It seems like a dangerous precedent to start dialing 911 every time you get a nonsense text from a relative—if we're using that as a metric then pretty much everyone in my family over the age of 50 is having a stroke at all times. But, of course, as interpersonal communication shifts more and more toward the digital (and as people of all generations become more technologically competent), it makes sense to keep an eye on the gibberish coming out of our loved ones' phones.
Because one of these days it might not be mom trying out a dubious new abbreve—it might be "something much worse":
After receiving a series of befuddling texts from his 25-year-old pregnant wife regarding her due date, a worried husband recently brought her to Brigham and Women's Hospital where sure enough, neurologists diagnosed a stroke; they reported the case in this week's issue of the journal Archives of Neurology.
Here's a sample of the texting transcript between husband (h) and patient (p). The phone's auto-correct function had been turned off, which explains the misspellings.
H: So what's the deal? P: every where thinging days nighing P: Some is where! H: What the hell does that mean? H: You're not making any sense. H: July 24, right? P: J 30 H: July 30? P: Yes H: Oh ok. I'm worried about your confusing answers P: But i think H: Think what? P: What i think with be fine
Neurologists are calling this phenomenon—nonsensical texts stemming from stroke-induced aphasia—"dystextia," and as much as I hate getting all alarmist about techy buzzwords, I'm uncomfortable now. Because does anyone's phone not spew nonsense like 50% of the time? Seeing as almost all people are lazy, careless, hasty, ham-fingered goobers? So now my handheld nonsense-machine is also a diagnostic tool that diagnoses illness based on nonsense. And Damn You, Autocorrect is the new Physician's Desk Reference. Great. I can't wait to feel a sickening panic every time I get a weird text that's just 19 Fs and then a sunglasses-face. Thanks, medical science. I guess grandpa's dead now.
Photo credit: monkey_business / Stockfresh.