Welcome to Living With Alzheimer’s

This site consists of a journal I started on January 21, 2011. That was the date on which my wife, Kate, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It is an account of our lives since that time. It includes the symptoms Kate has displayed as well as things we have done to cope with them. You will also learn about our frustrations and problems of which there have been many.

As of September 18, 2018, I had made 1492 journal entries, 1,159 of which have been uploaded to this site. In the days ahead, I will continue make new entries. I don’t have a regular schedule. I write them as new things occur. Sometimes I may not write anything for a day or so. Other days I may make two or three entries. In addition, I will continue to upload older posts that I have not yet read to see if they are suitable to be included on the site.

What may surprise you is how much we have been able to enjoy life and each other even as this disease takes a greater hold on us. We have been more fortunate than most couples who travel this road. On the other hand, if you are someone with dementia or if you are caring for someone with dementia, you will recognize many of the things we have in common.

Thanks for your visit.

Richard Creighton                                                                                                 @LivingWthAlz

Miscellaneous Happenings Yesterday

Yesterday Kate got up after 12:00. I wasn’t troubled by this since we were going to Flat Rock, North Carolina for a Christmas show that started at 8:00. That is the latest event we have attended in almost two years. I knew she would need as much rest as possible. She had no trouble getting up. She seemed to recognize me and was in a good humor but not ready to engage in conversation. After her shower, she thought I was trying to rush her as she was getting dressed. I was actually trying to avoid rushing her, but I moved too quickly explaining the order of the apparel I had put out for her. She snapped at me. Then she apologized. I said, “That sounds more like the gal I know.” She said, “I was taught to be polite.”

In the car on the way to lunch she worked harder than I ever recall to learn my name. She repeatedly ask me my name almost the entire time we were in the car. She never seemed frustrated, just intent on getting it right. She finally said, “That’s enough. I’m not going to remember it right now, but I will later.” We went through the same thing with her name without the same degree of repetition. Once inside the restaurant she said, “I think we are a perfect match.” I told her I agreed. She didn’t ask my name again.

On the way to Flat Rock, I had the radio on to the news. She was attentive to what was said but couldn’t understand it. She kept wanting me to explain what they were saying. A number of times she said, “You’ll have to explain this to me later.” She does this a lot when she is getting overwhelmed by information. In the early years after her diagnosis she used to say, “TMI.” Now she has forgotten that acronym.

Once we arrived in Flat Rock, we spent about an hour in our hotel room and then went to dinner with our friends. She handled herself well although it was hard for her to hear and/or understand the conversation. She had to ask us to repeat what we were saying several times. She gets confused about items on the table. For example, at two of the restaurants we frequent the butter is in black wrappers. She always thinks they are chocolates. I have to watch or she starts to eat them. She’s only been successful one time and didn’t waste time spitting it out. The other times I have caught her before she puts one in her mouth. I usually remember to unwrap a couple of them put any remaining ones near me to minimize the chance of her making a mistake.

We didn’t have that problem last night, but there was something else. Three of us had either soup or salad before the meal. At the same time, the server brought a basket of small rolls and placed them near the center of the table in front of Kate. Thinking they were hers, she put the basket at her place and ate all of them along with the butter.

Keeping up with things like coats, sweaters, and gloves can be a challenge. I try to watch for these things, but I am far from perfect. Last night she wore gloves to the restaurant. As we started to leave, she could only find one. A quick search produced the missing glove under the table.

When we walked into the lobby of the theater, our friends wanted to buy CDs while we went to our seats. When they met us, Kate greeted them cordially as though we had not been together just a few minutes before.

When we were ready to leave the show, she had lost another glove. We checked with the box office and found that it had been turned in. I should also mention that she has difficulty putting on her gloves. She gets them on the wrong hands so that they are upside down.

