Friday, October 28, 2011

From the Man Cave

I am in the Man Cave today. This is the attic of our house. It is the place where I go when I want to draw, paint, write, read or just sleep. I am in this cave because I don't seem to understand Jan. I'm sure I am the only man who can't understand his wife (any hands up?)

I've noticed something that is becoming more noticeable since the last seizure, but maybe it was there before and I had not noticed it. Several occasions my wife has gotten upset with me because I did not hear what she said. I know that as I get older, my hearing is beginning to fade. I know that when I am concentrated doing something and Jan comes to talk to me, I exercise my very powerful power of selective hearing, and as a result I only hear a part of what she said. I know I have problems with listening to her, really listening to her, putting all my attention to what she says, and making eye contact -yes! this is indispensable if I want to let her know that I heard what she said. No eye contact in a conversation is an automatic trip to the dog house. You see?, this is a challenge, because even though she had the aneurysm, she has a photographic memory about events and details in the medium and long term memory. On the contrary, I am beginning to experience a good share of senior moments not remembering what or where I am supposed to go. So, without an excuse, every time I ask her about something, I go prepared to end in the dog house. Actually, I spend so much time there, that I should make it more comfortable...

Having said that, on several occasions when I have asked her where is she going or what is happening at a particular time, she replies: "I've told you just five minutes ago". And this is where the issue becomes more intriguing, because I review my communications for the past five minutes and often they don't include talking to her. What am I saying? That I am getting totally deaf? Not likely. What I am beginning to suspect is that she has conversations with herself, some of which include my person, but they do not necessarily come out of her mouth. These are conversations in her head. Have you talked to yourself lately? I do it all the time, and sometimes a part of these self-talk comes out of my mouth when Jan is around, so she asks, What did you said? What are you talking about? because she has only heard a fragment of the whole thing. Most times I just reply: Nothing. Which is not true, because I said something, and this takes me straight to the dog house with a sermon about telling the truth...

So, she does a lot of self-talk. The problem is that she thinks she has told me things that I have not heard. Is this a part of aphasia ( /əˈfeɪziə/) or apraxia? What system or program got knocked down with the last seizure? Every seizure kills thousands of neurons. Just like that: Puff! they are gone. The good thing is that she has a few trillions of neurons more, so she can spare some. But why the ones that allow a person to know that the words are actually being spoken rather than just thought? This is my question right now as I ponder and pace around my man cave (which serves also as a physical dog-house).

I think I need a dog because my not even my cats come up here...



Paul Barden said...

Hello Fede.
I have a suggestion; establish a new protocol which you must both agree to, which would go like this:

EVERY thing that Jan wants to be SURE you know about must be written on a board or sticky notes. If it does NOT appear on the board/sticky notes, then you both understand that the message has NOT been communicated. Only written notes on the "memory board" are things that you are both aware of and have been acknowledged. If you make some external tool (external to Jan) serve as her public memory, it might alleviate many issues over who told who what, or DIDN'T tell.

This is apparently a very useful tool for dealing with people who cannot convert short-term memory into long-term memory. (Alzheimer's patients, for example)

Good luck, and love to Jan, of course.


777jan777jan said...

Hello, Fede.
This is my first 'note' to your blog. Now, it's nice to get words enough to write to you (my anuerisym...).

I thought that your comment about my thinking-in-my-head-and-don't-speak-it-to-you doesn't make sense to me. How can I say it, in a new way, for you? To me, I hear my voice OUTLOUD each time I am speaking to you. Hmmmm... Very strange....

Thank you for the comment. I await your answer.

FC said...

Hi Paul,
Great to read your comment. Thanks for the advise. I know I have been very sluggish with strategies I know would help us both. I will do my best to accompany Jan with these.

FC said...

Many thanks for your comment. Very inspiring to see you blogging. It's coming! Yes. One day out of sheer faith you will be back to your full capacity. I hear you. There are many other things that seem strange while we navigate this aneurysm.
Love, Fede