Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Not Always What We Say

Back to my blog home page:

I go in to wake Ann from her afternoon nap. She will sleep from lunch to dinner every day. Because we are trying to get her stronger and functionally mobile to return to home, though, we have to make sure she doesn't stay in bed for dinner, too!

I gently put my hand on her arm. After a few seconds, I rub just a little. I know she is a person who does not mind being touched. If she was, I would have to use a different method!

She stirs. I tell her in a voice just loud enough for her to hear, "Ann, it's time to wake up. Almost dinner time."

She pulls back the covers and puts her warm hand on my forearm. She feels warm and wonderful! We start a daily conversation that I enjoy so much.

She speaks to me in Finnish, and I have no idea what she is saying. I speak back in English, which at times she understands, and at others, well, I'm really not sure.

She begins to rub my forearm while we talk, the way a grandmother would give comfort to a child.

Some people get frustrated with Ann because she won't speak English. I see that in her cognitive decline, she is losing her second language. She is reverting to the language she spoke as a child.

I allow her to slowly get up and assist her to the wheelchair. This is when the elderly are most at risk for falls, right after sleeping when they start to stand up.

She is awake now, still speaking Finnish. She signals the time, then says, "Morning?!"

"No, Annie," it's late afternoon. Time for dinner. It's Tuesday still."

She holds my hand for a moment and looks in my eyes.

We both smile.

I am keenly aware that it doesn't matter what language we speak to each other. The most important language is that of love and respect for each other that flows between us. Together we share a short moment in time that fills both our hearts and enables us to move on to the end of the day.

It's not always what we say....

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