I now truly dare to say – I’m back again.
Not back as “100% me” as I was, but I like the same things, and more importantly, I know what I knew.
This long weekend I was at the Scottish Summit in Glasgow, Scotland for a conference on Microsoft technology, and for me about Microsoft Power Platform techy stuff. That’s the area of my work for the last 13 years, well except for a year after I got the f%#c😡ing stroke.
Challenge One – my phone started ringing at 03:40 (=02:40 UK time) to start my travel to Scotland. Crazy early. And I’m a late-bound kinda guy.
Number Two – then I got to Arlanda, the Stockholms airport. That was even more crazy. Standing in queues for an hour or more, in the “short queue”, since I was already checked in and ready with a boarding pass and no bags the check-in. At the time 4 to 6 AM. Stockholm Arlanda has a bit of work to fix… Challenge to my right foot and leg, and even my brain, being in these queues.
Relax Jonas. Relax, this will be OK.
But can I get on a plane, with my backpack and my bag on the wheels?
Can I get my bag up above the seats? No way…
The plane I am taking to Edinburgh is a small plane. No, a tiny. Tiny tiny tiny plane. That’s easy, I think! But the stairs are really steep and silly narrow. I stand there, with people waiting for me to “just go on now!”. I try a few options in my head. But it’s a no-no. So I have to ask for the first ask for help. Someone will gladly bring my bag up to the plane. Phew.
I’m actually using my carry-on case as a cane, leaning against it. Please don’t help me, I need it…
Since the plane was tiny tiny, I could actually get my bag up and into the box above my seat! Boom #1.
When I was getting off the plane, the pilot was kind to carry my bag down the steep stairs. Thank you #2.
OK, after this taxi from Edinburgh to Glasgow and the Strathclyde University and the conference, how do I speak in English now? How do I understand you?
With “other” English, not the easier “England Queen English style”, how do I understand anything? Or my old friend from Spain, Finland, Croatia, etc. – how do you speak your English?
I understood most. I think. I hope.
It is very clear which problems I have now. I walk a bit like a drunk, or like Quasimodo. I say hi with my left hand, the right which you should use is deadish. I hug with 1.04 arms, not with 2.00 arms. And the talking is at about 60% and listening at 50%.
These numbers are very numbers from me, not from a doctor or anyone else. My numbers.
The difference between 60% and 50% is huge. It actually gets a lot bigger – when I miss one small word, when I have to think for 5 seconds or only 1 second – I miss so much more than just one word. I miss the rest of that sentence, I easily lost the track you are speaking about, I may get stuck in that word, and my brain is spinning in another direction, for a second or three.
I’m there now, I talk to my friends and to unknown people. It seems to work. Phew.
I’m now listening to my friend and colleague Sara, the presentation on a “not techy” session – but about her last year and surviving cancer. I try OK to not lay down and sob. But it was hard. Because she was as good as always.
And then there’s lunch. With another crazy long queue… My friend Janet came up to me and said “Hey, poor you, let’s fix you lunch!” and dragged me with her and start to skip the queue, saying, “Sorry, let us pass through, this is The Jonas – he has to get food, move it!”. I did not like that… I’m a functioning person, with one very good hand. But I like that help, a bit. Thanks, Janet… 🙏
I was sitting on my own, eating and trying to relax a bit. But a few, or many, “disturbed” me anyway. They want to just say hi, and many say they are so happy, and maybe that they owe me, after I created tools that make them get better quality and faster at their work. Basically, I make these people better.
This is crazy too. Wow.
I don’t know how to respond. I usually try to find something witty and joke. But this year [aphasia], it’s harder… Maybe I just go back to the meaning I really feel:
In the afternoon – I had to check in at the hotel, and sleep for almost two hours. Hard to wake up, but I did, and then some social dinner, and then most of us went on to the classic BrewDog. I had a beer, I was talking to quite many, and I was just watching even more.
I love to be with these.
