Before we entered this strange world we find ourselves in, I was used to travelling about, meeting new people in new environments, chatting to people all day long…..it was my sudoku, keeping dementia at bay….giving me something to fight it with…but now that social interaction has disappeared, “Talking’ to others is now a luxury. No longer am I starting off my day chatting to my taxi driver, chatting to fellow commuters, chatting to people at events and then all the way home in reverse….
Sadly this isn’t working in my favour as I’ve found myself having to concentrate so much when I do talk; have more problems word finding; find myself stuttering and grappling with words, mt speech slowing down…..a strange unexpected consequence I’d never considered. My typing is fine as I’m typing more than ever to keep in touch….
I suppose it can be compared to when I gave up typing for 2 weeks one Christmas and when I next opened my iPad I couldn’t remember what to do. I’ve never stopped typing since. Now I just find creeeping signs of the same thing happening with talking…..I’m not talking anywhere near as much, so when I do, I struggle more than before, have to concentrate on words, on sentences.….it happened within a week or so of events stopping so hopefully I’ve realised early…..even my daughters have noticed the change…
I open my mouth and the sentence in my head just doesn’t appear, this alien speaks for me and I’m so often shocked at what I hear come out of my mouth. When I talk to myself in my mind, it’s the old voice….my old voice is on the short video we made for the BBC some 5 years ago….you can listen and watch me here along with Keith and Christopher, just months after I was diagnosed…..my old voice….
But it’s a different voice that appears now when I speak……😔….yet when I talk to myself, in my head, it’s my old voice I can here…comforting but locked away inside my head…
I’ve been embracing this new community of ‘Zoom get togethers’ to try and avert disaster so when Anna Harrison suggested I set up my own ‘On the Web with Wendy’ – virtual chat sessions with me and a guest playmate on anything and everything, I jumped at the chance to see if I could make it work….the first session is today and has sold out, so we shall see how it goes. I plan to do 2 more next week if there’s enough interest….
On Monday, I had 3 zoom calls, the first was the first for Minds and Voices. Many hadn’t used zoom before. We had Eileen zoom in from Australia where she moved to in December!….Elaine couldn’t work out the zoom bit but had the genius idea of FaceTiming Damian, hence the reason why he’s holding up his phone on his shoulder to let Elaine take part and see us all…..so we had some gremlins but still lots of raucous laughter,
….followed by a call to help me set up my own web chat, and then my weekly Zoomettes call…
During this time of strangeness and isolation, we all need to find different ways to communicate with our fellow human beings. I find it helps me to cope with one day at a time. Think too far ahead and that’s where sadness lies as no one knows where the end is…..
I feel sooo much for those without the internet, without a smart phone….one of our playmates at Minds and Voices is one such person, so other ways are being looked at to help support her.
I’m not saying all this for sympathy. I’m trying to do everything I can to avert this irritation. I’m highlighting it to others as a warning, because people with dementia in Care Homes may no longer have any visitors; people in isolation may not speak to anyone for days; will their words escape them through lack of practice just like everything else that we don’t do frequently….? Keep talking, keep communicating….
I’m so lucky to have my virtual friends…looks like I need them more than ever now….