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Eavesdropping…… on my Family

November 18, 2013

Every Sunday, for the past 15 years, Dad called his children. For a while his live-in caregiver reminded him it was Sunday and that we were waiting.  When Dad moved in with me, I would sit with him, dial, and hand the phone to him.  I’d stay in the vicinity ready to make the next call.  Since Dad’ hearing is so bad we always used the speaker. I could hear everything, but tried not to listen.

More recently, I sit next to Dad holding the phone while he talks to each sibling.  Now it is impossible not to listen!  Dad isn’t able to communicate anymore.  He doesn’t talk much and when he does there are lots of nonsense words mixed up with some real ones.   I tell them, “he smiled at that.”  “Now he is laughing.” I make sure they know what has distracted him and when he is falling asleep.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 18, 2013 6:46 pm

    On Eavesdropping: What a wise and compassionate caregiver you are. This is lifted from one of my books which seems appropriate here: You are certainly one who understands.

    Many Alzheimer patients return to babbling in later stages of the disease. These next two poems pose the question, “Have we thought that maybe, we are the ones with language deficiency?” Perhaps if we learned to see through their eyes and hear through their ears, we will learn more of their world instead of being stuck in our own. This may lead us to find a way to caregive with less conflict and to find answers to “which of us live in a normal world?”

    Babbling …
    sounds without words
    a soliloquy on stage
    her eyes on fire
    her head nodding with passion
    periods commas disappear her babbling
    Continues chuckles laughter …
    We speak our French, Italian,
    English and even Japanese,
    but no one, no one
    has taught us Babblelese.
    Why so much laughter in Babblelese?
    Are all her secrets being released
    Riding the winds on whose wings they fly?
    Babblelese –
    Language reserved
    For the precious few.



    Another misdiagnosis: Hey Doc,
    She ain’t got no language/perception
    Decay, she’s merely turning into a poet,
    A literary jewel of metaphors,
    A perceiver of images unseen
    By passers-by, medical tests and research.
    Ah, Doc,
    Blessed are the poets
    Born daily into our lives.

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