Did I mention I was a numbers guy? Oh yes…the last 3 posts (Link Link Link ) were little spins on numbers. Why not call it a series and do it again today??? I have never been one to worry about beating dead horses, so why not?
Did you notice that if you multiply the day and the month today the product equals 84? My slightly odd brain noticed it right off the bat.
I want to briefly mention a 1984-themed concept to you. Part of me would love to dive in to an in-depth analysis of the many similarities of current America with the Orwellian world this book portrayed, but this isn’t a political blog…and I/you would just get annoyed. Instead let’s talk about “Newspeak”. If you have not read this book, it won’t hurt my feelings if you bail out and just hop to Digitalcornbread.com and peruse through one of my other 450+ posts I have penned since mom has been symptomatic. This one may make less sense without an understanding of 1984. 🙂 I am sorry…and I hope this helps some folks that may not have an interest in other odd topics I choose.
“Newspeak grammar is arranged so that any word can serve as any part of speech, and there are three different groups of vocabulary words. The A vocabulary contains everyday words and phrases, as Orwell says, “for such things as eating, drinking, working” and so on. In comparison with modern English, these words are fewer in number but more rigid in meaning. Newspeak leaves no room for nuance, or for degrees of meaning. The B vocabulary of Newspeak contains all words with political or ideological significance, specially tailored to engender blind acceptance of the Party’s doctrines. For example, “goodthink” means roughly the same thing as “orthodoxy.” The B vocabulary consists entirely of compound words and often compresses words into smaller forms to achieve conceptual simplicity: the English phrase “Thought Police,” for instance, is compressed into “thinkpol”; “the Ministry of Love” becomes “miniluv.” The C vocabulary encompasses words that relate specifically to science and to technical fields and disciplines. It is designed to ensure that technical knowledge remains segmented among many fields, so that no one individual can gain access to too much knowledge. In fact, there is no word for “science”; as Orwell writes, “Ingsoc” covers any meaning that such a concept could possibly have.”https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/1984/section11/
First…wow…are we living in this mess, or what??? OK…no politics. Back to dementia…
I would like to suggest to you a sister concept in dementia that I will call Deme-Speak. (No, this is not a Demi Levato-sponsored dating service). Deme-Speak is how I will try to describe the stages of talk/communication that mom has gone through since her bout with dementia became symptomatic. As a reminder, she was diagnosed over 10 years ago, but only became severely symptomatic less that 3 years ago. Here are the stages she has gone through:
“A” Vocabulary (Abrupt/Abbreviated/Atypical)- In early stage dementia, mom’s speech was generally ok. I would call her nearly every day on the way home from work before or after I would call my dad. There were a few things about it though, looking back, that should have been a red flag. She was happy and all, like normal, but she was fairly abrupt with her answers when I asked her a question. She went from being free and easy in topics she was comfortable with (usually the same things every call) to providing short, abbreviated answers. She used to be chattier. She would always steer the conversation to areas that she was comfortable talking in, word-wise. This new talk was atypical for her. Another atypical aspect of her early speech is losing words, names, and stories. She was previously verbally sharp, but she started making mistakes that seemed innocent at the time.
“B” Vocabulary (Broken/Baffled/Behavior-based)- By the time mom hit the B Vocabulary stage (mid-stage dementia), we were completely “on to her” as far as her decline was progressing. There was a transition from A to B, if you will, that came to a head when we discovered that faithful day that mom didn’t remember our names. She was great at hiding things, but those days were passed. Her sentences were broken, frustrated by the loss of the right word and/or the loss of her train of thought. She would make large mistakes on stories, forgetting who had died (or what of), forgetting where she was going mid-sentence, and would get frustrated. Her behavior, and the words associated with it, were increasingly anxious, suspicious to the verge of paranoid, and, frankly, nerve-racking for her. It was at this point that she became so hard to keep settled down and, more importantly safe, that we had no other choice but to seek a memory unit at a local nursing home. We tried everything we could come up with…
“C” Vocabulary (Confused/Cues/Cadence/Crushing) – Mom is in end-stage dementia now. Nearly everything she says is confused. She does send and receive non-verbal cues and follows a speech cadence as if I can understand…but not using words, or right words. (Word salad is what some call it, sadly). She pauses to see if I understand, which I always “do”…and I empathize. I also repeat what she says back sometimes so she can know, hopefully, that she is being listened to and “heard”. I try hard to be positive and happy-go-lucky as much as I can without treating her like a baby. But, in the end, I can sugar-coat this mess all I want to…it is still crushing to see her this way. She looks like a tired, sometimes confused, but generally still happy shell of what she looked like a few years ago. Stinkin’ disease. 🙁
More could be said about these categories of Deme-speak. They do not fit perfectly into categories because the disease doesn’t progress uniformly. Mom was actually quite confused by mid-stage. There is another B Word that could have been used (that momma taught me not to say) that some experience in mid- to late-stage when they become female dog-ish in attitude and in talk. Some, who were never that way before, swear like a sailor. Some don’t lose speech nearly as bad as others. It just depends, as always, on where the disease strikes in the brain.
Thank you all for visiting today. Keep an eye out for Big Brother, and, more importantly, keep an eye on your loved ones with dementia…and their caregivers.