But then I had to go back to the hotel, just before 22 (10 PM). Time to look a bit at my presentation for tomorrow, early early at 09:00…
The day I am returning to the techy guys & gals.
So Mark wanted me to come, and he wanted me to “be techy!”. I like that. It’s a bit scary, of course, since “I’m new” at this today.
And I speak badly with aphasia, and can I code on the stage with only my left hand? What if the audience asks me something that I don’t understand? Or do I misunderstand wrongly? An I crazy to accept this job? Probably. But anyway…
I told someone at home what the session is about. “3 minutes PowerPoint, and the rest is live coding”. He thought this is a kamikaze presentation… Everything can fail!
I think, “It’s a bit easier”. Why? I know the code. The code is easy.
Having 45 mins of PowerPoint – then you have to know the text, the message, the slides – everything is harder! For me.
Speaking for a 45 min PowerPoint is hard for my aphasia. When I can think of the code and try to explain it during the live coding is simple. The code is the answer to my live talking.
The code is my pacifier blanket.
(maybe strange direct translation from Swedish)
My session works. It did. Damn. And phew.
I think I got applause afterward, but I don’t really know…
I’m exhausted. Literally.
I am a DJ right now. Just starting to pump up the energy.
I feel Avicii.
Don’t come to my session for something to maybe learn and I’m speaking monotone and trying you to fall asleep so you don’t hear if I say something wrong.
Come to my session for entertainment! I like you to laugh at my jokes. I like you to laugh at my unexpected bugs, I want you to never tweet during my session because you forget your phone and just follow Mr. DJ Rapp every second!
OK, that’s a bit too much. I’m not a DJ. Avicii is/was the only.
But I like you to have fun, and I hope to entertain you.
And you may tweet.
After my session, a few came to me and asked some questions.
I hate it, not the questions, but the aphasia. When you ask, and I don’t know from which area, what problem, or just something stated. Extra more when I’m tired and my brain has turned off. It is really hard for me. I hate hate hate that, I want to answer the best I can. I have to accept that. For now.
A few times I had to say sorry (since I like to be honest) but with the aphasia, “I can’t understand your question”. I am sorry. And I feel stupid.
After my session, the rest was only downhill… Well, not really, but easier than my Return To Techy Presentations.
I was a part of “the panel” for two topics: Neurydiversity first and then Mental Health. Very interesting to both listen to the others and give my own thoughts on these topics.
Being here and speaking about myself, and having the possibility to share from my life. My new life.
What is most important, is to know what I can, to know what I cannot do, and what I may can after more training.
I think I’ve learned a lot about this, this weekend.
✅ I can travel on my own
✅ I can socialize with friends
✅ I can socialize with stranges
✅ I can survive in English
✅ I can present
✅ I can entertain
✅ I can relax and I know I will survive
✅ I can drink a beer, or maybe a few
OK, I can’t do everything… Like say numbers… Not to count, that’s not hard, but only say the numbers… Why what?
On Sunday, me and two colleagues Sara and Benedikt were going back to Sweden. Sitting for lunch at the Glasgow Airport, chit-chatting, and eating a bit. I was having a beer. Sara saved me by ordering a Stella. Why? The lady who asked for orders, and I wanted a beer. She started to list all types of beer they have. In my aphasia brain, all I heard was “blur blurry blyr bloures”… I tried to answer, but think think think… That’s when Sara said “A Stella, please” to her. Thanks. You saved me.
A few laughs. Haha.
Checking on my phone, and finally, they gave us a Gate number 21 to go to. So I said, “We have a gate now – number sixteen.”
Benedikt just looking at me… He didn’t want to be mean, he tried to say something else… “…number twenty-one…?” He was looking at the screen behind me and saw the number there.
I was showing on my phone for 21, and repeated “Gate sixteen.”
A few seconds…
And then my wonderful brain finally said to me – hm, sixteen means 16. 21 is called twenty-one.
And the explosion of laughter.
Having these weird problems I have – it’s only to laugh at it.