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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Why I Hate Aphasia...

This, just one example from last week:


Bob: Too low.

Me: You need a boost? (meaning, to be pulled up in bed)

Bob: No. Too low.

Me: If you're too low, I can boost you up a bit. Not much, but a bit.

Bob: Nooo. It's too low.

Me: What's too low?

Bob: Too low!

Me: What is too low, sweetheart? I don't understand.

Bob: (making a gesture with his hand, holding it first up higher and then down lower) Too low!

Me: I know what "too low" means. What is too low?

Bob: (getting frustrated) TOO LOW!

Me: (also frustrated) WHAT IS TOO LOW?! I DON'T UNDERSTAND!

Bob: (smacks the towels, neatly arranged, on his bed) TOO LOW!

Me: The towels? The towels are too low? You want more towels?

Bob: (smacking the towels, again) NO! TOO LOW!

Me: Do you want more towels? I can get you more towels.

Bob: NO! Towels! (smacks the towels again)

Me: What's wrong with the towels?

Bob: TOO LOW!

Me: GA!

Bob: TOO LOW! TOO LOW!

Me: I DON'T UNDERSTAND! WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE TOWELS? I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!!

Bob: TOO LOW! TOO LOW!

Me: I want to help you. I do. I just don't understand!

Bob: (smacking the towels again) SEE? TOO! LOW!

Me: I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT! I DON'T UNDERSTAND! WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE TOWELS?? THEY ARE THE SAME TOWELS! EVERY SINGLE DAY, I WASH THOSE TOWELS FOR YOU, I DRY TOWELS FOR YOU, I FOLD THEM UP JUST LIKE YOU LIKE THEM, I EVEN SORT THEM BY COLOR AND SIZE, JUST LIKE YOU LIKE THEM, AND YOU DON'T EVEN APPRECIATE IT!!!!

Bob: I appreciate it.

Me: GA! Why can you sometimes speak so clearly and other times MAKE NO SENSE AT ALL???

Bob: I don't know.

Me: Aaargh!

Bob: Forgive me?

Me: I'm not mad at you. It's just so frustrating, so damn frustrating when I don't understand you.

Bob: I know.


I tell you, it's enough to drive a person insane...




6 comments:

Mike Furr said...

I'm sorry that you feel frustration from this and that it occurs frequently. The only way I can relate is that I have an employee who doesn't speak english. Before the frustration set's in I can get a translator. You don't have that option unfortunately.
Are there tools you can use to help the communication like word or letter cards?? Some kind of sanity saver tool out there??
be well
mike

J.L. Murphey said...

Yes, aphasia is frustrating for the care giver. Frustrating for the person with aphasia too!
At least Bob can utter a few words. It could be worse.

A picture board may help. Have Bob draw one for you. You can write what the picture means under it.

barbpolan said...

This makes me so sad. It's hard enough sometimes to communicate well with someone WITHOUT aphasia.

I often misunderstand Tom, and when I ask him for clarification, he thinks I'm criticizing his word choice or how he said it. Yesterday, he even said "yesterday" when he meant "today." That's a mistake I often make when I talk, but hearing it from him is very confusing for me. He just misspoke, as people often do, but I don't identify it properly.

Anonymous said...

To some extent I can identify with both Bob and your frustration in the communications problem. My dad has severe frontal lobe dementia, and he can no longer form sentences to express what he wants to say. It's so tough to watch him struggle to find the words and then attempt to put them into something understandable. I can see the frustration in his eyes and face, and though it's tempting to try to finish a sentence for him, I know I can't do so without stepping on his dignity. The next time I visit him, I'm going to see if he can express himself by writing in place of speaking.

I wish I had a solution for you in Bob's case, but I don't. As always, you both are in my thoughts and prayers.

Hugs, Dan

Rebecca Dutton said...

Can Bob help by using his visual skills? AFTER HE CALMS DOWN - have him draw a picture - take a photo of him in the upsetting situation, print it out, and have him point to what is bothering him - make a few clipart cards for things that really bother him - use American sign language? I worry about your blood pressure when this happens.

Marty Salo said...

I'm not sure if this suggestion might help or not, but you might want to see if bob is able to make use of an ipad or some similar device to type out messages? I'm not sure if there's something with word finding that is problematic or what exactly. Maybe with some texting predictive typing assistant it might be helpful, your milage may vary, but I like the written word.