Msnowe's Blog

Sophie’s Choice?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on June 12, 2009
And this is your brain, on...

And this is your brain, on...

From wikipedia:

Foreign accent syndrome is a rare medical condition involving speech production that usually occurs as a side effect of severe brain injury, such as a stroke or a head injury, though two cases have been reported of individuals as a development problem. Between 1941 and 2009, there have been sixty recorded cases. Its symptoms result from distorted articulatory planning and coordination processes.”

The other night, Sophie was playing poker with some friends. After a wellplayed hand, she tumbled out into the street, severely inebriated. Fumbling with and dropping the extra chips she had left in her pocket and forgotten to cash in, she stooped to pick them up and was nearly sideswiped by a taxi. As luck would have it, the cabbie stopped in time, and agreed to take her back home.  Let’s just say it was a rough ride–according to published reports, the cab driver witnessed her retching, and also rambling incoherently about “royal something-or-others, an impossibly lucky queen, and the wish that somewhere, instead of some guy named Jack, she could find her true King, and have a full house with…children, maybe?”

Well, the cab driver had just about had enough. She was yelling and screaming, and she made sick all over his recently vacuumed back seat—-there were now chunks of something streaking down the Plexiglas divider he had also just polished liberally with Windex. Who did this woman think she was? And to top it off, she kept asking for it—-all her rants were ended with a highly distinguishable plea, “Hit Me!” As the driver pulled up to her place in Greenpoint, she threw her poker chips at him as payment. This pushed him over the edge—-and so as irony would have it, when he prematurely hit the gas, she was pushed onto the edge of the sidewalk, hitting her head at just the right angle to knock her out instantly, but not kill her. She woke up five days later in the hospital, and a strange thing happened. She began taking on an odd conglomeration of characteristics. No, she did not have a foreign accent, but it was a similar phenomenon. Like foreign accent syndrome, she believed herself to be someone of a different origin (or in this case, someones), and acted accordingly. She is the first case of her kind. No one in modern history has ever developed such symptoms after acute head trauma. But to this day, two years later, Sophie still believes herself to be an animated Disney female character.

Because most doctors had not had time to view the melange of Disney offerings for young ladies,  because Sophie was not identified for a few weeks (she had no id on her, and the cab driver moved her unconscious body a few streets down),  and because the nurses changed shifts and were so overworked they didn’t notice, the diagnosis took quite a while. But here are a few of the early doctors notes taken that, when combined, would have led straight to the proper diagnosis.

–Upon awaking, Patient X queried, “But wasn’t my dress pink when I fell asleep?”

–Today, Patient X refuses to speak, and keeps pointing to her legs and staring at them, awestruck. Also, she refused her lunch: fish sticks.

–Patient X received flowers from the hospital volunteers today. She insisted on placing a single rose in a glass canister, and is increasingly distressed as each pedal withers.

–Patient X picked up broom and began sweeping her hall today, whistling as she worked. She kept asking where Gus and Jaq were to help her. (We don’t know any Jaq in the hospital’s employ, but how did she know Gus the janitor was on vacation?)

–Our Senior Nurse, Marge, tried to feed her applesauce today. Patient X refused to open mouth, and ran down to Doc’s room to escape, inexplicably ending up with twigs in her hair upon arrival. Thankfully, his dwarfism doesn’t bother her, and they’ve struck up quite a friendship.

–Patient X keeps trying to escape the building—we think she suffers from some sort of science fiction delusion–she keeps asking to find a whole new world.

–Insists, before every meal, that we label her food and beverages with instructions, such as “eat me” and “drink me.”

–Patient X refuses to recognize names, and is addressing all men as “Jim Dear” and all women as “Darling.”

–Insists on cinching her hospital gown tight around the waist and wearing high heels at all times, even during examinations. She often takes her bouquet of flowers and grasps them on her chest as she falls asleep.

–She locked herself in her room today, and won’t let us in. Yet at the same time, she is pounding on the door and imploring for help, and for a footman, also named Jaq.

Once diagnosed, the doctors determined that Sophie’s best chance at turning her condition around is to be introduced to less conservative heroines that would assist in evening out her manic-depression and reliance on strong male leads and/or effeminate prince-figures. Her treatment includes watching more Warner Bros cartoons, and a healthy dose of live-action movies, such as Kill Bill and Alien. No reports on whether or not the treatment is taking, or if the feared side-effects of murderous rage and a distinct preference for yellow and black track suits have taken hold.

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