As we walked to the car, she asked me where we were going. I told her we were going to the hotel. She was very confused. She thought we were going home. I explained that we were staying at a hotel and would go home tomorrow. She said, “How was I to know?” This is a common experience and is my fault. I know that she can’t remember anything for longer than a few seconds, but she behaves so normally most of the time I tend to forget. In this case, we had spent an hour in our hotel room before dinner. I didn’t think about the fact that she would have forgotten that we were staying in a hotel. There are also times when I assume she won’t understand when she does. It is difficult to recognize those times when she will know something and those times she won’t. I suspect I am not the only caregiver who makes mistakes like this.

Another Christmas Celebration

The Christmas season has always been special for Kate and me. This year is no exception. Kate, of course, can’t have the same perspective. She doesn’t recognize it as a season, but that doesn’t take away from her pleasure. She enjoys each individual experience even if she can’t recognize and remember that it is the Christmas season. I know that we may not be able to enjoy the season in the same way next year, so I am savoring every moment and trying to make each one special.

We attended our first Christmas event the last of November with a luncheon with the seniors at our church. Since returning from Texas, we have played a lot of Christmas music and watched quite a number of Christmas concerts on YouTube. In addition, a good bit of the music I play at home is music of the season. Last Thursday at opera night at Casa Bella, one part of the program featured Christmas music. We were back at Casa Bella on Monday night for their annual Christmas dinner that also included a program of music. We will attend jazz night tonight. I am sure we will hear more of the same music in a different style.

Everything we have experienced until last night has involved traditional music. We joined friends at the Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina for a Christmas program featuring Asleep at the Wheel. Quite honestly, I had never heard of the group until a couple of months ago when a couple we met at Broadway night told us about them. Knowing that Kate is from Texas, they thought it would be something they would enjoy. I was hesitant but accepted their invitation thinking that Kate might like it and that it would be a good social occasion for both of us. I am glad I did.

For those of you who, like me, haven’t known about this band before, I should let you know that they are an Austin, Texas, band that has been around since 1970. Ironically, they started in West Virginia. They have won 10 Grammy awards over that time and have had quite a number of big hits and albums. Like all the other groups of that age, they have only one of the original members with them, their lead singer. The other members are all on the young side. That adds a good bit of vitality and quality to their performance, but it is still a classic Texas-style band. Even when they play traditional Christmas music, it has a Texas flavor.

Given that description, you might expect that it is not my kind of music, and I would say that it isn’t the kind of music that I would play at home. On the other hand, Kate and I loved it. We found the group to be very likeable personally and the rhythm of the music engaging. I found myself tapping my feet throughout the performance. Every time I looked at Kate, she was smiling. It was a good night to let your hair down and enjoy the season.

This will go down as a unique Christmas event for us and an interesting complement to the other seasonal events we are enjoying. It was also another reminder of the power of music to stir one’s emotions. The night before we had watched a memorial service with Itzhak Perlman and the Pittsburgh Symphony. They were honoring the memory of those killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue. It was a moving performance. The emotions aroused by that concert were quite a contrast with those we experienced last night. No wonder music has such impact. It has the ability to stir so many different feelings. It has touched our lives in many ways, and I expect it to do so in the future.

Patterns in Kate’s Behavior

I am always looking for patterns in Kate’s behavior. Sometimes that is difficult. For example, the time she gets up in the morning has been somewhat erratic since the spring. There is a general pattern, however. She clearly gets up later on average than she used to do. The fact that we rarely get to Panera in the morning is the best indicator of that.

I have tried to detect patterns in her confusion as well. That has been harder than her sleeping pattern. In general, I would say that she is more confused in the morning than later in the day. That makes sense to me because she has always been slow to get up. She has never been interested in conversation in the morning. It was like she needed time to pull herself together. Then she would be able to think more clearly. I admit that I really don’t know what was going on. I just know that she tended to be quiet. After a little time, she was “more like her normal self.” This makes me wonder what she thought of me all those years since I can be ready for conversation immediately after getting up.

