Tuesday, August 9, 2005

THE NAME GAME

I talked to Peggy last night for the first time in a week.

It was a nice surprise to hear her voice.

Her husband called and asked if I would like to talk to Peggy. It only took a nano second to say, yes.

Her voice sounded small at first but as soon as I started talking about the baby that I was sending her and how much I had missed her, she got excited and tried to talk back.

When her husband came back on the phone he told me that Peggy was smiling the whole time that I was talking to her.

She doesn't remember my name or that we are sisters but she does still know that I am a familiar voice.

What a gift!

My sister remembers the sound of my voice.

I have often wondered what it would be like to have Alzheimer's disease.  I think that I found a little of what it may be like in my daily life.

Have you ever been in a social situation and a person starts walking  toward you, smiling?  They get closer and you know that you should know who they are and have seen them somewhere but not sure where. Their name is lost somewhere in your brain and you cannot remember it as you smile back and shake their hand. The harder you try to recall their name, the deeper the name hides inside of you and it can be embarrasing as the person clasps your hand, smiles and says your name.

They remember who you are but you are searching your brain to remember their name and where you met them without making a total idiot of yourself.

So, you stand there smiling and pretending that you remember this person who obviously remembers who you are. All the time trying  hard to put a name to the face. A name that never comes into your mind as you nod and talk.

 One of the major thoughts that come to you as you continue to talk is to pray that this person will not utter these words....

You don't know who I am, do you?

I think this must be what it is like to have Alzheimer's disease and try to remember people's names even though are familiar to you.

The next time this situation happens to you...

Think of Peggy and other Alzheimer's patients and how hard it must be to try to remember who people are, how you are connected and their name.

Never ask an Alzheimer's patient this question....

Do you know who I am or You don't remember me, do you?

If they did...they would have called you by name when they saw you.

Never put an Alzheimer's patient in the embarrassing position of playing the name game.

If you do.. remember how embarrassed you have been at the times in your life when you were put on the spot. The spot of remembering a face but forgetting the name. The awful spot when that person says to you.... 

You don't remember me, do you? Or...Do you know who I am?

Alzheimer's takes away so much from a person.  There are stages of the disease when the patient gets embarrassed by forgetting the names of people who know them.

Just try to be sensitive to the Alzheimer's patient and in your own life by not putting a person on the spot by playing the name game.

Thanks for the gift of remembering the sound of my voice, Peggy! 

I don't really need a name anyway!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

6 comments:

mosie1944 said...

What a wonderful entry.  And thanks for the advice.

wendy4145 said...

Wow!!  Congratulations!!!

You are the right meds. for Peggy.  She smiled the whole time you were on the phone with her.  Look, you've gone and cheered her up.  I know that must have been a great moment for you, Peggy and her husband.  I'm SO glad he thought of calling you to let ya'll talk.

Maybe you can talk again tomorrow!

I am excited about your gift of Peggy remembering your voice.  "yea, who needs a name anyway'

I am so terrible with names ML... Honestly, it happens to me all of the time... i see their face, they recognize mine... and i just blurt out to them.."i know you,"  I have forgotten your name, I am terrible with names" but I know you... where do i know you from.. and i beg them to remind me...
"that way, i don't get put on the spot!"  LOL

but yes.. we must be very sensative to Alzthimers Patients... because they NEVER need to be put on the spot.

Great Letter Today!
Love,
Wendy

siennastarr said...

It made me so happy to hear that Peggy smiled the whole time you spoke with her.  It seems she is really looking forward to having that baby to hold and love.  You really hit a winner with that one!
I do know what it's like to not remember someone's name, but I never thought about it in terms of Alzheimers dz.  I certainly will, from now on.  That was a very good analogy.
I can't wait to hear how Peggy does with her new baby coming on Wednesday!  Please update us on that!

Jackie

inafrnz247 said...

Your thoughts on what Alzheimer's must be like are right on, I believe.  I visited my Nana this past weekend with my young daughter's and she recognized them, and talked with them, but guessed incorrectly on their names.  I told her their names because she was trying to remember and she said, "Oh yes!"  She is still communicating with us so well, we are so fortunate for this.  I always make it a point to smile and speak with the other residents there...those residents that are probably a lot like your sister, Peggy.  The ones who smile.....and the ones who don't.  God bless,  Michelle

indigosunmoon said...

Wonderful advice!
I'm so glad she talked to you and remembered
your voice.  Thats wonderful!
Love,
Connie

caragricke said...

I can picture Peg smiling because when BJ and I were with her in Bham in July, she was smiling when we called you.  Your voice is a familiar one to her and will always be because for years you have called her each day.  I am smiling as I write this because she was happy to hear your voice. I believe she will be happy when she receives Mary Ellen #2. Love, caragricke