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Topic Dinner time is very quiet at our house Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By umajane On 2014.05.19 23:03
My husband enjoys his food. I love to cook and most of the time I make a nice dinner with healthy, yummy, colorful food.
He never says a word. Just slowly eats(I cut up his food). I have started turning on the radio so I don't lose my mind.
Maybe he is concentrating really hard but we rarely have a conversation. It's a quiet sad time for me......

By Freespirit On 2014.05.20 08:45
This is a difficult adjustment to be sure. The further my husband progresses into the PD, the less he communicates in the usual way. I have come to the point of accepting this, but I still need to communicate. So now, at dinner time and other times, I place my hand on his leg, or his free arm just to be close as he finds conversation difficult - especially while eating. The touch factor speaks for us now, and I'm certain will continue to play a huge role in our communication.

By lurkingforacure On 2014.05.20 11:06
I am so sorry to read this. Hugs:)

By JulieB On 2014.05.20 11:32
Umajane, I completely understand this. If not for the foster care we do and the visits from family, ours would be a pretty silent house. (Our Schnauzers Edith and Mildred bark at any drifting leaf too, so they keep it lively.) It can get so lonely. I loved reading about Freespirit and the way she reaches out to touch her PWP too. I do this, but not enough. I'm glad to be reminded today. God bless you both... xoxo

By Daybyday On 2014.05.22 13:59
I do the cooking for my husband too. I don't really mind that he doesn't try to carry on conversation while eating because I know he is using much of his effort to get the food into his mouth. Besides that, with all the time we spend together, by the time dinner comes there is not a whole lot of new things to talk about. My issue is always trying to come up with new, healthy dishes day in and day out. With trying to stay away from red meat, I find I make a ton of veggies stir fry dishes. Do you have hints for trying to break the monotony of cooking 3 meals a day almost every day of the year. Really wish I loved it as much as you.

By umajane On 2014.05.22 14:57
Well I love to cook and hate clean-up.
Breakfast is easy coffee, yogurt and fresh fruit and some kind of toast.

Lunch usually a sandwich or sometimes sushi...nuts more fruit and of course cookies.

Dinner: ICE CREAM of course

salmon, stir fry, ahi tuna, he loves steak and I grill or cook up veggies. Last night I made chili with ground organic turkey and beans.. I'll see how that goes. We eat out occasionally or I get thai food. I cut up all his food as he has a really almost impossible time with that. He loves baked potatoes.

You are absolutely right by the end of the day we do not have a lot to talk about...so I turn on NPR.
I am happy that his appetite is so good now as he had lost weight when he got his diagnosis.

I think because I do got out at lunch sometimes the cooking is not so monotonous for me.

By Trusting On 2014.05.22 19:22
We usually just watch tv during meals. I purchased one of those plastic children's trays with the deep pockets in each side (dollar general, Walmart) and I can tuck his napkin and silverware in the pockets. It gives him a nice sturdy surface to put his plate on. We use this for his breakfast, lunch and sometimes supper. Sometimes at supper he likes to come into the room with me where I have sat up a small craft table or card table so he can sit up better.
I don't mind cooking but sometimes there are days when I just don't want to have to cook. My PWP is beginning to be self conscious when eating in public. I am missing my freedom to jump in the car and go out when we want to. PD is beginning to run our lives. I know some of you have it ten times worse than us so I will try not to complain. One day at a time""

By makrivah On 2014.05.22 22:14
Silent dinners. Silent evenings. When I try to stimulate conversation, he gets frustrated with himself...fumbling for words, losing his train of thought, forgetting what the question was... We eventually dissolve into silence.

Like so many others, he eats and watches Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. He's normally asleep in his recliner for the rest of the evening (8:15 or so). He'll sleep till midnight or 1am, then watch tv until the wee wee hours. He's asked me not to wake him if he is sleeping.

A lonely, quiet evening...night after night. I read, watch tv, watercolor, write... I've made sure I have plenty of creative things to do by myself. Some of my friends have been widowed. They say that their evenings are just like mine. Hmmmm. Yes, I am dealing with grief and loss...as we all are.