Yesterday was a good example of how, given a little time, she can change. As I reported in my previous post, she was very confused when she awoke. It was as if her mind were blank. She was quiet through lunch. She didn’t even ask my name or her name or where we were on the way to or during lunch. That is unusual. We came back to the house where I put on some Christmas music, and we relaxed in the family room. By the time we left for our haircuts, she seemed alert and happy.

Yesterday was a day for her to have her hair colored. I waited while the woman who does our hair started the process with Kate. During the time that the color was setting, I got my haircut. I was seated in the chair next to Kate. At one point, the stylist (I always feel a bit awkward when I use this term. I still think it should be a barber who cuts a man’s hair. It must be a sign of my generation. <g>) stopped and went to Kate to “help” her. Let me explain.

Kate has developed what to me seems a strange habit. This happens most often when she is lying in bed before going to sleep and after her shower in the morning. She gets a few strands of hair at her scalp and runs her fingers along the strands until she gets to the end. Then she gets another few strands and does the same thing. This can go on for a long period of time. This is something I don’t understand. She has tried to explain that she is doing something good for her hair. She is pleased by what she is doing and has asked me to watch. Since this often happens after the lights are out and we are in bed, she says, “I will show you in the morning.” The only thing I can think of is that she might be getting tangles out of her hair. She does the same thing after she gets out of the shower. Her explanation for that is different. She says she is drying her hair. As you might imagine, this is not an efficient way to dry hair. Kate stopped using a hair dryer years ago. I have never used one, so we don’t have one in the house. On our trip to Texas for Thanksgiving I used the hair dryer in the hotel to dry her hair. She seemed to like that. I’ll put that on my shopping list.

That is a long introduction to tell you how the stylist was helping Kate. She had noticed that Kate was gathering strands of hair and doing the same thing she does at home. She was wearing light khaki pants and was getting the dye from her hair to her hands to her pants. There was no harm done. It’s just another illustration of the kinds of things that happen that I would not have anticipated.

After dinner, we came back to the house and watched two specials on TV. That is very unusual for us. The first was a Rick Steves’ special on “Christmas in Europe.” I was very surprised that Kate watched the entire program and without working on her iPad. I can’t remember the last time that happened except for a musical production. We followed that by watching a memorial concert celebrating the lives lost in the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue. It was a beautiful concert and a peaceful way for us to close our day. I should add that the time we are at home together after dinner is the most predictable time for us. I look forward to it each evening.

A Confusing Start

Just when I am getting myself accustomed to Kate’s sleeping later, she got up very early this morning. I walked into the family room about 7:25. Kate was walking into the family room from our bedroom. She was carrying one of my dress shirts on a hanger. I knew immediately that she was looking for her clothes that I had not yet put out. When I got close to her, she said, “Who are you?” This began one of those conversations that I have reported on before. “Who am I?” “Who is my mother?” “Who is my father?”

This one was a little different from some of the others in a couple of ways. What I recognized after a few minutes was that she had no idea who she is, who I am, or where she is. This is the way she has been when she has had her anxiety attacks. What was different was that she didn’t display the same kind or degree of anxiety. She was quite calm. She was just very puzzled.

In addition, her memory was even shorter than usual. It was more difficult for her to repeat the names (hers, mine, her parents, our children, and her brother) I gave her when she asked. She was surprised when I told her I’m her husband. I asked her to sit with me on the love seat, and I picked up her “Big Sister” photo album that Ken had made for her. I opened it to several wedding pictures. She usually recognizes people after I have told her their names. That didn’t happen this morning. She was puzzled and couldn’t understand how she could not remember that we were married and that we have children.

After fifteen or twenty minutes, it was clear to me that she wasn’t able to process any of what I was telling her. I felt that I was giving her too much information even though she was asking for it. I asked if she would like to take a shower. She did. I took her to the bathroom and turned on the shower for her.

