From her living space in the lower level of our house, Annie Oakley conducts her life. There is absolutely no sound deadening between the two floors of the house, so we hear everything that goes on downstairs, and I suspect that she would hear lots of things going on upstairs, save for the fact that she no longer can hear very well at all, but won’t admit it.
My home office is located just below Annie’s living room, and I was becoming extremely unhappy about the radio station she was listening to day in and day out. This station did not come in at all clearly, causing Annie to turn the volume up louder and louder. So, one day I asked her if she would choose another station that did come in clearly. Much to my surprise, she chose a rock and roll station that I quite liked. Quite often I checked in with her about her choice of station, and offered to help her find something she might like better. In addition, I could ask her if she wanted to go back to watching the television, and especially the news. Always she said that she was just fine.
My call was that she had become too confused to negotiate her way around the television and the radio, so didn’t change anything, ever. One evening recently, I strongly suggested that Robbie and I take down some ice ream and pay Annie a visit. There she sat in the darkness, and perked up when we arrived. Before long, Robbie commented about her pretty wild music, and she said, “Oh it is just for noise until it is time to go to bed. At once I felt sick about Annie’s limited life. To make a long story short, by the time we left, she had been reintroduced to her favourite television news, and had thoroughly enjoyed a documentary on this channel, about the fate of zoos. She had watched this program like a child would watch it, with her only questions uttered to ask for verification that she had the names of the animal species correct.
Several days now having passed, I can report that the radio station has not changed, and I have become used to hearing Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty and the like emanating from Annie’s digs. And, of course, those confusing remote controls remain idle, even though we continue to offer to turn on the television news for her. While I like the music, I feel terribly sad that Annie’s life has shrank to this: that she hears the noise until it is time to go to bed.
Yours in Caregiving