On Sunday, Lyn made sure we had our weekly Skype conversation. We got through the regular set of questions about the various members of my household, pets included. She told us they had purchased their PBR tickets. She was practically bouncing in her seat when telling me. When she was done, she sat back to watch and listen while Mom and I chatted.
I let Mom know about a request for supplies for some of the K9 handlers the U.S. has stationed in Afghanistan. Lyn interrupted to say that she didn't understand. What did K9 mean? She was genuinely lost in the conversation and we quickly explained that K9 meant dogs. We changed our terms to talk about "the soldiers and their dogs" which she could understand a bit better.
I don't tend to have a poker face, but Skype is improving that. I have a small window and can see my own expressions which I use to make sure I don't reveal dismay or sadness to Lyn. The truth is that I was a little surprised that she no longer recognized the term "K9". Words and their meanings are slipping from her faster than any of us would like.
When she asked us to clarify the term for her, she stammered and had multiple false starts to the question. Both Mom and I knew what she wanted to ask and we had to keep ourselves from just jumping in and finishing her thought for her. She deserves the courtesy of our listening more than we have a need to just get to the next thought.
After the call, I sent Mom an email asking for confirmation of what I was seeing in her speech pattern changes. Mom confirms. She writes: "This is the new norm I think. She'll begin to say something and go back and repeat or say "let me put it another way." Trouble is, she hadn't gotten it out to begin with. I have quit watching with such a critical eye, it was too much. I note changes but know it's part of this new life."
Even Mom's lovely neighbor has noticed and just smiles as Lyn tries to wrangle her words into order.