Sunday, 5 June 2016

The silence of tired tongues

Brazilian "mate" at an Irish background

Mayara Floss

* Thoughts about one of my experiences as a Brazilian medical student in the countryside of Ireland

When I was leaving an elder’s home care in a rural area of Ireland, a doctor told me: "you know, one of the last things a person with dementia loses is the sensation of the touch on the skin, and this is the reason that touching your patients is so important in this stage of their lives."

 With these few words I started to realize how much this explains to us. One of our first sensations is the tact, and in the end everything is the same sensation. The knowledge to feel before speak. But, as we grow up, the tact becomes rarer. Sometimes the symbol of a friendship becomes a simple handshake. And we start to get used of how not to feel. We leave our parents’ laps and start “learning” that too much proximity often is invasive or not common. 

 However, the sensation of the touch continues to be important, even in our unconscious. People with dementia do not lose the capacity of having emotions or the recognition of a caress. Probably this is one of the sensations the doctors need to revive in their practicing. The tact is essential, even if just feeling the pulse. In the song “Casa no campo” (house at countryside), by Zé Rodrix, he speaks about “the silence of the tired tongues”, something not so common in our society nowadays. However, when the dementia process starts, this silence makes more sense. 

The care also changes its form, the silence of tired tongues makes us try to approach people in other ways. Sometimes, words lose their meaning, as well as communication (which seems to be many times attached to concept of speaking) with the patient becomes in body language. Although the person with dementia is most of times isolated from the conversation and loses the reference of the listening, what we learn is the importance of smiling, of giving hands and hug each other – be human without talking. Sometimes I think that words left the world more distant. Probably, the importance of the touch continues to everybody since his/her childhood, but masked by words. By finding a patient in the process of dementia, we have the chance to rediscover ourselves and our own tact. Due to this, tired tongues or not we still could say a lot of things touching.

The song about the house on the countryside and the "tired tongues"

Originally written in Portuguese:  

No comments:

Post a Comment