Meet my husband’s alter-ego: House.
You know, the television personality that he most resembles? The cane-wielding, grouchy, chronically-pained, egotistical, pill-popping, power-hungry, brainiac Gregory House (on Fox’s same named tv show).
Except that Professor X isn’t very power-hungry (usually shies away from it), nor is he especially egotistical. And I admit that he hides his grouchy-side quite well.
So, I guess they do not have a lot in common. But as a hat-tip to my husband’s love, I make a point of watching this one show every week. It is my only regular television.
This week’s episode, Locked In, gave me true inspiration for a blog post. I was going to link to some clips from the episode and talk about eye communication. I was going to link back to all my former posts on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. The post was going to rock.
But I discovered that youtube does not instantaneously put episodes up. And apparently people don’t put up pictures of eye communication either. Truthfully, other than a few journal articles (which are not especially easy to read for the public) there wasn’t much I could find on the internet.
For those who did not watch this week’s awesome episode, Locked In syndrome occurs when a person’s entire body is paralyzed (including mouth, facial movements, etc) but thinking and language processes remain intact. The person’s brain is literally locked-into their barely functioning body.
I spent 9 months studying Alternative Communication methods (AAC) and like House, I found the patient’s condition “fascinating”. A person with severe physical paralysis has a variety of ways to communicate, but most are unfortunately very laborious. These include:
- blinking once for “yes” and twice for “no” (as in the House Episode)
- using a Morse code blinking system
- using a traditional alphabet with a communication partner (“Is it an A? Is it a B?…”)
- using an adapted alphabet with a communication partner (“Is the letter in the 1st row? Is the letter in the 2nd row?”) where the vowels (most used in English) are the first letter of each row:
Photo from Univ. of Washington
Spoiler alert: the patient recovers. But Locked In Syndrome is usually considered to be permanent. One amazing individual who suffered this condition was Jean-Dominique Bauby, former editor of Elle magazine. In 1995, at the age of 43, he suffered a massive stroke and found himself to be paralyzed and speechless. In spite of extraordinary odds, he spent the next two years writing a book, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. He used an adapted alphabet system and laboriously communicated, letter by letter, to a communication partner.
Apparently, I was a bad intern in my AAC internship, because I never did read his book. And I never saw the movie, based on the book, that came out in 2005. But, this oversight will be rectified. Both the book and movie are now on my library hold list. And if either are as amazing as the reviews claim, I will surely blog about them one day.
Did you see House this week? What did you think? Have you ever thought about how to communicate with only your eye lids?