Thursday, April 9, 2009

What to do?

So, yesterday I taught my adult English class. As you know, my students are old as dirt! They are fabulous students but ancient.

Yesterday one of my older students, Yuko-san, was having trouble speaking English. It was so bizarre. Yuko-san is a retired English teacher who can normally speak perfect English. (She's 73 years old, by the way.) She has a thick accent, but her grammar and word usage is usually perfect. In fact, most of the time she uses vocabulary words I haven't heard since the last time I read a college text book. She is an incredibly gifted woman. However, yesterday something was different about her.

Yesterday she couldn't find the correct words in her lexicon to use when speaking. She kept saying things wrong and getting all mixed up. It was so weird, almost like a bad dream. I was so confused by her inability to communicate in English. Last week she was fine, and this week it was like talking to a beginning English student. She seemed to comprehend what I was saying, but she couldn't communicate back in her normal perfect English. She apologized many times by saying, "My English no good today."

Today when I was teaching several ladies from the same class, I mentioned to them that Yuko-san's English was really bad yesterday. They said they noticed that she wasn't using her typical complex sentences and vocabulary. They believe she is just getting old. However, I think something happened to her- something bad. It almost reminds me of when my grandfather had a stroke. After my grandfather's stroke, he could no longer speak English. It was weird. It was like English just fell out of his brain. Spanish was his first language, and he was able to speak that fine. But the English he knew had simply disappeared after the stroke. It kind of seemed the same way yesterday for Yuko-san. She had no outer signs that anything was wrong. She seemed fine except for a weird comment she made at the end of class.

At the beginning of class, I gave the students cookies and candies for Easter. I told them briefly the meaning behind Easter and its significance for Christians. All the students ate their cookies and candies except for Yuko-san. I asked her if she liked the cookie, and she said yes. I asked her if it was okay, because she hadn't eaten it yet. She replied back by saying she was going to take it to her husband. The only problem with that statement is her husband is dead. He died last year, and she lives alone. It was a weird conversation, and I was confused by it. I wasn't sure what to say back. I just stood there with a creased forehead perplexed. I was trying to wrap my brain around what she had just said. She was going to take a cookie to her dead husband? What?

I didn't realize how weird yesterday was until I told Husband about it last night at dinner. As I was retelling the day's events, I started to wonder if maybe Yuko-san had had a stroke or is starting to show signs of Alzheimer's. It's just so weird.

I don't know what to do or what to say to her. I'm not sure if there is anything I can do. I'm worried that she is losing her cognitive ability, and it's going fast. One day she can speak perfect English, and the next day she is a bumbling idiot not making any sense. It's just so weird.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If she has family, they should be told ASAP !!
She very well could have had a mini stroke !!

24 pounds lighter D