I was very excited about the EEG test that I had a couple of weeks ago. The technician had wired me up to the machine to record brainwaves as I performed the requested tasks. However, the lady surprised me by having me sing “You are my Sunshine” followed immediately by speaking the words. I was excited to learn that she did this because of my demonstration before the testing began.
It was with great anticipation that I went to see Dr. John Scott, my neurologist for my follow up appointment on Wednesday. I could hardly wait to hear what the EEG scribblings would show. I bet that there would be irrefutable evidence that my speech area was located in a different part of the brain than that which I used to sing. And since I can since in my “regular” voice, I thought that meant that I would be able to fully recover my normal, unaccented voice.
However, my excitement turned to disappointment when I didn’t get such a report. “Your EEG is normal,” came the report. Although that is good news in regard to connectivity of brainwaves and such, it didn’t help shed light on what is actually going on with me.
When I put the doctor on the spot with, “Well, if I just came to you with these symptoms and I had never even mentioned Foreign Accent Syndrome, what would you do with me?”
Dr. Scott told me that there simply isn’t an easy way to figure out what is going on with me. He said that in this local hospital network there simply aren’t specialists who deal with speech and how one might suddenly be stricken with a foreign accent. The closest related doctors that he could think of deal more with dementia than speech. There are also doctors who handle speech problems as it relates to psychologically based maladies, but I don’t really fit into that category either.
The bottom line of our follow up appointment is that Dr. Scott was entertaining the idea that it might be Foreign Accent Syndrome, but we are unsure of where to go from here. What testing or studies should be done. Dr. Jack Ryalls, of University of Central Florida is an expert on Foreign Accent Syndrome. My neurologist asked me to have Dr. Ryalls email him with suggestions for tests and then he will consider those recommendations and schedule them accordingly if possible. For example a functional MRI has been known to show which areas of the brain are affected, but there may not be the proper imaging tools located around here.
It is looking more and more like I am going to be dependent on some sort of a School of Medicine to launch an investigation, or include me in a study of some kind, because there doesn’t appear to be anything around here like me. Truly, I am feeling very foreign now, not just in accent, but in the idea that people just don’t know what to do with me or this problem.
There are very many people who say that I have a beautiful sounding accent. They all are intrigued by the very idea that I have this affliction. It truly is bizarre, however what to do about it? That is the question. All in all, I didn’t get the report that I was hoping for.
That is why I continue to scour the internet for more information on what may explain this. I am amassing quite a lot of documentation, but not getting to the answers yet. There is so little known about such a rarity. Still, I press on. . . there are others who are looking for the same answers out there. Still there are others who don’t know who to turn to for help. I, at least, have a group of doctors who are legitimately trying to get to the source of the problem.s