Posted by Naomi Finch at 04/09/2012 15:55:44
Gramps has been frustrated about the loss of his sight for a number of years, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have had your sight and lose it. And, for as long as I can recall he has had hearing trouble, his hearing is now just about gone. When I say I have to shout for him to hear, it’s an understatement.
He also has trouble with higher pitched voices, mainly women, and in his own jocular way he doesn’t mind telling them. ‘I can’t understand what you’re saying love... you just sound like a cat meowing to me’. I then end up interpreting for them. He is used to my voice but even I have to talk like a baritone to make him understand sometimes.
It does make it very difficult to have a full conversation with him, however, it can also be very comical.
A couple of months ago, I took him to the bank. Fortunately for us he is well known to them and they took us into a private room, knowing our voices would be raised. He is of the era where he wants a pass book, likes to draw his money out weekly and has really no idea what a direct debit is. He is also very financially astute, so the questions he asked needed fairly in depth answers... tricky!
Lets just say we were there that long they brought us a cup of tea!
After the bank we went to a local café for a bite to eat, not McDonalds this time, but to one of his old haunts. One of those cafés that every town has, I won’t call it a greasy spoon but you know the sort, they sell everything from a bacon butty to a roast dinner.
‘What do you fancy to eat Gramps?’ I shouted as I sat him down, ‘Oh, just something light for me please’.
‘How about some crumpets?’I said reading the menu.
‘Some trumpets?’ he asked
‘CRUMPETS !’ I said more deliberately in my best baritone voice.
‘NO... SOME CRUMPETS.. C C C CRUMPETS’ It’s a good job I don’t get embarrassed easily because the whole cafe was now listening.
‘Ah...’ he said chuckling, ‘crumpets, yes that would be nice and a cup of tea’
‘Yes’ I laughed and everyone cheered.
When the waitress brought them to him, he said ‘oh look, here’s my carpet’ and laughed heartily.
I did ask him why he thought, when we were in a cafe selling food, I would ask him if he wanted trumpets or carpet, but funnily enough I turned into a meowing cat and he just couldn’t understand me!
With his poor sight, any kind of basic sign language is futile. I do find myself doing it automatically though, like making the ‘C’ for crumpets with my thumb and finger. I have found a way to help us communicate, we use a whiteboard and a thick black marker. I use really large letters and make the sentences short, letting him read one before writing the next. He uses a large magnifying glass as well as his glasses. It’s really useful for giving him important information, but sadly, no good when we are out and about.
You can also read my previous post ‘carers' rights’.