Communication difficulties

My Mum hasn’t been well, so I have come to stay with my parents for a few days. They are getting old, my Dad is 82 and my Mum is going to be 80 later this year. They needed a hand, and some company, well, my Mum did. My dad is happy to have time on his own, he has been very busy taking care of her lately and is rather worn out. I realise they are getting old and becoming more and more like little kids. I try to be as patient as I can and look at the bright side of things. I must tell you, they make me smile a lot and sometimes laugh too. Not at them, just at the situations created by this “getting on” aspect. You see, one is rather deaf, the other speaks in a very quiet voice, to him.

Now, my dad gets up in the morning and doesn’t wear his hearing device until he has washed and dressed. That means, if you want to speak to him, you must first attract his attention by waving your arms right in front of him (most times in a frantic way as he is also very distracted) and then, come up with the most concise way on how to say what you want to communicate, and as loud as possible. I sometimes laugh at myself too, I just immagine what I must look like while I do that!!

Later, having inserted his priceless aid (as in very very expensive), things get a little easier for me. As long as he is looking at me, I can speak almost at normal volume. The funny part is the two of them speaking to each other though. You see, my Mum, has decided she is not able to speak up anymore. Well, that is when speaking to him…when speaking to me, the volume is fine. Like when in the early morning, she comes to wake me up (I swear I didn’t ask for this!) and says :” I thought I’d wake you so we can have breakfast together” right in my ear. She then starts chatting away in a rather loud voice, sometimes singing a little and performing a little dance. Volume isn’t the issue then. Oh, I forgot, she also screams for several minutes now and again, she says she needs to let frustration out. I tell you, she can make a lot of noise when she wants to!

So, getting back to their “conversations”, you have these great moments when she says something to my Father, in her special quiet voice, usually either: a) looking somewhere else, so he has no idea she is speaking to him b) keeping her eyes closed (she does that a lot and of course, again, he has no idea she is speaking to him) c) walking to another room or even being in another room. He hasn’t got a chance!!!!!!!

She then proceeds to repeat what she just said, before he even asks. She now has his bewildered attention and she knows he hasn’t understood a word. Sometimes she says the whole sentence again, but, more often, just repeats the last few words. At this point he still doesn’t grasp what she is on about, would you? The third time follows straight after and is usually the winning one! All the while I seat there watching them and trying desperately not to laugh. It really is comical.

My Mum is so used to doing this, she does it with me too. I normally understand the first time, as long as we are at least in the same room that is, but she goes on to repeat it anyway. I guess she is so accustomed to it she does it without thinking. The other reason is she is actually a little deaf too, so, when I say yes to what she just related to me, she doesn’t hear it.

Getting back to my Dad, this wonderful ear piece he has, can even be connected to the tv. He can watch it and be the only one to listen to it, more or less….it’s so loud I can actually make out most of the words. And he speaks now and again, the tv blasting away in his ears and he wants to tell you something, so he shouts it. Of course you can only listen, no way he is going to hear your comment or answer. It’s a one way system. I actually think it’s his favourite way to have a conversation, he speaks, you nod, smile or frown, nothing else!