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Word retrieval problems
ButterflyWings
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 11:06 PM
Joined: 12/11/2018
Posts: 335


I've been watching this become more of a challenge and it truly breaks my heart. DH was a brilliant public speaker, professionally honored for his ideas and how clearly and convincingly he presented them. To hear him struggling to find the words to communicate the simplest thing at times now, is unbelievable. And so very sad. Some of the words he comes out with would be comical if it just didn't hurt so much.  It really brings home that his brain is failing him. 

All I can do is notice, and maybe feel a half smile along with the twinge of pain that this really amazing thinker is slipping away before my very eyes. Recently he exclaimed about a speeding car, that was going "a hundred degrees!" And a few weeks back he heard something but couldn't see the source, then spotted it and pointed out to me "the guy over there playing the tangerine". (Yep, it was the gentle shaking of a tambourine). Close but no cigar. I chuckled with him but he doesn't realize its not for the same reason. Laughing to keep from crying.

Is this the start of the word salad some speak of? 


M1
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 3:16 AM
Joined: 8/22/2020
Posts: 615


Maybe not, B. Hard to not anticipate the worst, but who knows. The errors are interesting if they weren't so painful to hear, if this was one of his skills before. I get it, it's like my master builder no longer able to do a small repair....shocking. I used to absolutely love to watch her work.
Ed1937
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 6:38 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 3657


I don't think this is the start of "word salad". In 2018 after a surgery, my wife was using word salad. That was much different from not being able to find the words. She would say something like "Ed car want pretty run", etc. Absolutely no idea what she was trying to communicate. This was due to a medication interaction, and a few days after she stopped one of them. it gradually cleared up. Now she has a lot of trouble finding words to say. Yesterday I walked past her twice, and lightly bumped her leg both times when I did. She said "Stop biting me." Yes, I laughed. Much better than crying. Most of the time, she just gets stuck trying to find the word, and eventually quits trying to say what she wanted.
Army_Vet60
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 7:32 AM
Joined: 6/21/2019
Posts: 862


ButterflyWings wrote:

I've been watching this become more of a challenge and it truly breaks my heart. DH was a brilliant public speaker, professionally honored for his ideas and how clearly and convincingly he presented them. To hear him struggling to find the words to communicate the simplest thing at times now, is unbelievable. And so very sad. Some of the words he comes out with would be comical if it just didn't hurt so much.  It really brings home that his brain is failing him. 

Is this the start of the word salad some speak of? 

My wife started losing words as she entered the middle stages of ALZ. The word salad speaking showed up when she hit stage 7 and needed Hospice.  That progression took about four years.
     One way you might help your DH as his vocabulary changes is to adapt by using his vocabulary when he uses it.  Nouns were the first casualties of my wife's ALZ. When she started calling "trees" 'green things', I tried to remind her they were called trees. It didn't work. She couldn't remember. When I called them "green things", she responded positively. 
     If I used her vocabulary, she was comfortable and happy and we could talk. If I tried to make her relearn words, she got frustrated and stopped talking.  
     

CStrope
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:38 PM
Joined: 11/19/2020
Posts: 59


Boy this all really hits home for me.  My DH was a high school science teacher for 25 years, retired 5 years ago.  Before his Dx I said to him a few different times, "when did you decide not to use nouns any more and speak only with pronouns?"  Little did I know it was because he could not come up with the words.

Its kind of ironic that a man that used to be able to explain the anatomy of the brain to 16 year old students can no longer come up with everyday words to complete his sentences. 

Now when his conversations start with "I can't believe they took those things and moved them like that" (and I have no idea what he's talking about), I just nod and say "I know honey"

It's difficult to accept that our discussions about a wide variety of topics are no longer......

I'm so glad my 26 year old son is still okay with living at home, it gives me someone to share my day with, and to have those lively conversations with that I no longer can have with my DH.


Wish2Roam
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:55 PM
Joined: 2/16/2018
Posts: 299


My DH has word problems too.  I've slowly come to understand what he means...

When he says it's quiet out there........he means it's not windy.

The flowers are falling........means the leaves are falling.  I just nod and agree.

For some reason, I have been able to adjust to the word mix-ups better than other losses.  e.g. DH is forgetting where things are around the house.  I asked him to throw something in the trash and he just looked at me with ?? Tonight, he set off the security system because he thought the back door was the refrigerator....he was looking for a cold drink.

He can find a granola bar hidden in the deepest recesses of the pantry, but can't find his toothbrush in plain sight on the vanity top.

So many adjustments to the ravages of such cruel diseases.


Ed1937
Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 6:29 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 3657


Wish, I know exactly what you're talking about. My wife is not like that all the time, but sometimes she will walk into a room, and just stand there, looking around like she has never been there before. She looks for things in places they have never been, like that refrigerator your husband was looking for. Sometimes I can take her into the bathroom, and tell her "You can go right there", while pointing to the toilet. Her response is "Where?" Not fun, but she still has a lot she retains. Life is good.
ButterflyWings
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 7:26 AM
Joined: 12/11/2018
Posts: 335


Yes, all of these changes are so heart wrenching. The word loss itself is distressing to watch since he was SO gifted in this area, but also his frustration when searching for some item he can't name or describe, so its hard for me to help find it. But for now at least I can usually follow the train of thought by being patient and working to interpret what he wants. I am thankful for that today. I offer words to see if that's what he means, but don't 'correct' him.

It is just such an "in my face" reminder that he is declining which is always going to be hard. But yesterday I took heart at the message behind one of his mixed up communiques (once I figured out what he was talking about!)

The convo: 

"Wife" (to get my attention...couldn't recall my name, but at least I was his spouse again!) 

"What are you repairing?" (I had said I was cooking dinner, so he clearly meant "preparing")

"I like presses" (I was clueless for a moment, then realized he meant the spontaneous hug I'd just given him). Sweet. 


Jeff86
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 8:10 AM
Joined: 10/24/2019
Posts: 362


That’s a beautiful little convo, BW.

We are essentially where you are on language/word loss.  My UK-educated DW had the broadest vocabulary of anyone I’ve known, and was the most eloquent person I’ve known.  

Now?  Now it’s one of the deep pain points of AD.  Sometimes she’s perfectly coherent.  Other times, she struggles, sadly, to express a thought.  I am unable to determine if she can’t formulate the thought or can’t find the words to express it.  

Sometimes I can make out the intent through a translation exercise much as you describe.  Other times, I can’t make any sense of it, or she just trails off.  I silently rail at AD while just agreeing with whatever she does say.


Ed1937
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020 8:11 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 3657


ButterflyWings wrote:

"I like presses" (I was clueless for a moment, then realized he meant the spontaneous hug I'd just given him). Sweet. 

That's a win. Hang on to it.