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 <> and the Epilepsy  Foundation of America at <> (If you check  out I invite you to read my essay that is featured in the lower right hand corner of the front page and also available at <>



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.
This entry was posted in Aphasia, Epilepsy, Parkinson's. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s