Gazing into the Abyss – a Deux

The title of this posting is my latest attempt at using a double entendre (a word or phrase with two meanings). It is also an attempt to get back to my former self. As I conceived the idea for this posting, I was well aware of the concept of a word with two meanings. I used to have a reputation as a great punster. A punster  likes to play with words, and is usually considered a master of the double entendre. However, this past week I had to Google “word with two meanings” to find the phrase “double entendre.” That particular phrase was not coming to me.

Due to my battle with aphasia, I lost some of my ease with words. Many times when I am searching for a word, I feel like I am in a cold, dank and dark coal mine, bent over on my hands and knees crawling into the small crevices of my mind. When I get to the back of a crevice, I have to painstakingly claw through the mother lode of words that I find there with a small pick and shovel for words to express my ideas.  Although the images of what I want to say are very clear in my minds, the words  I need to use to express those ideas are compressed into the hardened walls of  my mind.

At other times, almost the opposite occurs. I find words or ideas jumping into my mind like Asian carp jumping out of a stream into boats when the stream is disturbed. However, just like the Asian carp, once the words or ideas are in my mind, I don’t know what to do with them. That’s why I carry a small notebook with me at all times, so I can write down these words and ideas, so that I can return to them when I am in a better position to do something with them.

The double entendre that I was trying to use in this posting is the phrase a deux. The first meaning of a  deux comes from a French idiom for the phrase trong>pas a deux, which means a  dance for two. I believe the relationship between a patient and caregiver very closely resembles a dance for two. I will follow-up on this idea in another  posting.

The second meaning  of a  deux comes from the cinematic scene. Ever since the movies “Hot Shots” and “Hot Shots—Part Deux” became box office hits, Deux has come to be associated with the idea of a sequel. At this  level, I mean for this posting and any other follow-ups to be sequels to my earlier posting Gazing into the Abyss.”

In movie parlance,  the word sequel can itself be a double entendre. A sequel can be a  continuation of the first movie, picking up the story where the first move left  it, or it can be an amplification of the first story. I intend my sequels to be  amplifications of the original posting. Oops, I let the cat out of the bag–there will be more than one sequel.

As a result of the posting Gazing into the Abyss,  several individuals have commented that I led them to the brink of personal  abysses and left them looking into the black hole of themselves. That is  definitely not what I intended. What I was trying to say in the last paragraph  of the posting, was that one of the most important things I can do is stand on  the edge of the abyss waving a yellow caution flag and yell: “Stop gazing into  that abyss, or else it might start gazing back into you and begin to draw you  into it.”

I am not alone in this task. Fortunately, through the close-knit communities of patients with  aphasia and epilepsy and their caregivers, I have encountered a number of other  individuals or groups that are working diligently to wave yellow flags and warn others. In several follow-up postings I will highlight two such individuals,  Rea and Tara, with their respective blogs “Bendedspoon” and “Findingstrengthtostandagain.”  I will also do follow-up postings about two organizational or group blogs or  websites. In case you can’t wait to get a head start on these last two  categories, they are Aphasia Corner at <www.aphasiacorner.com> and the Epilepsy  Foundation of America at <www.epilepsyfoundation.org.> (If you check  out aphasicorner.com I invite you to read my essay that is featured in the lower right hand corner of the front page and also available at <http://aphasiacorner.com/blog/living-with-aphasia-2/aphasia-friendly-words-are-more-like-cats-than-dogs-274>

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About By Baylis β2

Ph.D. in mathematics; 40 years as an instructor and administrator in Christiian colleges & Universities; principle writer & initial director of critically acclaimed assessment project "Taking Values Seriously:Assessing the Mission of Church-Related Collges." Currently medically retired on disability due to traumatic brain episode which began with a blood vessel in a brain tumor exploding in March 2009, causing the tumor to implode creating many stroke-like symptoms; the remains of the benign tumor removed in March 2009 followed by many months of intenesive therapy that shifted gears when 4 tonic-clonic seizures in December 2009 left me unconscious in the hospitable for four days. I am now diagnosed with aphasia, epilepsy, Atrial Fibrillation, and the beginning stages of Parkinson's. Since I can't work a normal job in higher education, I spend my days reading, thinking and writing about higher education, epilespsy and aphasia. I have a blog, entitled By' Musings, in which I speak about topics of great interest to me: aphasia, epilesy, Parkinson's, higher education and religion. This blog canl be accessed through the URL of which is included in this profile.
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