Friday, September 24, 2004


Throughout the years in attempting to resolve one problem or another eventually someone on the other end of one of these phone calls will want to talk with Patti. After all it is her life. Sadly MS damage has so affected her brain that any conversation for Patti is much like being in a ‘maze’ for her. Telephone conversations are a journey into the unknown.


For several years now I have had no choice but to participate and assist in any call involving Patti. I place her near a speaker phone and help her as I can.


Attention span is a major challenge. Being put on ‘hold’, Patti will loose interest and simply roll away unless monitored.  Even during an active conversation she may just suddenly roll away leaving the caller alarmingly engaged in a one sided conversation.


Mental confusion is equally challenging both in terms of comprehending the use of the speaker phone and whatever the topic of the call may be. Information that she offers in response is often incorrect. Patti is not able to always follow a conversation across time or understand a question.


Patti cares and worries. Those feelings just may not be linked continuously and may resurface hours later in a bout of anxiety. Loss of insurance? Back medical bills for nearly 4 years? These are overpowering concerns and I do wonder how they will kick around in her brain. It’s somewhat cruel she has to go through this. However, I’ve never tried nor wanted to have her declared legally incompetent so there really is no choice. The caller simply cannot see Patti so they do not know. Live we do not have such problems as any one shifts their attention and questions to me. Power of Attorney doesn’t help much in phone calls.


Plus I do not know the answers to many questions beyond so many years. Patti handled her own affairs for most of her life and most of her time with MS. Sadly, here again; this information is increasingly eroded and lost with MS damage.


On the lighter side, my most favorite 'Patti phone moment’ occurred a couple months ago when dealing with her retirement account. The management firm is a boring straight laced New England brokerage house. They insisted upon reading Patti some page and then asking her if she understood. She of course did not. They insisted on rereading and asked again if she understood.


Patti just stared at the phone, and cocked her head most perplexed. A voice begins to come out of the phone, “Hello, Mrs.Leer? Are you there? Did you understand?” …


Patti just starts laughing and bursts out, “What the f*** are you talking about?” Then begins laughing hysterically … abruptly stops … leans forward … stares into the phone and says, “And HOW did you get in there?” …. and totally amused begins laughing even louder.


(I, in the meantime watching this whole scenario play out, am trying not to fall on the floor laughing!)


I can only hope this potential debacle discussed in yesterday's posting ends with a humorous ancedote to share. Whether it does or not life has priorities:  a certain 16 yr old has a high school football game to get to tonight, lawn needs to be mowed, I've got to get to work, and of course MS will go on. Retroactive nightmares just have to wait in line.

1 comment:

  1. I just stumbled across your journal and I must say it has raised some fears I have kept hidden for awhile.  i live with someone with MS.  She is doing very well and is 49 years old.  She has exacerbations from time to time but the long term stuff really scares me.  I will be reading everything you have to offer in your journal.  Thank you for sharing.  I don't share much about my true fears for her so for now I just keep it tucked away.

    Again, I thank you for sharing.



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