How will the interpretation work ... with waving of hands, pointing of fingers, a small whiteboard with one word on it and a duster to wipe it off .. and no ability to actually put a sentence together that is ‘translateable’ for my mother?
It was excellent and we were both laughing away – but it was completely incongruous and I was laughing at the absurdity of it ... while my mother was happily laughing along - wonderful to see and share these now too brief moments.
In the days when she could hear ... these were the types of conversation we used to have .. and perhaps you can now see why my posts are so eclectic, but also include short and sharp cross links – that will lead out .... where?? We find out as we go .....
My mother’s words in italics .. for some ease of differentiation .. My resources for this ‘conversation’: one whiteboard, cloth to wipe off each word and two personae: me and ‘her’!
Waving arms, pointing fingers, shaking and nodding heads, and ‘herself’ wanting to converse, which she did .. but how to reply, how to explain, how to inform ... well that’s another matter.
My mother wanted to know why she couldn’t hear – reasonable .. but with the next question ... "I’m paying enough they should be able to fix it!" (Actually the National Health Service is paying .. but that’s an explanation too far) – not so easy to answer.
So what now? I’m tired (I know, before I start!) .. so I yawn – without putting my hand in front of my mouth – immediately my mother says “I don’t want to see your tonsils” .... then “do you know what tonsils do?” I thought I’d say ‘no’ .. shaking my head to indicate that!
“Well go over there to that table and look in that big book – Chambers- and it will tell you – they are your first line of defence" ... this is my mother! What I thought was interesting – was that she could not and did not recognise the word ‘Google’ ... now last year she would have done. Nor did the word ‘internet’ ring any bells for her. So she has regressed a little.
Then – "did you put the posters up? – they’re wonderful .. thank you darling .. and look at those above the curtains .. with the little dogs on! Thank you." I had put these up about three months ago – but I was not going that route!
So now we’re into "Why can’t I hear?" Remember I cannot converse, nor can I write a sentence ... so I put the words “cold, sore throat, bad chest” .. on three separate lines ... the word my mother picks up is cold – "I’m not cold". But obviously cannot relate that word to the question she asked – it would be fine if I could explain ... she’s always been grateful for my explanations .. but I can’t.
There’s more .... but enough is enough .. I’d bought soft toilet paper instead of tissues, as the staff are quite profligate with them, and I thought loo paper (as we call it here in the UK) would be fine for mopping up her mouth and nose etc. .. but my mother "I don’t want loo paper – that’s not for blowing my nose" ... you know there are no flies on her: even now.
You get the idea ... when we could chatter together it was quite enlightening and we’d have lots of laughs ... belly laughs .. as we did on Friday – and I’d be sent home to Google or Wiki for more information and bring it in for my next visit.
I hold Hardwick up for her to see .. and she immediately says "Hallo Boy ... you’ve been a good companion for me ... and you do have such an intelligent face and look": thank goodness for Hardwick is all I can say – he’s been inseparable from her .. we even had him in hospital – but I was terrified he’d be swept up into the laundry .. so I took him down for visits!
When we were London in the Acute Brain Injury Unit right at the beginning, three years ago now .. a Cameroonian lady had been brought in .. and had a radio with her tuned in to Gospel Music .. and I thought oh oh .. this is not going to please my Ma and asked them if they could keep the sound low .. misery me!
Well, I was truly put in my place on my next visit .. Jasmine said to me (yes Jannie a Jasmine here too!) – do you know what your mother said after you’d gone to get the train ... please turn the music back on!! My reaction to this ... was .. would the patients lift their sheets and bop around the ward in various states of hobble .. and have huge guffaws of laughter as they went ... I just thought what a wonderful scene could be built from this concept. What do you think?
Language and our understanding of it .. my mother thinking I was asking if she was cold .. because the fans were on (usually we have them on – my mother had said earlier she’d rather be cold than hot) .. but my one word on the whiteboard .. ‘cold’ was to imply she had a cold and it had affected her ears ... ears, nose and throat. Well that was a thought too far too.
Harry Bingham's Website – The Writer’s Workshop .. the Word Cloud where writers meet ..
F gh as in rough
I o as in women
SH ti as in nation
However Bingham goes on to say .. that if we eat fish, we eat chips too and potato could be ...
ready for it? ghoughbteighpteau ...... as in:
P gh as in hiccough
O ough as in though
T bt as in debt
A eigh as in neighbour
T pt as in pterodactyl
O eau as in bureau
Now .. firstly do you pronounce the words as we do .. because if not obviously this would floor you ... or flaw you? ... but secondly wouldn’t you want to continue reading? Binhgam goes on to say ... “Other languages have their eccentric spellings, of course, but English is in a league of its own. French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian all spell more or less as they sound .... do they? – I’d be lost I think: however English of course is supernumerary?!
So going back to my mother and ‘cold’ ... in this case it’s her understanding of the word ... rather than the written ... is it ewe or you? course or coarse? .. which do we mean: gosh am I glad I’m English! It makes for fascinating reading this little book and these occur on only pages 1 and 2?!
And I haven’t really finished with Jasmine ... we have Jannie’s Blue Bunny, who has a Jasmine squirrel, we had our Cameroonian Jasmine, we have the flowers Jasmine – yellow or white, we have the granddaughter, Jasmine, of a friend of my mother’s and for some extraordinary reason .. we have Jasmine, a squirrel, here ...
.... Jasmine, our squirrel, made an uninvited guest appearance the other weekend .. wandering into the Home and visiting every room, hopping onto their beds, saying ‘hello’ to every patient .. and then wondering where next .. with a little help outside please! She kept us amused and occupied for the afternoon ...
When these funnies happen .. and with the extraordinary escapades and stories that have occurred in these last three + years .. I keep thinking there must be sitcom here .. with all these fantastic interweaving story lines .. well I think so – but my imagination does wander somewhat.
Time for tea ... Ghoti and ghoughbteighpteau .....anyone? Then we could sit and watch that tv sitcom ....
Thanks for being here Mr Postman .. and you’re right we did have another quick visit to the hospital on Saturday (when my mother remembered the loo paper – so her short term memory is there! .. amazing isn’t it?) .. and all is well now – we’re safe and back at the Care Centre.
Fish riders in a 1920s poster of the Republic of China
Four years ago .. a cancer sufferer, Maxine, wrote a song in conjunction with Billy Bragg, when he was conducting workshops at the Hospice, for her daughter Jessica .. called ..and "We laughed" .. and it always brings tears to my eyes, but is so appropriate for Mum and I .. - we've always laughed and it's so good to remember all those times: if you would like to hear more and see more .. please visit here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VyTuNcu1bY&feature=related This is the first performance ever after Maxine had died .. with a little bit of commentary by Billy on how the song came about...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVJBxlklpyM This is with Maxine and Jess talking about the future and how the song came about ....
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