Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words


  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.



Have you had a stroke now?. . . how about now? . . . Have you had . . .

…doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
  • Ask the individual to smile.
  • Ask him or her to raise both arms.
  • Ask the person to speak a simple sentence.
If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
There are some e-mails going about the Internet offering this advice. My first thought when I received the e-mail was to ask when one should administer the test. One can’t, after all, go around like the “Can you hear me now” guy, walking up to people and asking them to raise their arms. Sure you can’t.

So, to whom should you administer the test? That guy standing on the corner, slapping a lottery ticket on his palm and staring into space?
Someone who falls down and holds his head while moaning and losing sphincter control?
Someone who voted for Kerry?

Another thing the e-mail could be clearer about: Once you have him standing there with a grimace on his face and his arms in the air, what sort of simple sentence do you ask him to repeat?
How about "My dog has fleas"?
Maybe "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers"?
Is "I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy" asking too much? [Ed. If he doesn’t smile at that, has he had a stroke or is he just thick as a two-inch pine plank?]

It turns out that the e-mails are based on a press release from the American Stroke Association (part of the American Heart Association). The tests are intended to be used by 9-1-1 operators to have someone on the scene evaluate a possible stroke. Obviously, something serious enough to get 9-1-1 involved has already happened before you start playing Simon says with the victim.

So don’t try this at home, kids, except under the supervision of a certified emergency telephone-call operator.

P.S.The ASA lists warning sign of a possible stroke. Early detection is important, because clot-dissolving drugs can greatly reduce long-term disability from a stroke if they are administered within three hours.



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