How does your conversation go...?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Kate P, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    Just wondered if everyone else's conversation goes something like this...

    RW: How's your mum doing, is she still working at ****?
    Me: No actually, she's been diagnosed with dementia so she had to finish work as she needs constant care now.
    RW: Oh, I'm sorry. Well, bye.

    Now this is someone who had known my mum for twenty odd years and me for eleven!!

    There's just no good way of having that conversation is there - it ultimately end in an awkward silence and avoidance of eye contact.

    Has anyone found a better way of having these conversations that doesn't end that way?
  2. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    A couple of weeks ago my neighbour came to the door with a parcel she'd taken in for me.

    N: How's John?
    H: Not good. He's got MRSA and the doctor is refusing to treat him any more
    N: Oh dear! (shrugs). There's nothing you can say to that is there?

    Walks off!:eek::mad::eek:
  3. nicetotalk

    nicetotalk Registered User

    Sep 22, 2006

    just wanted to say sorry to hear your mum has dementia, my mum had it as well but she is no longer with us. Yes ists strange how people respond isnt it? My mum had lived in the same street for 30 years and yet not one neighbour came to see her. IS it they just dont know what to say? is it igronance ive no idea. All i can say if it was one of my freinds i would be there for them no matter what illness they had. My mum is no longer hear and i have not spoken to one her so called friends scince she died, she did not even come to her funeral, i will never forgive something i feel so strong about they say you soon know who were your true freinds when things happen do take care. I would just come straight out and say 'why dont you come see her it would be nice' and see what they say then.

    take care kathyx
  4. 117katie

    117katie Guest

    Assessment ward setting

    Phone rings, A N Other answers phone in AW (=assessment ward)
    AW: Hello.

    Me: Hello, I was wanting to ask how XXXX is this evening?
    AW: Who?
    Me: XXXX

    AW: Wait moment, who she? How long she been here?

    ME: 10/15/20 weeks. (not in same phone call, but several spaced out)

    AW: Wait moment.

    ME:(waits patiently)

    AW: She ok.

    Me: Good, but how is she really. I was with her earlier today, but just wanted to check on how she is now, because she was vomiting when I was with her.

    AW: Well, she very confused. Very confused.

    ME: Yes, that is why she is in the assessment ward, isn't it? She has dementia. That is why she is there. She is with you for assessment.

    AW: Possible you right. Possible. Very possible.

    ME: So is she able to find her way to her new room, is she? Because the loo in the bathroom where she was this morning was stinking and foul and the toilet wouldn't flush, and was stuffed with paper and other debris and was declared unhygienic by the person on reception desk in the ward when we arrived, but nobody noticed it until we pointed it out to staff when we arrived. And the staff member locked the loo and put a sign up to say it was unhygienic and we removed all of her belongings from the bathroom, and from her room and moved them all to another room. I was worried about the fact that she might not be able to find her way back to her new room, which might confuse here even more. .... and is she still vomiting and is she well, ok now? Is she ok now???

    AW: She very confused; she may not find way to room; she very confused. She very very confused.

    ME: May I please speak with the most Senior person on duty this evening, (circa 9.30 pm) thank you.

    AW: Mam, I am senior tonight. Good night.

    End of conversation.

    Katie :(:(:(:(
  5. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    what does
    stand for ?
  6. snooky

    snooky Registered User

    May 12, 2007
    Hi Katie,
    Boy do I know what you mean!!! You know my Dad has AD and had pneumonia over christmas and subsequently permanently in a home in early Jan and my mum was diagnosed with Breast cancer in January. Well, I feel with a lot of people and sense it, that it is almost too much bad news for one person, so they just dont ask, which I find very hurtful - mostly people at work, who I thought I was close to but have found out different since! Last week I found out a very good friend of mine only had a few days left and I told the same people at work and they have NOT asked about her since and she has now died and I dont want to tell them cos they havent even bloody asked!!!! Its not my fault that all this has happened and what is it with people that they just cant support you. However, I do say some people, believe me, you prob know, you find out who your true friends are and I certainly have! Sorry to go on, but I am very raw at the moment and it has really upset me how a lot of people havent even asked after my friend, when I told them (people at work though!) and I thought they cared. I just feel its cos I am all bad news at the moment, but I cant help that!
    Nic x
  7. Chrissyan

