idea of an indifferent universe much more palatable. Bad things don’t happen for supernatural reasons. People don’t get sick and die because it was their fate or for some cosmic purpose. When those things happen, they happen for biological reasons, and as atheists, we don’t expect a sentient universe to give us a reason. I feel lucky that I escaped the whole “Why me? Why us?” syndrome that seems to plague so many theists.

  • It frustrates me that all I can do for something like this is send a bit of money (I put in a pledge; now I am waiting for the paypal invoice so I can pay it) and a “get well” message. I don’t know this person, I don’t even think I have seen her blog – but having seen a form of aphasia in real life (my mother had aphasia from dementia/alzheimer’s before she died), I know it can be a frustrating experience for all involved. I sincerely hopes she gets better.

    Get well, Kate.

  • allison

    Being an atheist means standing alone against an indifferent, amoral universe. And while there are many things I could never stand about the requirements of faith, at times it seems like it would be so comforting.

    I’ve never really found the theist alternative comforting, maybe that’s just me. Sometimes things just happen.

    Dear Kate, what they say about this aphasia is true — attitude does matter, and I’ve seen some relatives make good recoveries. It is, however, terribly frustrating to not be able to get your point across! If you’re able to draw pictures, that might help. Also, keeping a sense of humor about what does come out can help diffuse the tension and at least keep stress from interfering with your attempt to find the words you want. At any rate, Kate, I send you my love and some raging with you when you’re frustrated. Know that you have people who love you and will fight this fight with you.

  • Andi

    One thing about strokes: you can recover most function with practice, practice, practice. Things will get better! Keep up a positive attitude and keep moving forward. You can do this!!

  • Can I call for more funds more speech pathology services worldwide? (yes, vested interest, but seriously, our adult public therapists have SO little time for communication as they’re dealing with acute swallowing difficulties)

    Take care, practise hard, and look after yourself!

  • A Portlander

    Catinthewall and other kneejerk obnoxious pedants, get bent. We all know Hemant doesn’t mean we should haul out the pyramids and crystal pendulums. Energy is the ability to do work; communication is the ability of human beings to inspire or motivate action or sentiment in other humans; at the conscious-beings-and-their-memes level of supervenient complexity, “sending positive energy” equates to just what these other commenters are doing: sending money and messages of solidarity. That’s close enough to “doing work” for me.

    Oh, and Kate? More goddamn* power. The human brain is awesomely plastic, and like Andi said, you WILL retrain it given time and effort. Congratulations on having access to excellent medical care, plus a devoted and stalwart husband. You’re going to kick aphasia’s ass.

    *Note to pedants: not actually invoking deities or damnation.

  • Silent Service

    Best wishes from me and my family.

  • Jeff

    Hope you get better soon. God is good…all the time.

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