Saturday, 30 June 2007

H - h - h - handkerchiefs

Another outing with our elderly friend James, who we took to his favourite café for coffee and cakes. He wanted to have a good talk about his daughter as he feels she isn’t doing as much as she might, and he's understandably very hurt. (As we and his neighbours do his shopping and generally look after him, I would say that she could do a lot more for her dad, but it’s difficult for us to say anything.)

Bless him, each conversation takes ages because he forgets what he was trying to say, or can’t find the words, and we have to guess what he’s trying to say. It’s like playing charades where you have to decide whether it’s a film, a play or a TV show – and then guess each syllable after that.

When he gets stuck, he has a sip of coffee and another mouthful of cake - regretfully they didn’t have their wonderfully sticky flapjack but the banana and walnut cake came a good second best. This gives him thinking time until he can formulate what he’s trying to say next. So the conversation is full of gaps where we either speak or don’t, and try and work out what he’s trying to say. I don’t know who it’s more frustrating for – him or us.

In the car, we asked if James would like to stop to do any shopping on the way home.
‘Yes, please. I’d like to stop there,’ he said, pointing to the newsagent as we went past. ‘I need to get some – (pause) – some (another pause) – six –’

‘Six what, James?’

‘Six - six - six - paintings.’

This had us flummoxed. I was thinking paintings, papers, what does he mean?

‘No, I er I don’t mean paintings, I mean –’ yet another pause. ‘Six –’

We sat there with baited breath. ‘Six – h-h-‘

I tried to think of something – anything that began with H that you might get from a newsagent. I couldn’t.

‘Handkerchiefs!’ he cried triumphantly.

11 comments:

Akelamalu said...

Aw bless. I'm not being facetious here - I have days like that myself where the right word just won't come to mind - it's bloody annoying!

Around My Kitchen Table said...

How sad that his children seem to be somewhat lacking in the caring department. But he's very lucky to have you and Mr Flowerpot as a friend.

Jayne said...

I'm alwyas forgetting the words I need to use. Not because I lack eloquence (honest!!), but because I have so much going on in my head that I have to shuffle everything about a bit so I won't forget the next thing I want to say. As a result, I speak really quickly.That is my excuse anyway...

I've just caught up on your blog after a week or so. I've loved all of it.

Take care

Motheratlarge said...

You can never have too many handkerchiefs. He's quite right there. Sad about his daughter. Nice for him to have you as a friend.

Flowerpot said...

I also have days when I can't think of the right word and panic thinking Is this the first step towards dementia? Thankfully it seems it's not! Jayne, good to meet you and I know what you mean - I always have far too much going on in my head! Motheratlarge - good to see you too. We ended up finding him 2 packets of linen hankies in the nearby Pound Shop - a stroke of genius on Himself's part. So it only cost J £2!

Motheratlarge said...

Pound shops can be surprisingly good for things like that, can't they. Like your site. Would you like to swap blog links?

Rebecca Taunton said...

I often have days where I forget everything. If I don't carry a notebook around with me, I'm lost (Not a good sign for the future, if I'm like this before I'm 30!).

You would think that his daughter would take care of someone who devoted part of his life to raise her. It's very sad indeed.

debio said...

You are so kind to do this, flowerpot.

Flowerpot said...

motheratlarge - would love to swap links - will add yours in a minute.
RT - I've had to write things down ever since my early 20s or I forget them. It means I have writing pads and Post its all over the house! My desk is currently littered with green and white ones.
Debio - James is a very lovable man. he deserves to be looked after - and he's always so appreciative. God knows what happened between him and his daughters....

Mopsa said...

Alan Bennett encapsulated it beautifully when he describes his mother referring to the vista as "what a big lot of about". The phrase has entered my life and gets used often. I think of myself as articulate but frequently (and always have) struggle to wrap my tongue around the word I want. Is that senility or do some brains just have odd synaptic arrangements? I feel a blog coming on!!

Flowerpot said...

mopsa - that quote from Alan Bennett is wonderful! Must remember that.