Chin up everyone. As Al says, hang in there.

By LOHENGR1N On 2014.05.23 00:07
I was just wondering...... trying to stimulate conversation and breaking up some of the silence? Has anyone ever tried popping in a musical? They are generally perky and with the songs you can sing along. (singing is good for Parkies...it keeps our voices going) I myself can't sing, I can't even carry a tune in a bucket. Maybe that's why I like "Paint Your Wagon" an old musical starring Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin (They can't carry a tune in a bucket either lol). "The Pirates of Pensance" (sp?) all have quirky tunes. It may help with voice strength and encourage using their voice. It might be worth a try anyway. However a warning might be in order if they like it you may start sounding like young parents saying if I have to watch the little mermaid or finding Nemo or frozen one more time I'm going to scream. Don't know just a suggestion for when you're at wits end. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By makrivah On 2014.05.23 00:54
Music does perk him up. He liked Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, The Voice, etc IF I HAVE RECORDED THEM. Because of the many many commercials and background features on the contestants (blah, blah, blah), he will nod off between music. Not a bad way to escape that tedium actually. But if I have recorded the show and can FF through the dull sections, he can stay focused most of the time. So music does work. But this is interesting, just listening to music puts him right out.

By Poostie On 2014.05.23 01:58
Makrivah, I had to look twice to make sure I didn't write your post........Silent dinners and evenings, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, asleep in recliner, etc. Sameo, sameo! Even our pastimes are the same--watercolor, reading, writing, but I could also add crochet and quilting and a few other solitary activities. I'm thankful for those activities which keep away the lonliness and help keep me sane in a quiet world.

I loved the comment that someone made about "touch". I'm going to try and incorporate that more. We get tips from each other but also learn that there are probably legions out there who might be going through the same silent and lonely times that we are.

By makrivah On 2014.05.23 02:59
When I was growing up from around ten or so, I was always aware of the sad couples who sat silently at restaurant tables eating their meal. I observed that never a word was spoken between them. The waiter would "interrupt" their meal with new water, more bread, the check or whatever, the couple would acknowledge the service and immediately return to silence. I was always baffled by this behavior. Had they run out of things to say to one another? Were they angry? How had the relationship slipped into silence? It never occurred to me that a third dimension might have been added...a disease or disability that made conversing just too difficult to try.

Now when my PWP and I do dine out, I realize that we are now that sad silent couple. It breaks my heart.

Did I have a sixth sense as a child that I would face that silence myself someday? Is that why it haunted me so?

I am baffled for finding a solution for our situation. Doctors have no advice; there isn't a magic pill for improving conversation. I actually make lists of topics to try; but am met with monosyllable replies time after time. It seems that conversation has become just too difficult to try.

Maybe just being aware of what's happening and finding the courage and patience to face it one meal at a time is all I can do.

By jcoff012 On 2014.05.23 13:30
This is an interesting topic for us. We are not at the extreme end of this, but I see it slowly creeping into our lives.

However, so far, I cherish the quiet times. I really do. Perhaps it is because we had four kids, and two grandchildren who were/are very talkative and outgoing. So, when dinner comes, as we have always had...No tv or technology, quiet conversation...just enjoying being together. It seems normal to me to relish the quiet. I also feel that since we still watch our grandson three days a week, it is nice to have at least the evening meal a tad more quiet.

We save our times throughout the day to talk, watch tv, etc...Maybe we both are more solitary than most, I don't know. We also have a routine that we both seem to enjoy...each night, we have dinner together then clean up...then we spend a few hours together. I head upstairs between 8 and 8:30, to allow him time to read, fall asleep, or watch "his" shows...We come together around 9 or 9:30, so it's ok.

When he retired, we both sat down and talked about all of this...he wanted the quiet and relaxed life and I love to be around people and love technology...so, we have accommodated both of our needs...So far, PD hasn't taken any of this from us...But, I am ready for it...at least, I hope so.

I like Al's idea of singing, but it really would be quiet around here if I did...I cannot carry a tune...even when the song is being sung at the same time! lolol

I think what I am reading here is yet another loss for the caregiver...it's the isolation that seems to worsen the PD journey.