I came back to the bedroom just after she got out of the shower. I pointed out her clothes. She wasn’t ready to get dressed. She asked, “Who are you?” She was still surprised and said, “But you’re a nice guy.” It sounded to me that she hadn’t fully accepted that I am her husband, but I was all right anyway. In a few minutes, she asked if she could get in bed. I told her she could. I extended my hand to help her get out of the chair. She told me she could do it. Then she changed her mind quickly as she started to get up. She took my hand and walked to the other side of the bed. I helped her into bed and pulled the sheet over her. She again asked who I am. As she had done previously, she said, “You’re a nice guy.” It is 10:03 right now. I am sitting in a chair beside the bed. She is sound asleep. I wonder if she will still be confused when she wakes up.

It began with a scream and ended with music.

About 4:30 yesterday morning, I was awakened with a loud scream. Kate had a bad dream. She was unable to tell me about it but was very frightened. This was a time to comfort her. I held her and told her she was all right, that she was safe and that I would take care of her. She calmed down and dosed off within fifteen minutes.

This was not the first time she has had a bad dream. Fortunately, they don’t happen often. Most of the dreams I have been aware of have been good ones. Until the past couple of years, she would talk while dreaming. They were always in a situation in which she was teaching children. I could easily see this as an outgrowth of her years as a school teacher and librarian/media specialist.

I stayed in bed until 5:10. I decided to let Kate sleep. She had responded so well to Valorie’s getting her up, showered and dressed last week that I felt comfortable letting her take care of her again. Before leaving, I told Kate I was going and that Valorie would take care of things. She seemed perfectly comfortable with that, and I left feeling good.

When I returned later in the afternoon, Valorie and Kate were in the family room having a serious conversation. They were talking about students and teaching. At least Kate was. Valorie appeared to be listening. I was pleased to see they were getting along well. They were talking as two friends might do. I am still surprised, but glad, that Kate is willing to let her help with her shower and getting dressed.

We ended the day with an annual Christmas dinner with music at Casa Bella. It was a wonderful evening. The meal was outstanding, and the conversation lively although it was hard for Kate to keep up. She couldn’t hear or understand much of what was being said. She frequently asked me to tell her what people had said. As I have been doing lately, I cut her meat (a very tender beef tenderloin) for her. That is something new within the past couple of weeks.

This was another bitter sweet occasion for me. I can’t predict the future, but I know that next Christmas will be very different from this one. I am glad that it went well. Kate and I both loved the music, and we ended the evening singing Christmas carols. We don’t know most of the sixty or guests who were there, but we are accustomed to seeing them for these musical nights throughout the year. It was a beautiful shared experience for everyone.

A Short Day

Kate and I got to bed late night before last. As a result, yesterday was a very short day. It was almost 1:00 before she got out of bed. She didn’t want to shower, so we were able to leave for lunch close to 2:00. I was afraid we might be looking at 2:30 or 3:00. As it was, we didn’t get back home until 3:30. I wasn’t surprised that she was tired. She took a nap in the family room while I checked email and watched a little football.

We ate so late that I didn’t feel like eating much. We went to a nearby Mediterranean restaurant where I got a bowl of soup, and Kate had salmon over basmati rice. Her meal came with a salad that I ate. That leads me to make a comment about two changes in Kate’s eating habits since her diagnosis.

The first is that she was known for her salads and desserts. Her mother was an outstanding cook, and Kate took after her until Alzheimer’s entered the picture. When our children were little, she was especially careful to prepare nutritional meals and snacks. As children Jesse and Kevin enjoyed her homemade yogurt, granola, bread, and whole wheat pizza crusts. She even made yogurt popsicles with orange juice for their snacks.

After the children left for college, she and I started eating out more often. That was the beginning of a lessening of her interest in cooking. One of the things she kept up with was making very good salads. Since Alzheimer’s and her shift away from salads, I have missed those. She is now a “meat and potatoes” eater. I have learned to order her “Bacon Turkey Bravo” sandwich at Panera without bacon (too hard for her) and lettuce. I sometimes ask that they omit the tomatoes as well since she often doesn’t eat them. When we split meals at restaurants, servers often ask if we want them to split the salad or bring an extra salad. I always tell them to bring just one salad and give that one to me.

