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Re: [xmca] Update on Tony Whitson

High hopes and best wishes for Tony, and thanks for the updates--it is high time for me to call home and check up on my mother-in-law, my aunt, and anybody else I can think of who is susceptible to brain injuries.
It sometimes happens that people who suffer speech impairment to a first language in a stroke maintain the perfect use of a second language (this is evidence of a very different, more deliberate learning mechanism in second language learning, which is what Vygotsky tells us about in Chapter Six of Thinking and Speech). .

I know Tony is a fluent speaker of Chinese. I wonder if anybody has tried him on Chinese.
David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

--- On Sun, 12/11/11, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:

From: David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu>
Subject: [xmca] Update on Tony Whitson
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Sunday, December 11, 2011, 11:00 AM

I'm forwarding updates on Tony's condition from Bill Stanley and Gail

They include his physical address, as well as an email address for
messages to be read to him. 

Apparently his receptive language is unimpaired by the stroke. 


From: Stanley, William [mailto:wstanley@monmouth.edu] 
Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2011 7:18 AM

Dave:  Hi. Sorry for the delayed response and to have been the bearer of
sad tidings. I have attached an email below to the NCSS listserv... .

I saw Tony Saturday and he is gradually doing better. One the one hand,
it is remarkable how well he has progress, given most of us would not
have survived what he went through (not discovered for about four days
in his apartment after the stroke). However, his recover is likely to
take a long time. He is essentially starting over with respect to speech
and writing. I will try to visit him regularly and remain optimistic.
Tony is a remarkable human being and seems quite determined to work his
way back. Thanks so much for getting in touch. I hope you are doing

>From Bill Stanley to NCSS, December 8:

Hi All,

I had several requests for Tony's contact information.

He is currently at:

Christiana Care Rehab Hospital
501 14th St
Wilmington, DE 19801

Note that Tony is scheduled to be transferred to a long term rehab
center in the next week or so.

One of Tony's siblings and his U of Delaware colleague, Gail Rys, have
set up an account for Tony to received email from friends:

Gail told me that "Tony is not able to independently log on to this
account yet or read comments with understanding, but he seems to
understand spoken language perfectly, so we are reading the emails on
this account to Tony as they come in.  He also is interested in and
seems to definitely understand current events, especially happenings in
the national political scene, so if anyone wants to send Tony their
thoughts or comments about the Rise of Newt or other new developments on
the national or international scene, it would give him something to mull

Gail is also sending out occasional updates on Tony's progress. Below is
a short addendum to as well as the last update that Gail sent out.

"Here is the last email I sent out to update folks on Tony's progress.
Please feel free to share this with others in the Social Studies group.
Since I wrote this about 10 days ago, Tony has advanced to walking the
entire length of a 135' hallway with a Hemi-walker (like a 4-footed
cane), and he has now begun saying some simple words like YES, OK,
THANKS.  He doesn't say them consistently, but when he does say them,
they are clearly articulated and he uses them appropriately."

>From Gail Rys, November 29, 2011

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to give a quick update on Tony's progress.

Tony continues to improve in wonderful and unexpected ways.  Last Friday
morning, he was still not able to vocalize but on Friday night he said a
whole sentence clearly.  Speech ability has waxed and waned fairly
inconsistently since then, but he is regularly able to produce sound now
and is working on articulation.

Also late last week, he was walking with assistance from his physical
therapists.  His right leg is still very weak, but the paralysis is
slipping away day by day.  He still isn't able to quite use his right
hand yet, but the folks there are working on that.  Tony has 3 hours of
Speech Therapy, PT and OT each morning and another 90 minutes in the

He is responding to music, often mouthing the words to familiar songs.
He is able to draw alphabetic letters clearly with his left hand, but
symbolic representation isn't quite there yet.  For example, he's not
putting T-O-N-Y together to spell TONY or to understand that the word
refers to him.

His affect and emotional health are remarkable.  Fred has spent many
hours with Tony and neither of us have seen any grumpiness or anger or
any negative emotions at all.  It is very clear that he knows who
everyone is and the "Tony" expressions that we have all seen on his face
for many years are all there. We found out from his family that Tony has
a very nice singing voice and actually starred in some musicals in high
school, so Fred has been bringing his iPad with a keyboard app, and Tony
is able to repeat musical note patterns very well.

His first two brothers and two sisters have returned home and brother
number three (Rick) arrived on Sunday to be with Tony.  His sister Nancy
will return on December 6 to spend about two weeks here.  Tony's
incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful and loving family.

And, I think the good news is that Tony is ready for visitors.  Although
he's not able to talk very well yet, I know he'd be very happy to hear
about your lives and ideas.  He is in room 603 at the Christiana Care
Rehab Hospital at 501 14th Street in Wilmington.  The parking is free
there in the parking garage, but they are doing a lot of construction on
the hospital, so the main entrance to the hospital is now right beside
the Emergency Entrance.  Once you enter the hospital, you can either
take the NORTH elevator to the 6th floor or you can take the nearer WEST
elevator to the 5th floor, get off, and take the stairwell up one more
flight to the 6th floor.  Not sure what that's all about, but it's an
old building and perhaps they don't want the neuro patients to be able
to have direct access to the elevator??? Just a guess.....

Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts for Tony and his family.
They are very appreciative of all the help he is getting.


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