I keep remembering your post, Al, that we caregivers will go on and PWP will not. So, I choose to manage our lives as best we can, as long as we can...I will have time someday when I will really be alone...and long for him to be here...in any form...

Maybe it is because we will be married 47 years in June...maybe it is because we have had so many health issues in the last six or seven years...but, I will take the quiet, knowing he is trying and WOULD be more active if he could...after all, PD robs him of his abilities, not our love.

Just my opinion...Take it or leave it!

Hugs to all and have a great weekend. Jane

By Marilyn-NJ On 2014.05.23 14:49
Same dinnertime schedule for me, too. I finally get home from work, get dinner on the table and the Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune ritual begins until he goes into his life chair for the night. It's actually background noise for us. My husband was quiet and gentle before PD and of course, now is silent at the end of the day. Our male mini-schnauzer passed away about a year ago. What a companion he was.

Our wonderful interventon comes when Grandson #2 (out of 3) FaceTimes us. that does it for us. It's living color, real time enjoyment and connectivity.

Knowing all that we've lost so far, I cannot fathom the day when I could be totally alone. Take care all!

By dans316 On 2014.05.23 14:53
Maybe it's because June and I eat out every night that I don't notice the silence. The upside of this is we usually eat at the same places and the waiters/waitresses will go out of their way just to say a few words to June. The downside seems to be that all the choices seem to make it difficult for her to choose what to eat.

Our problem now is more the physical part of it. She can no longer drink from a glass or cup without assistance, straws help, but sometimes she has trouble getting liquids through the straw. I don't know if that's the PD or the COPD she also has. I cut up her food so she will take smaller bites, but getting the food to her mouth is becoming more of a struggle for her and sooner or later I will have to feed her. I've ordered some small sippy cups for her, don't know how they will work for Manhattans, but it's worth a try:)

By Mary556 On 2014.05.23 23:35
Dan, if you find a good cup that works, please advise? A year or so ago we experimented with 3 or 4 different sippy cups and other no-spill cups for my Mom but she found them too difficult to use. She could not suction the liquid out... so frustrating! I tried for myself and could not get them to work either! the air holes were either not large enough or non-existent on the cups I was choosing. we finally gave up. I've been putting my mother's water /juice /soda into a lightweight plastic cup that has a handle (similar style to coffee mug) and she is able to manage it. (she does not have tremor though.)

umajane's note re: "Dinner: ICE CREAM of course" made me laugh!
My folks look forward to their ice cream (or "dairy dessert") treat after supper every evening. Recently we discovered that *Turkey Hill* frozen yogurt has active cultures. (Friendly's and some of the other brands do not specify that.) It seems like something good to feed your loved one, especially after a round of anti-biotics.

My parents have been married over 60 years. Often they just sit and hold hands or smile at one another. Our dinnertime is sometimes quiet, but it is a comfortable silence. sometimes my Dad tells us stories from his childhood or WWII Army days. or he brings us up to speed on current events and what happened on the latest episode of Gunsmoke. More often now my Mom has difficulty to find words and it is frustrating for her. Most times it is more comfortable for her to be the listener.

For a number of years I lived alone and remember that dinner can be a lonely time if you miss someone talking with you. As a distraction I used to listen to music, watch television or read. Maybe you could read aloud to your PWP during the evening meal? He would enjoy the sound of your voice without feeling pressure to respond, if that is becoming a concern for him.

By moonswife On 2014.05.25 14:34
I will post a reply to the question about a cup I invested in that is a godsend. It is called "hot straw" either temperature beverages work well. The straw is flat. The only downside is that it has to be hand washed, but even when turned over in bed the liquid does not spill. Sure has make tea and hot chocolate easier to serve. Lonely dinners? I wish, my PWP shares his evenings with a lively 4 year old that never shuts up. How great for Grandpa is that?

By Mary556 On 2014.05.26 10:55
thank you, moonswife! We will check it out.
Best wishes for you and your PWP.
Dinner with a lively 4 year old sounds wonderful for everyone.
your little one is making precious memories, too!


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