I’ve been feeling a little stumped about the language difficulties symptom because this is where I feel fooled a lot, and worse, (and this is definitely my bad) made a fool of. I’ve mentioned before how “good” Maxine can appear and sound. This is the area where I have questioned the most how “real” this Alzheimer’s really is, anyway.
I’m really quite astounded, though (as I usually am), when I look around the web for more clarity. This time I’ve truly gained some understanding from two perspectives, Maxine’s and mine.
I’m really trying to create a clearer picture for myself of what Alzheimer’s is and how it devastates a brain. Whatever impairment takes hold, and memory impairment is a major feature of the disease, will impact on all the other features. It easily follows that being able to use and grasp language will be impacted by losing memory functions.
What I don’t really understand is how to picture the path Alzheimer’s will take or is taking in a specific brain. I am getting it (sometimes) that there are spared memory functions, as well as impaired memory functions, and if I can remember that; I can (hopefully) appreciate that there are aspects of the memory that are still relatively solid.
What I have to watch for in myself is to not get all bent out of shape that I am truly lousy at imagining what all of this looks like, and I have gross habits of judgment that I apply without thought. And, I am wrong, more often than not. It does get pretty sickening when just about every time my blood pressure settles down in tolerable range, I eventually come to the realization I should have simply reminded myself, “consider the source”, smiled sweetly and carried forth.
On one of the websites culled from my “SEARCH Alzheimer’s language difficulties”, which was [http://www.zarcrom. com/users/alzheimers/st-05.html] is contained a sentence built beautifully, just for me: “Communicating with an Alzheimer’s patient is among the most difficult tasks a caregiver faces as the disease progresses.” For me, that one sentence describes real close to 92%, my frustration at being with Maxine.
Come on, somebody, bite! That 92% had to raise your eyebrows at least a little, eh? I am dying to see some life on this site, in the way of comments – get my drift?
So, then, if Maxine sounds so good and looks so good, what’s the communication problem? Ah, there’s the rub. You see, the communication is all too one-sided. I cannot be heard. I cannot be understood. I cannot be valued. I cannot be empathized with. I cannot count. There is NEVER, dialogue, rather, always monologue.
The site I mentioned above, http://www.zarcrom. com/users/alzheimers/st-05.html was most helpful in addressing language problems so that I could relate best with my experiences with Maxine. The Stages of Language Breakdown are divided into four language abilities: Memory, Comprehension, Linguistic Skills and Social Communication with Early Forgetful, Middle and Late Stages. The well delineated, descriptive phrases in each stage helped me realize that Maxine has comprehension and memory problems that were well hidden by the linguistic skills and social communication skills Maxine still enjoys.
I was reminded how often I feel assaulted by her “thinking” when she has finished a newspaper or two or magazine or two of the “enquiring” minds rag sheets ilk. So far as I know, she has always loved those, and will fight to the death for their veracity. I actually remember being pregnant with her second grandchild and how well defended the account of the front page picture meant to depict an eleven year old boy, a victim of self combustion, was by her; despite her husband, son and myself arguing for, “oh, come on!” I’m pretty sure it’s memories such as those that make it difficult for me to distinguish Alzheimer’s from type, but I keep trying.
Let me get back to feeling assaulted by her “thinking”. Today, when I asked her if she was hungry for lunch, she waved a piece of her mail at me and started loudly proclaiming she wouldn’t vote for a woman for President, she wouldn’t vote for a Republican, she wouldn’t have Palin for anything, she didn’t care about Obama and wouldn’t vote for him, didn’t care what happened to him, etc. Rail, rail, rail.
That does remind me: I find it a real strain on my ears and my nerves and compassion capacity to hear her mimic people and music on television, similar to how a perturbing child might. I can see how that, too, is language breakdown. Hmmm. Ah, me.