Ch.70 How Can We Keep Pat Involved in the Conversation?
We’ve had a week of beautiful weather here in Western Wisconsin. 70 Degree (Fahrenheit) days this late in the year are almost unheard of, but here they are. Pat and I have taken advantage of this pre-winter break to indulge in a series of porch visits with our children and friends. However, during these visits I noticed that frequently only 3 people were speaking in each foursome. Pat was mostly silent. When I asked her about it, she told me that everybody else was talking too fast and switching subjects too quickly for her to say anything.
Yesterday we were waking up together around 7 a.m. Pat made a comment about our family and I answered. Then I drifted along in that space between sleep and wakefulness for a minute, only to hear Pat then make a follow-up comment. This happened several times more, each statement following a long pause. Afterwards I thought about a duplicate bridge acquaintance named Carl I met in bridge tournaments and a friend of mine from grad school named Jim. Each talked slowly. They both tended to fade away during group conversations. With Jim, I discovered that I could only converse with him if I were willing to wait several seconds for a reply to any question I might ask. Only then did I discover that this quiet man often had brilliant ideas.
The one place in which Pat does get a good chance to speak is our book club. Members there know Pat has Lewy Body. They take time to ask for her thoughts and then they wait awhile for her to respond. I think they do so because they’ve discovered that Pat will say something interesting and informative when they give her time.
Lewy Body has slowed Pat’s conversation rate. I need to remember to allow time for her to consider and deliver her thoughts when we talk. Also, I think we need to let family and friends know our situation. Otherwise, they might ask Pat a question and then go on to someone else before she has a chance to respond.
Pat’s comments on How Can We Keep Pat Involved in the Conversation?
Ron: How does it feel when you can’t get in a word edgewise?
Pat: I feel there is very little purpose in talking because my words won’t have any real effect. I feel like what I’m saying isn’t making much of a difference to you guys and I need to know what I could say that would make a difference. If nobody takes the time to listen to me then I don’t feel like I matter. It makes me feel unimportant. If I am really a friend of yours then I want to know you can accept what I am saying equally to what you’re saying and not pretend to be doing that when you’re not.