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Ch. 112 Pat Thinks Better Then She Can Speak

Ch. 112 Pat Thinks Better Then She Can Speak

          October 2021

          Pat and I used to talk about politics for hours. We also discussed local activities. But then Lewy Body came along, and we mostly quit thinking about these things. Life has become more narrowly focused; now we spend our time just being with each other, attending to the details of living. Enjoying eating dinner together at the memory care center is usually enough, as are holding each other’s hands and listening to classical music records.

          But this evening was different. First, I read out loud a headline about Covid-19 from our local newspaper, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. Pat understood what I read and became interested in the topic. We spent perhaps 30 minutes talking, discovering that we had both received booster shots earlier that day at precisely 11 a.m., albeit at different places and without knowledge of the other. Pat needed reassurance that we were as safe from the virus as possible. We even discussed the reasons some people declined to get vaccinated or to wear masks.

          That wasn’t the end to our conversation, though. We shared thoughts about our children and grandchildren’s activities (our grandchild David was a member of a wedding party that weekend), how the coming winter storms might limit my ability to visit Pat, etc. Not politics, however. We are leaving those concerns to the rest of humanity for now.

          One thing that surprised me during our discussion was the clarity of Pat’s thoughts. Not that she could express her ideas as clearly as she thought them; Pat’s words still tended to trail off  or become disorganized after 6-10 words. But there is a difference between knowing what you want to say and being able to say it. 

          I found I could track Pat’s thoughts so long as I paid careful attention. Here is an example: Pat might start a sentence as follows: "David is handsome. He is going... to... an orange." Putting her sentence in context, I could guess she might be referring to David attending the wedding. Then I would ask Pat if she was talking about David going to the wedding? "Yes," she would confirm if I had understood her intent. If I was wrong she would try again, and so would I. 

         Most importantly, I realized that Pat was still thinking well and understanding what was going on around her better than she could tell us. (I suspect that may be true for many people afflicted with Lewy Body.) My goal now is to listen for Pat’s thoughts, not just to her words.

Pat’s comments on Pat Thinks Better Then She Can Speak:

          I agree [that I have thoughts that I have difficulty expressing].