My explanation for this change is that she has been guided for years by what she thought was nutritionally appropriate. With Alzheimer’s she eats the things she likes without regard to any dietary or nutritional concerns. This is not unusual for people with dementia. For a long time broccoli was one vegetable she would eat, but that is just about gone now. It is not just taste that is relevant. She frowns at the mention of certain vegetable options at restaurants. I recently mentioned our having squash soup at two different restaurants. She didn’t like the idea. I got her to taste mine, and she liked it.

One of the big surprises has been a change in her taste for Dr. Pepper, her favorite beverage after iced tea. Now she frequently comments that there is something wrong with it. When she asks me to taste it, it seems fine to me. I have taken advantage of this by often ordering tea for her just to avoid the calories. I still keep Dr. Pepper (8 oz. cans) at home. She often fails to finish one. That is not unique to Dr. Pepper. When she was drinking apple juice, she rarely finished one glass.

Another change that has occurred involves her sense of hunger. I know from others that this is very common among people with dementia. It is not uncommon for her to ask, “When are we going to eat?” within an hour or so after a meal. Because she has so little memory, this is understandable; however, she often doesn’t feel too full after a very filling meal. This does not mean that she has lost her ability to feel full while eating. Sometimes she tells me she is full. Other times I can’t be sure whether she is full or didn’t like her meal. I make this point because we had a filling meal at lunch yesterday. She ate a lot of bread, her entrée (minus the spinach), and our eggnog cheesecake. We finished our meal about 3:00. At 5:00, I told her I didn’t feel hungry right then and would like to wait until 6:00 to leave for dinner. She was comfortable doing whatever I wanted but would have been happy to go at 5:00.

Having slept late yesterday morning, did not affect Kate’s bedtime last night. She got in bed around 9:30. She was ready to go to sleep. It was not one of her talkative nights. When I got in bed a little later, she was still awake. I moved over close to her. She said something that made me think this was one of those times, she didn’t recognize me as her husband. Then she pushed me away. She often feels hot after she gets in bed. Most nights I move close to her when I get in the bed. I don’t usually remain that close for long because I get hot, and she gets hotter. (I’m talking body heat now. <g>) This made me ask if she was hot. She said, “Yes. That’s part of it.” I said, “What’s the other part?” She said, “I’m trying to think of how to tell you. Let’s talk about it tomorrow.” That’s quite a note on which to call it a day. I know she won’t remember this when she gets up this morning. I’ll never know what it was she was trying to think of how to tell me. I do know this. Within a few minutes, she moved closer and affectionately put her arm around me.

Not Everything Goes As Planned

As someone who likes to plan ahead, I may inadvertently convey that everything goes more smoothly for us than it does. Let me assure you that it doesn’t. I plan, but my plans don’t always work out. I am reminded of a cartoon that I saw on our church bulletin board years ago. It said, “God’s response to a five-year plan: Ha. Ha. Ha.” When my plans go awry, it is sometimes not my fault. Other times, it is. As my caregiving responsibilities increase, I notice that it is more the latter. Here are a few examples of the kind of things that I am slipping up on.

As you know, Kate and I go to Casa Bella the first three Thursdays each month. Because we are regulars, we don’t make reservations. We only call if we are not going to be there. The first Thursday in November I slipped up. We were just finishing dinner at another restaurant when I received a call asking if we were still coming. We rushed over and enjoyed the program.

This past Tuesday I was to “attend” a conference call meeting for a committee on which I serve. Although it was on my calendar, I forgot it.

