wings and things

Communicating with Anthony

on February 14, 2016

It is sometimes difficult for me to explain to family, friends and staff about how best to communicate with Anthony now that he has become so silent. So it was refreshing yesterday to have one of the carers tell me that she had learned how important it was to explain to Ants that they were taking him to the toilet or shower etc. and sometimes using the hoist.

“If we explain to him first, everything goes smoothly,” she said; “but if we don’t, he resists.” I told her how grateful I was for this understanding, remembering the times, a couple of years ago, when the use of the hoist terrified him – late night phone-calls from the nursing home in which I had to calm him down and reassure him that he wasn’t being captured by pirates and put into a torture chamber.

Thankfully, these kind of hallucinatory panic attacks were fairly short-lived and now that Ants is less ambulant, the hoist is used often to transfer him from one place to another. As far as I know, this no longer causes fear for him.

Verbally, Anthony is very slow to respond (both cognitively and vocally) so you need to sit close enough to touch him, or give him a ‘nosy’ (nose kiss), or yell nonsense, all of which Ming and I did this afternoon. And Anthony smiled many times, especially at Ming’s antics and asking, at one point, who the ‘bloke’ was.

Me: I am NOT  a bloke, Ants!

Anthony: Oh.

Me: It’s me – your wife!

Anthony: Yes, it is.

Okay so we are now into the fifth year of Anthony’s life in the nursing home and I am continually gobsmacked at how he continues to survive advanced prostate cancer, liver disease and PDD (Parkinson’s disease dementia). He is definitely way past his ‘used-by’ date but, as he isn’t in physical pain, I don’t worry as much; not only that – he is always positive, always accepting, always answering the ‘how-are-you?’ question with a whispered ‘fighting fit.’




14 responses to “Communicating with Anthony

  1. Julie , you are a wonderful example of unending love. thank you

  2. Colline says:

    It is hard for people when they do not see the progress of the diease as you do because you visit everyday.

  3. I can imagine how much Anthony loves you.

  4. Vicki says:

    I guess it takes a bit of practice for the uninitiated, but I would assume one should speak normally (but slightly slower) and not expect an answer. If there’s more than one visitor, one should spend time with each sentence directly looking at Anthony, not speak over him, or for him (as though he is stupid).

    If he’s asleep, he’s asleep.

    If he’s awake, he should be acknowledged and included, even if it’s a day where he can’t speak.

    As an aside, one of the first things I noticed about Asians in my travels in the mid 1970s is that they always looked you in the eye when they spoke to you. Australians, in general, have a bad habit of looking anywhere around, except directly at you. It really annoys me.

  5. Terry says:

    You are so patient, loving and kind. Happy Valentine’s Day and a Happy Valentines Day to you too, Ants!!

  6. ksbeth says:

    love is shown in so many ways –

  7. susanpoozan says:

    In this difficult time for you all, I am glad to read about the thoughtful carer.

  8. Happy Valentine’s Day, Julie. People all over the world are thinking of each other fondly today and that’s a good thing.

  9. Well I would be scared of the hoist, I would be worried I would fall out of it, it has to be used to get nan in and out of bed and they use something that looks like a bed to bathe her as she needs to be in a laying position as she can’t hold her head up any more

  10. Candy Brumpton says:

    Thank you Julie your comments mean a lot to me, love to you, Ming and Anthony. Love Candy xo

  11. misifusa says:

    I don’t know why I feel such sadness when I read this post. Perhaps it’s because I am watching my own Mom and Aunt with this terrible disease and many times what you write strikes a chord in me, a sadness or a slow smile in understanding. This one has tears for me and I cannot explain why, but I want you to know that I am thinking of you. ♥

  12. You guys–Anthony, Ming, and you–are just too cool!!

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