Face to face, chatting. Telephone. Skype. Email. Text. Blogging. FaceBook. Twitter. Letters. Messaging. Notes. Newspapers. Magazines. Television. Radio.
How do you communicate? What skills do you use?
Speech, touch, sight, listening, typing or writing.
Herself can’t speak much, or write, or see much. Often we ‘chat’ on the phone and that means me burbling about what’s going on here, and Herself making some sort of random noise in response. Sometimes it’s a grunt, sometimes it’s like a kitten purr. The odd time we can work out a word. So much of it is guess work and interpretation, with a bit of luck and a fair wind aiding us.
My mum’s brain isn’t sending the right messages to her body and so she’s becoming ever more paralysed. She has therapists of all shades and disciplines. Her cognitive processing is slowed, so it can take longer to grasp hold of idea. Her behaviour can be irrational, leading to her escaping/ toppling from the wheelchair and ending up in hospital. She’s been moved to the room closest to the nurses’ station in the home to help with her safety. She has sides on the bed, a clip on alarm, alarmed mats and needs the help of two people to move safely, but still she’ll try to do it on her own. Strong, stubborn, independent, infuriating, bewildering, distressing, wonderful woman that she is.
What is amazing though, is how on top of things she manages to be. She was able to remind me to get birthday cards for the Nephew. She enjoys the conversation around her and will interject with a word here and there. It might take us a while to figure out what the word is, but it’s always appropriate and shows that she’s still involved. A while ago the Brother and I were with her, and chatting generally about primary schools. Herself interjected. Eventually we understood a phrase ‘Mother Kevin’. This meant nothing to the Brother, but from the back of my head came tales of a witch of a teacher. A nun from 60 years ago who put fear in the hearts of Herself and all my uncles and aunts when they were little. The memories and the emotions are all there.
Right now, touch is the best way to communicate- hugs, hand holding, helping her put on moisturiser. We can convey love, care and affection; it’s just not great for detail.