Early last week I received a package with a cardigan sweater that I ordered online. I tried it on to make sure it fit. It did, but I had a little difficulty getting the zipper to work. It took me a couple of tries. It wasn’t until yesterday that I decided to wear it. This time I was unable to zip it at all. Now I need to send it back. In the meantime, I had thrown out the package and accompanying label and instructions should I need to return it. In this case, I didn’t create the problem with zipper, but I normally hold on to packaging and other materials just in case. For some reason, I didn’t follow my normal procedure. It’s not a big deal to correct the problem, but it creates an extra task that I could have easily avoided.

A week ago the father of someone with whom I have worked professionally died. His service was yesterday afternoon. I hadn’t worried about our making it because I had written it on my calendar for 2:30. That should have given me plenty of time to get Kate ready and to have lunch before leaving. Kate has been tired this week. It was just after noon before she got up. This required me to rush her a little more than either of us wanted. She got ready quickly, and we left for lunch right after 1:00.

Knowing that the service was 25 minutes away and that we didn’t have a lot of time to eat, I decided to stop by Panera. When we arrived, it was unusually busy. We couldn’t park as close as we usually do, and it was cold and rainy. Once inside I discovered a long line waiting to order. There were very few seats, so we sat at a community table. Kate is a slow eater. In fact, she does everything more slowly now. It was 1:50 when we left for the church. We arrived with six or seven minutes to spare only to discover that the service was over. It was a short service and started at 2:00, not 2:30 as I had entered on my calendar. That left us with a long 25-minute drive home.

These are all things that anyone could do, but they are not typical for me. I take this as another sign that being a caregiver has an impact in ways we may not perceive or expect. It is easy to become distracted. As we left Panera yesterday, I extended my hand to help Kate step off the curb. As I did, I was carrying an unfinished cup of coffee in my other hand and spilled it on my coat and shirt sleeve. So much for having everything perfectly under control.

Two Personal Experiences with the Power of Music

When I checked Twitter this morning, I saw a tweet about music and its “profound power, particularly when it comes to memory.” This observation is now commonplace among those who write about dementia and those who live with it. Kate and I have always been drawn to music. Our first date was to a performance of Handel’s Messiah. We have attended many musical events over our marriage. Regular visitors to this blog know that we have binged on music since her diagnosis. I don’t believe, however, that I have ever mentioned two early experiences that Kate and I had that illustrate the impact that music can have on people whose brains have been damaged through stroke and/or dementia.

The first occurred with Kate’s father in the Fall 1989. After experiencing a stroke on Veterans Day, he didn’t speak. Knowing that the stroke had damaged his brain, we wondered what he was able to process. Did he recognize us? Did he understand what we were saying? How was he feeling?

On a Sunday morning not too long after his stroke, we were visiting him along with Kate’s mother who turned on the television to the Sunday morning service at the family’s home church where her father grew up. Not long into the service, a longtime friend and member of the choir sang a solo. We looked over at her father and tears were running down his cheeks. I still choke up when I recount this story. It was a sign to us that although his brain had been damaged, he could still connect with us in some way.

The second story involved Kate’s mother. She, too, had experienced a stroke that affected her speech but not to the same extent. She didn’t speak much and that diminished over time. She hadn’t been able to attend church for at least a year or more. On one of our last visits with her in Fort Worth, Kate asked her mother’s pastor if he could come to the house to serve home communion for her mother.

He came out that Sunday afternoon. We sat around a table on the back porch where he conducted the service. At the end, he said, “The Bible says, ‘And then they sang a hymn.’” Then he led us in “Amazing Grace.” As we sang, we noticed her mother singing as though she did it every day. When we finished, she spoke right up and said, “I think we need something to break the solemnity of this occasion.” She burst into a children’s song. I think it was “This Little Light of Mine.” It was an emotional experience for all of us. Music spoke to her and through her to us. That was the last time I heard her speak or sing so well.

Nothing Special, But a Nice Day

It’s a cool, rainy morning in Knoxville. Both the neighborhood and the house are very quiet except for some soft piano music playing in the background. I had planned for us to visit our friend Ellen in Nashville today. The weather report changed my mind. It is supposed to rain a good bit and might snow as well. Either way, I’d rather not be on the highway.