    Chrissyan Registered User

    Aug 9, 2007
    N E England
    People have no idea how to deal with it or what to say, let alone understand it. It is the same as bereavement. Our neighbour tragically suddenly died on New Years Eve in her early 40's leaving a 13 year old daughter. The husband came over on New Years Day to tell us, he was distraught. We weren't best pals, just reasonable neighbours. My son aged 14 said I hope I don't see him as I won't know what to say. I told him that if he bumped into the neighbour not under any circumstances to pretend he didn't know. I told him to say how sorry he was for his loss. Two days later later it happened. The neighbour came over a couple of days later & said what a credit my son was & how nice he had been. It's just a case of people not knowing how to react. I find it easier with people I know well than acquaintances.
  8. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    I'm sorry Kate ..... it's not nice is it? Well, if they say 'bye' I suggest you just think 'good riddance'!:p

    Just to pick up on nicetotalk's phrase - yes, I do believe this type of reaction is down to ignorance (even fear) ...... and I have been quite disgusted at some of the supposedly intelligent people who have backed away from mum who I thought would have been loyal/understood better than that .... :(

    But just to gladden hearts - there are a lot of good people too ...... I know I posted a while back about an ex-neighbour of mum's - who on discovering mum 'wasn't too good' (see even I can play avoidance games!!!!) .... has made a pointed effort and gone out of her way to re-establish regular contact and offer company and support ...... and special hats off to my old school friend I called when mum needed podiatry ...... I wondered if it was 'workable' given said friend and I were usually in trouble together in school days (and, boy, that would be something mum WOULD remember!!!:rolleyes:) ... but she was more than happy to make home visits to mum having explained mum's circumstances (and for a lot less than I would have had to pay through the NHS but that's a whole other story!!!) ...... second visit she took along old photographs to share with mum ...... no ignorance there - she just knew what to do .... and how to make her 'client' happy .... I don't think mum realised she had had her 'feet done'!!!!!!:)

    You really do find out who your - and their - friends are ....... and start to see people - both professionally and personally in a very different light .........:cool:

    Karen, x
  9. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    #9 Grannie G, Mar 15, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
    My mother could have been called a `social butterfly`. She had an enormous circle of `friends` some from schooldays, some she and my father went on holidays with, and business acquaintances.

    Two of her closest freinds phoned me every week to ask how she was. They were prepared to listen but not prepared to visit.

    She died alone.

    My sister and I, attended her funeral and one friend.
  10. AJay

    AJay Registered User

    Aug 21, 2007
    Sylvia I'm so saddened by that, I'm really sorry.

    I'm finding something similar, Dad's friends also ring and ask but don't want to visit. I think they're frightened by 'what' they'll find. He's still my Dad, he's just different but they don't seem to understand.

    Ironically it's our friends who hardly know him who go to see him and spend ages gassing to him. Bless them.

    AJay xxx
  11. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Perhaps they are not so emotionally tied to how your father was. Maybe they are more able to accept him as he is now.

    The friends of my mother who had a conscience, admitted they were unable to face her decline. Some of them felt they were intruding on her privacy and dignity. I know that might sound awful, AJay, but think of these quite old fashioned people who kept everything very private. To them, it might have been fear for the future for themselves, but it also might have been something too personal for them to handle.
  12. AJay

    AJay Registered User

    Aug 21, 2007
    You're absolutely right, I didn't think of it that way.
  13. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    It is sad how people react when they realise a person has AD.

    Whilst mum had AD and lived in her own world, she could still bluff her way through a conversation for two minutes or so.

    Every Friday I took mum to the small local Bank branch where she was served by the same cashier. (Mum had done this on her own for years before getting AD). Whilst the conversation with the cashier was exactly the same each week it was similar to that of any other very long standing customer. The cashier was always very pleasant to mum treating her as an important long term customer.

    How are you today Mrs Happy?
    Very well thank you, it’s always better when my son is here.
    How would you like your cash today?
    All in £5 notes please.
    What are you going to do for the rest of the day?
    My son comes for Fish and Chips.
    Etc etc etc.

    One day we were an hour late and just got served before the cashier went off for her lunch.

    Moments later we met the cashier in the bread shop as she collected her sandwich.
    “We meet again Mrs Happy” she said.

    “Who on earth is that woman” said mum at the top of her voice, “I’ve never seen her before”.

    From that moment on mum was never treated in a friendly way at the Bank. The cashier became cold and efficient.

    You probable didn’t want to read all the above. But it helped me write it. Even though it must now be at least four years since it happened I still think about it, and it still annoys me.

  14. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Reading the above posts makes me realise just how fortunate Lionel and I have been.

