We went out for pizza with old friends last night which was both a happy and sad time. Happy because it's always great to see old friends but sad because it accentuated yet another growing post stroke problem---Don's isolation. His ability to stay focused on our group and participate in conversation was severely hampered by the hearing loss he received last fall at the Disability Deer Hunt Sight-in Day. A volunteer helping Don didn't make sure he was using ear plugs so now in places where there's a lot of background noises, he can't follow the thread of conservations. Even without background noises it can be a challenge requiring me and others to repeat things three or four times. Part of that is aphasia/language processing issues from the stroke but most of it is that damn hearing loss. The audiologist says there's not much you can do about that type of hearing loss because it's to the center nerve and turning up the aids only makes the background noises all the more annoying.
It's sad because the stroke itself robbed Don of so many opportunities for social interaction like not being included on house party guess lists because the location aren't wheelchair friendly or because old activities we used to do with other couples are no longer a commonality that bind us together. Since the sight-in accident Don can't even successfully "talk" on the phone anymore. In the past he used to enjoy listening to friends and family talking about their lives. Now, he ends up putting the phone down about half way through the call. Thankfully, he seems to be handling his growing isolation fairly well but that doesn't stop me from feeling badly for him. He used to be so engaged with people both before and after the stroke until recently. It's like watching a falling star and holding your breath knowing eventually it will burn out.
But we're keeping busy, almost too busy for my tastes. We're out of the house every afternoon doing what we can to enrich our lives---shopping, going to local parks and free summer concerts, going to restaurants, art shows and the YMCA, giving the new puppy playtimes and taking him to obedience classes. It's easy to keep busy in the summer.
I'm taking two aquatic pool classes when I can fit them in. One is jazz dancing. The instructor actually incorporates dance steps from all the decades of my life and they bring back some great memories, listening to the music that goes with the exercise. The instructor for the other class combines boxing, kick boxing, cross country skiing and belly dancing moves. When I get finished with that class I'm energized and ready to take on the world. Where's my Wonder Woman costume when I need it? I could wear it home and feel like I'm appropriately attired. But as the day wears on my aches and pains remind me that I'm still an old woman. Such is life. We dream of Nirvana and even achieve it from time to time then we slip back to where we began leaving our Zen living-in-the-moment pleasures behind. ©