I trust that Kate and I will have another good day. We usually do. That was true yesterday. Kate was up surprisingly early (before 9:00). She had gotten up to go to the bathroom and went back to bed. I checked on her at 10:00. She wasn’t asleep but very relaxed and didn’t want to get up.

When I went back about about 10:20, she asked me what she should do. I suggested getting up and taking a shower. She said she didn’t want to take a shower. After she had been to the bathroom, she changed her mind. This was another day she wanted my help to the bathroom, toilet, and shower.

One thing was different yesterday. She knew me as her husband. She may have asked my name one or two times, but she knew we are married and mentioned things during the day that made that clear.

We were able to leave for lunch by 11:30. That made it easy to return home for the sitter at 1:00. Before she arrived, I pulled up a series of YouTube videos with Christmas music. The first one I previewed was Handel’s Messiah. I told her that was a special piece of music for us because we attended a performance of Messiah on our first date in 1961. I have mentioned this a number of times during this Christmas season, so I was surprised to see that she responded emotionally. Her eyes immediately filled with tears.

I left Kate and the sitter with the videos running. When I returned four hours later, they were still watching. Kate said, “You should have been here for the beautiful music.” Mary said that Kate had rested part of the time and may have actually fallen asleep for a little while. She couldn’t be sure.

We relaxed at home for another thirty minutes before going out for our Friday night pizza. We came back home where I watched the evening news while Kate worked on her iPad. Following the news, we watched a portion of Messiah broadcast by the BBC. It was a good way to end the day.

A Case of Caregiver Error

I feel like I do a good job caring for Kate, but like everyone, I make mistakes along the way. That happened yesterday. In an earlier post I mentioned that I was going to my doctor’s office for my labs prior to an appointment next week. I knew I needed to allow sufficient time to get Kate ready without rushing her. Since she had gone to bed at 7:30 the night before, I hoped it would be easy to get her up. I was wrong about that. The big problem, however, is that I was writing a post yesterday morning and let time get away from me. I looked up and saw that it was almost 9:30, and we needed to leave shortly after 10:00 in order to be on time. I went to the bedroom. Kate was sleeping soundly. I tried to be very careful in waking her. I didn’t want her to feel rushed. I sat down on the bed and put my and on her shoulder. When she looked up at me, I told her I was sorry to wake her and explained why I was doing it anyway. She didn’t say much and made no effort to get up. When it was just before 10:00, I told her I really needed her to get up, so she did.

The problem then was that she had a mild panic attack. It has been a long time since this has happened. This reminded me of why I work so hard to avoid rushing. I think the problem is that she wants to please me. When she has to rush, she can’t think clearly at all and panics. In this case, she appealed to me for help. She wanted my help getting her out of bed. She held my hand all the way to the bathroom. She wanted to shower but didn’t know what to do. I helped her and then walked her back to the bedroom to dress.

We were ready to go by 10:30. It had only been an hour since I first tried to wake her. That was a record, but it came at her expense. I felt bad about it. She was calm when we left the house. I apologized to her on the way to the doctor. By then, she had forgotten everything. She tried to make me feel better. She said I hadn’t rushed her at all. She was just fine. I appreciated that. I still felt bad because I could have avoided the whole thing.

The rest of the day went well. The Bluefish Grill is located near the doctor’s office, so we went there for lunch. When we got home, we had about thirty minutes before Kate’s appointment for a massage. After that we spent a couple of hours at home. She was tired and asked if she could take a nap and wanted to know where she should go. I told her I would be in the family room and suggested she join me and rest on the sofa. She rested until it was time for us to leave for opera night at Casa Bella. It was a good night for music and conversation. It was decorated for Christmas, and everyone seemed to be in the Christmas spirit. The crowd was a good bit louder than usual but was respectfully quiet during the program. We both had a good time and went to bed right after returning home. It wasn’t another night of “pillow talk.”