    Maybe, because he was diagnosed early, and young, that he accepted his illness.

    Because he accepted his illness he spoke openly about it.
    If we met strangers he would be apt to say, "please try to understand if I answer a different question to the one you ask"
    "my brain gets scrambled sometimes".

    Everyone locally knew of his Alzheimer's, and we were indeed fortunate that no one was every nasty, or abrupt to him.

    Strangers, in the past, have been kindness itself. It is only now, in the last stages of the illness, that some people find it hard to accept (but it is hard to accept someone who is dying, and not very prettily)

    No, on the whole, and apart from his awful children who disowned him, people have been good to Lionel since his diagnosis.
    It has been a blessing.
  15. 117katie

    117katie Guest

    You are one lucky lady, Connie, with one lovely Lionel.

    Wish I had had the same experience of "people" as you and your Lionel have been so lucky to have.

    Treasure and remember each and every day of it.

    You have been truly blessed.

    If only we could all be equally blessed, then ....

  16. hendy

    hendy Registered User

    Feb 20, 2008
    West Yorkshire
    #16 hendy, Mar 15, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
    Dear all and Connie
    Reading everybody's posts prompted me to reply. Connie, I just felt so much sympathy and sadness for Lionel, he must be heartbroken about his children.
    I have been able to accept everything this dreadful illness has put Dad and us through. I can accept Dads friends and relations never visiting him. What I have never been able to accept is the fact that Dad has three daughters, one never visits, never asks, plainly doesn't care, has had practically no contact in at least 8 years. The other only started to contact Dad when he ended up on HDU after a collapse 2 years ago. This is despite conversations in the early days of diagnosis (5 years ago), that if you don't see Dad he might not ever recognise you. I am now ashamed of my sisters - however we are still on talking terms (just about through gritted teeth) but I never mention Dad unless asked. I dont know why they are like this. I think they are cruel.
    take care all
  17. 117katie

    117katie Guest

    I've got one like that too, hendy!!

    Remains a mystery to me that I will never understand.

  18. Carolynlott

    Carolynlott Registered User

    Jan 1, 2007
    Newcastle upon Tyne

    I was really interested to hear about your Lionel and how he understood his diagnosis. I think my Dad did too - although he was 77 when he was diagnosed just over two years ago. I remember the consultant coming and telling him what he had - and then going into great detail about the lack of blood flow in his temporal lobes. My poor Dad looked a bit blank, and the consultant said "You do realise this is serious don't you". I think he was very cruel. Dad used to collect newspaper cuttings about Alzheimer's and when he went away I found scraps of paper in his things with the word "Alzheimer" on.

    My Mum's consultant is visiting in two week's time to give her her diagnosis. I have asked him not to use the "A" word to my Mum - I think it would destroy her. She knows she has memory problems and I suspect she knows she has some sort of illness - but I don't want her to know she has what Dad has. If she wants to put 2 and 2 together fair enough, but I don't think she will.

    Getting back to the main thread - I have also found that friends who have no experience of AD are keeping their distance - even email wise. Maybe I have gone on about it too much in my emails to them. However on the other hand when the crisis with my Dad happened before Christmas I did ask that people at work shouldn't ask me about it - because I would have fallen apart.

    Dad has no-one apart from me and my husband who visit him. However, Mum asked through the week if she could come this weekend - I know she doesn't want to and is very frightened to, but thinks she should. I am really dreading the effect it will have on both of them, and don't know if it is the right thing to do.
  19. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Sorry:but this is our experience

    Illness and family: where do I start.

    Son, absolutely does not want to know. In some way I can admire him for that. Having made up his mind to 'disown' his dad, he has never wavered.

    Daughter, in my opinion, a hopeless case,but, hey she is his daughter.

    My darling man, has nevered 'pleaded his cause'. Never wondered how all this came about.

    Why would he? Today was always uppermost in his mind. Sorry, now today he does not have a mind. Today is as yesterday.......
    indeeed, for him, today could be tomorrow.

    Now, everyday is as anyday. Why should it be different?

    T'is a fine line between today and tomorrow.
  20. hendy

    hendy Registered User

    Feb 20, 2008
    West Yorkshire
    Hi Connie and all on thread
    I read your reply and I shed a few tears. My dad never questioned it either,he kind of accepted it in his own way. He always loved them (still does) and missed them just the same. Thats Dad for you! You're right Connie, Yesterdays, todays an tomorrows there aren't any boundaries with dementia.
    take care

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